Chessniti Academy


Bringing Alekhine’s Gun to a chess fight


Alexander Aleksandrovich Alekhine (1892 – 1946) was a renowned chess player from Russia, who held the esteemed title of the fourth World Chess Champion for two consecutive reigns. In our previous blog we saw some of his best sacrifices. Let’s take a look at his other famous contribution to chess: The Alekhine’s Gun! 


Alexender Aleksandrovich Alekhine

Alekhine’s Gun is a special formation of Queen and Rooks named after Alekhine. When two/more pieces are on the same file/rank or diagonal it is called a battery. There are many different types of battery formations like: Bishop and Queen Battery, Rook and Rook Battery, Queen and Rook Battery.


Bishop + Queen Battery with a threat of mate in 1

There are three possible ways to form a battery with a Queen and a pair of Rooks:

  1. Rook + Rook + Queen
  2. Rook + Queen + Rook
  3. Queen + Rook + Rook

QRR (Queen + Rook +Rook) battery formation is called the Alekhine’s Gun.


Also known as QRR Battery. I think it should be called “AAA Battery” (Based on the initials of Alekhine’s name).

What is so special about Alekhine’s Gun?

To understand why QRR battery formation is better than RRQ and RQR formation, let’s take a look at the following diagram:

Alekhine vs Aron Nimzowitsch

Alekhine vs Aron Nimzowitsch (1930)

Full game:

As you can see, the white Queen is on c1, Rook on c2 and Rook on c3. Alekhine is ready with his gun to blow up black’s position in a few moves. The black knight on c6 is pinned by the White’s bishop on b5 and also by the QRR battery on c-file. Black pieces are tied-up defending the attack on c-file and are unable to move. Black resigned in a couple of moves. This is just one position to demonstrate how effective Alekhine’s gun can be. 

Now let’s see what would happen if we placed the heavy pieces (Queen and Rooks) on the c-file but in different formations:

RRQ formation

RRQ formation

In the above diagram the queen is on the top followed by both the rooks on the c-file. Now the pin on the c-file is not as effective as the previous position. If for example the White bishop takes on c6 then the black rook can take on c6 and then the white Queen is under attack and cannot take on c6 as it would be a bad exchange. So we can conclude that RRQ is ineffective in this position.

Now let’s take a look at the final possible formation which is the RQR battery:

RQR Battery

RQR Battery

This is a better formation (than RRQ) for white but white wins not because of the QRQ battery but because of the move Qa4 which puts pressure on the black c6 knight with a Queen and Bishop battery.

Before I share more games, which include the use of Alekhine’s gun here is a meme only chess players will relate:

chess meme

This formation was also used in a World Championship game between Carlsen and Vishy Anand.

Magnus Carlsen vs Vishy Anand (2014)

Magnus Carlsen vs Vishy Anand (2014)

Link for more games: