Monday, 9 March 2020

061. Alekhine's Pop Gun

Black: K. Kitson - C&DCCC Ward-Higgs Trophy, 2020

Alekhine's Gun is an arrangement of the heavy pieces, a tripling (a syzygy) of queen and rooks on one file with the queen at the back.

With tripling, the queen more often goes between the rooks, which tends to be more effective. The front rook can then smash through a barrier, allowing the queen to appear in the breach, supported by a second rook behind.

Whereas – in the absence of any sitting ducks (Alekhine himself was lined up against a pinned knight) – The Gun seems to do very little besides gaze down its file, which is an overconcentration of forces in a single direction. It has featured eight times in my praxis and never yielded one victory for its constructor (even from move 33 in this game). And in the game below, the gun never got to fire at all.

After 29 Qd1, White has built The Gun and is ready to shoot with 30 dxc6, uncovering an attack on the d6-pawn.

Or should Black pre-empt that by playing 29...c5, White can take some time to prepare a queenside break with c2-c3 and b3-b4, switching the heavy pieces to the b-file.

Instead, my opponent (who had previously played ...Bg4-d7-f5-h7-g8) opted simply to return his bishop to h7 again. This manoeuvre rendered the gun impotent since, with the e4-knight now pinned, 30 dxc6? bxc6 would not be a good idea for White.


Seeing nothing else to do, I made a nothing move and offered a draw.

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