Chess Terms
Battery

Battery

Chess battery? Do you need special batteries to play chess? No, a battery in chess refers to a piece formation. Let's find out more!

Here is everything you need to know about chess batteries:


What Is A Battery?

In chess, a battery refers to a configuration of heavy pieces (rooks or queens) that occupy the same file. It can also refer to long-range pieces (queens and bishops) that occupy the same diagonal. In the following position, the white rooks form a battery on the f-file:

chess battery
White's rooks form a battery on the f-file.

Batteries generally refer to heavy pieces (rooks and queens) on an open or semi-open file, but (as mentioned above) the term also applies to long-range pieces that occupy the same diagonal. You can see an example of a battery on a diagonal in the position below, where White's light-squared bishop on b1 and queen on d3 create a battery on the b1-h7 diagonal:

chess battery
The light-squared bishop and queen form a battery.

Why Are Batteries Important?

Batteries are important because they put immense pressure on a file or diagonal, often with devastating results. One well-known battery is called Alekhine's gun—it occurs when a player has two rooks with a queen behind them on a file.

In the game played between former world champion Alexander Alekhine and Aaron Nimzowitsch at San Remo in 1930, Alekhine created his famous battery after 26.Qc1:

Chess battery
Alekhine's gun is a strong example of a battery.

As you can see, White's powerful battery on the open c-file has tied down most of the black army. Alekhine won the game only a few moves after creating the battery. Here is the full game for your enjoyment:

Test

Now that you know what a battery is and why it is important, let's see if you can create one yourself. In the following game between GM Daniil Dubov and GM Yu Yangyi from the 2020 Tata Steel tournament, Yu has just played 18...Nd7. How can White create a battery? (Hint: There is more than one way to create a battery in this position!)

chess battery
How can White create a battery?

In the game, Dubov played 19.Qd6 and created a battery on the d-file. Please note that 19.Qd2 and 19.Qd4 would also have created a battery on the d-file.

chess battery
Qd6 creates a battery on the d-file.

Let's try another one. In the following position, how can Black create a battery and threaten checkmate in one move?

chess battery
Black to move, create a battery, and threaten checkmate.

Very good! After 1...Qf6, Black has created a battery on the a1-h8 diagonal, is threatening checkmate on the b2-square, and is threatening to win the hanging knight on f4. Nice job!

chess battery
Qf6 creates a powerful battery and threatens checkmate on b2 and the hanging knight on f4.

Conclusion

You now know what a battery is, why it is important, and how to create one on a file or a diagonal! Check out this Video Lesson on batteries for more information.