Upgrade to Chess.com Premium!

Zugzwang

  • Last updated on 10/21/14, 12:54 AM.

  • Send to friend
  • | 462 reads
  • | 97 comments

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'.

White to move:

Black to move:

Comments


  • 5 years ago · Quote · #41

    dumbchess

    Bosco, ur full of it!

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #42

    fireballz

    interesting

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #43

    EN-Ignigladius

    O really?....................I thought that if ooooo no wonder I keep losing at this position!

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #44

    bhz

    In the last diagram, Kh7 wins:

  • 4 years ago · Quote · #45

    simikolon

    It means "Forced Movement".

    Look at my flag :)

  • 4 years ago · Quote · #46

    NolanRoberts

    Only Endgame experts know how to handle one correctly, as to not "friendly fire" on them selves so to speak.  Technically, this should be an impossable setting, because both sides should be trying to avoid this...i dunno, this is a wierd setting

  • 4 years ago · Quote · #47

    C-dog1

    that's cool, but the games end in a draw in those examples.

  • 4 years ago · Quote · #48

    HEMRUL

    just relax u all while play that!1 step is important for chess!Cool

  • 4 years ago · Quote · #49

    Jonnah

    Atleast some more information on this opening

  • 4 years ago · Quote · #50

    jhkjhk

    This will help me understand video lessons

  • 4 years ago · Quote · #51

    deven98

    Interesting

  • 4 years ago · Quote · #52

    melodyzhang

    how is zugzwang pronouced? tonguetwister!Tongue out

  • 4 years ago · Quote · #53

    nonowho

    how do you say that?

  • 4 years ago · Quote · #54

    elbowgrease

    awesome!@cool

  • 4 years ago · Quote · #55

    elbowgrease

    s

  • 4 years ago · Quote · #56

    elbowgrease

    o

  • 4 years ago · Quote · #57

    elbowgrease

    d

  • 4 years ago · Quote · #58

    elbowgrease

    a

  • 4 years ago · Quote · #59

    elbowgrease

    I want soda!! lol

  • 3 years ago · Quote · #60

    athula_arun

    this one the things which always defeats me

Back to Top

Post your reply: