Alekhine's gun

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Alekhine vs. Nimzowitsch, 1930
b8 black rook
f8 black king
a7 black pawn
c7 black rook
d7 black queen
e7 black knight
g7 black pawn
a6 white pawn
b6 black pawn
c6 black knight
e6 black pawn
h6 black pawn
b5 white bishop
d5 black pawn
e5 white pawn
f5 black pawn
b4 white pawn
d4 white pawn
f4 white pawn
c3 white rook
f3 white knight
c2 white rook
g2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
c1 white queen
g1 white king
Position after 26.Qc1

Alekhine's gun is a formation in chess named after the former world chess champion Alexander Alekhine. This formation was named after a game he played against Aron Nimzowitsch in Sanremo 1930, ending with Alekhine's decisive victory.


The idea consists of placing the two rooks stacked one behind another and the queen at the rear. This can lead to substantial material loss for the opponent as it places considerable pressure on the "target" of the gun, especially if it is pinned (in this case it was only four moves before resignation).

Original "Alekhine's gun" game[edit]

Here is the game that spawned Alekhine's gun:

Alexander Alekhine vs. Aron Nimzowitsch, San Remo 1930:
1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e5 c5 5. Bd2 Ne7 6. Nb5 Bxd2+ 7. Qxd2 0–0 8. c3 b6 9. f4 Ba6 10. Nf3 Qd7 11. a4 Nbc6 12. b4 cxb4 13. cxb4 Bb7 14. Nd6 f5 15. a5 Nc8 16. Nxb7 Qxb7 17. a6 Qf7 18. Bb5 N8e7 19. 0–0 h6 20. Rfc1 Rfc8 21. Rc2 Qe8? 22. Rac1 Rab8 23. Qe3 Rc7 24. Rc3 Qd7 25. R1c2 Kf8 26. Qc1 (see diagram; this is the point at which Alekhine forms the gun) Rbc8 27. Ba4 (threatening 28.b5, winning the pinned knight) b5 28. Bxb5 Ke8 29. Ba4 Kd8 (guarding c7, so that the knight can move away on 30.b5) 30. h4! (but now all Black's pieces are committed to the defence against the gun, and he is running out of moves) h5 31. Kh2 g6 32. g3 (zugzwang) 1–0[1]

Other games[edit]

Six years later, in 1936, Alekhine defeated William Winter using Alekhine's gun again.[2] Since then, players have learned much about using and guarding against this formation; however, some international games are still lost or won by the force of this tactic. In November 2018 it was successfully used by Ju Wenjun against Kateryna Lagno in game 4 of the FIDE Women's World Championship.[3] The attack could have been refuted with perfect defense, but Lagno was unable to find it and resigned five moves later. Ju Wenjun went on to win the match and with it the title.

In popular culture[edit]

The video game Alekhine's Gun is named after this chess formation.


  1. ^ "Alexander Alekhine vs. Aron Nimzowitsch, 1930".
  2. ^ ."William Winter vs. Alexander Alekhine, 1936".
  3. ^ "Kateryna Alexandrovna Lagno vs Ju Wenjun, 2018".