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A Battery in chess is a formation of two or more sliding pieces with common attacking directions along the same rank, file, or diagonal. Their attacks conjoin on one or more target squares in one ray-direction, attacked at least once directly, and one or more times indirectly. A battery is a chess tactics related term, often motivated by strategic pawn structure related considerations. In the middlegame, a (rook) battery attacking a weak opponent pawn on a half-open file is a common motive. The German chess term Drucksäule [1] (tower of strength) refers to own, apparently weak pawn support from its rearspan, to force a lever and pawn exchange to (half-) open a file.
Battery of English cannon [2]

Evaluation Considerations

Like other X-ray related tactics, considering batteries may be subject of king safety terms and static exchange evaluation. A standard pattern in mate at a glance is a battery of bishop / queen or rooks / queen, where the queen attacks a square or opponent piece adjacent to the opponent king, exclusively defended.

Whether a (rook-) battery deserves a general bonus in evaluation is debatable, assuming there are already singular bonuses for occupying open- or half-open files or the seventh rank respectively. Larry Kaufman even proposed a rook-pair penalty with respect to a bishop pair [3]:
In my opinion, another reason is that any other pair of pieces suffers from redundancy. Two knights, two rooks, bishop and knight, or major plus minor piece are all capable of guarding the same squares, and therefore there is apt to be some duplication of function.

With two bishops traveling on opposite colored squares there is no possibility of any duplication of function. So, in theory, rather than giving a bonus to two bishops, we should penalize every other combination of pieces, but it is obviously much easier to reward the bishop pair.

See also

External Links


  1. ^ Die Drucksäule (German)
  2. ^ Artillery battery from Wikipedia
  3. ^ Larry Kaufman (1999). The Evaluation of Material Imbalances. (first published in Chess Life March 1999, online version edited by Dan Heisman)

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