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Zugzwang

  • Last updated on 10/25/14, 11:31 PM.

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Pronounced "tsoog-tsvung", Zugzwang is a German word meaning "obligation to move".  The term is used for a position in which whoever has the move would obtain a worse result than if it were the opponent’s turn to play. A player is said to be "in zugzwang" when any possible move will worsen his position.[1]

The term is also used in combinatorial game theory, where it means that it directly changes the outcome of the game from a win to a loss, but the term is used less precisely in games such as chess.[2][3] Putting the opponent in zugzwang is a common way to help the superior side win a game, and in some cases, it is necessary in order to make the win possible.[4]  

The term "zugzwang" was used in German chess literature in 1858 or earlier,[5] and the first known use of the term in English was by World Champion Emanuel Lasker in 1905.[6] The concept of zugzwang was known to players many centuries before the term was coined, appearing in an endgame study published in 1604 by Alessandro Salvio, one of the first writers on the game, and in shatranj studies dating back to the early 9th century, over 1000 years before the first known use of the term. Below is the Immortal Zugzwang game, where in the final position, any move Black makes, loses quickly.

Whoever is to move in the following diagram IMMEDIATELY loses. This is because they must not only cease attacking the opponent's pawn, but must give up defense of their own! This situation is refferd to as a 'trebuchet'. Zugzwangs are very rare in normal chess games.

White to move:

Black to move:

Comments


  • 6 years ago · Quote · #21

    HectorParra

    Zugwang es aplicable a condiciones de la vida diaria, también.

  • 6 years ago · Quote · #22

    HectorParra

    Interesante

  • 6 years ago · Quote · #23

    HectorParra

    ¡Terrible situación!

  • 6 years ago · Quote · #24

    HectorParra

    InteresanteWink

  • 6 years ago · Quote · #25

    tapout123

    Thanks for the post , there's lots to learn in this game

  • 6 years ago · Quote · #26

    etarnal

    i cant see the board!!!

  • 6 years ago · Quote · #27

    littleAlekhine

    yeah, german word^^

     Zug = move

    Zwang= force

  • 6 years ago · Quote · #28

    littleAlekhine

    yeah, german word^^

    Zug = move

    Zwang = force

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #29

    Marvin2

    cool

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #30

    jacobyboy

    awesome tactic!

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #31

    franknstein

    Dont think its a zugzwang.If its whites move he could easily play Kd3 or Ke3 without letting black gain any advantage.However if its Blacks turn he is surely losing a pawn.

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #32

    fireballz

     I also had similar, situation. But it involved a draw offer, that I had made.  Either the opponent draw, or I force a draw...

    The opponent have the choice to get out of the draw, but would find himself in a worst position, thus loosing the game.

    If I don't force the draw, then I would lose the game.

    Would that be seen as a double edged zugswang?

    The opponent resigned the game, because he feel it to be dirty play, as he had a lower rating than I, and was in a strong position to win.

    I'm not saying I would have win/or he would have win...I can only make a decision of how i feel the outcome could have been, and i do not consider blunders, because mate wasn't evident, but the position was so powerful, that both expected to win.  depending on the draw.(me expecting him not to make 3 move repetition, so that I can check him either with a night or bishop and then move in for mate)  Or,  him expecting me not to force draw, so that he could move in and finish me.

    It is sad to win this way, he should have draw.

     

     

     

    If

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #33

    fireballz

    blck could take time to move, then white fall asleep, then blck can win on time...or white could blunder and give up...would that still be zugzwang?

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #34

    fireballz

    blck could take time to move, then white fall asleep, then blck can win on time...or white could blunder and give up...would that still be zugzwang?

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #35

    fireballz

    would zugzwang be zugzwang, only if a move is made that we view as zugzwang, or can opponent still blunder? Does Zugzwang lead to defeat, or is it just a nice move, that you say.....erm this is interesting, and then continue with the game to win, or loose, or do you have to lose after a zigzwang?

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #36

    ryder306

    seriously, i dont understand why you rate an end game like this. to it is luck and probably good positioning.Thanks

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #37

    Durial

    black king moves left or right, either way white wins a pawn, and then its easy to get a promotion afterwards. No move can save black in this position.

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #38

    _Chess_Boy_

    Another example of Zugzwang - 

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #39

    cxue2010

    This is interesting-thanks for posting it!

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #40

    dumbchess

    Bosco, ur full of it!

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