This question is about chess linguistics. Alekhine's gun is the pattern where the queen is placed behind two rooks.
- Who came up with the phrase?
- Is it clear which kind of gun they had in mind?
- In which language did the phrase originate?
I always imagined "gun" in this context meant a piece of artillery such as a cannon, because surely the three heaviest chess pieces put together must be a heavy weapon! :-)
I see that several of the non-English Wikipedia articles about it use cognates of cannon, for example, Cannone di Alechin (Italian) or Canhão de Alekhine (Portuguese). But on the Spanish-speaking world, the situation seems more confused: there are more Google hits for pistola de Alekhine than for cañón de Alekhine, and I can't tell which could be considered more authoritative. Could this have been a mistranslation?
On the other hand, the metaphor of threatening the player across the table with a pistol is also interesting, and I've also seen the queen behind the bishop called Reti's rifle, so maybe there's more of a small arms tradition in chess phrases than I originally thought.