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  • Last updated on 5/29/15, 11:56 PM.

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The German word zwischenzug means 'in-between move', and it is a common tactic that occurs in almost every game of chess! It is also known as an `intermezzo`.

Picture your opponent making a move that directly threatens one of your pieces: instead of responding directly to the threat, you make another even more forcing move, like a check or mate threat.  

When this tactic is used in the game of chess you will make a move that poses an even more devastating threat, instead of countering a direct threat as the opponent expected you to. Often the move that you made will be a direct attack against your opponent's queen or the king. Your opponent will be forced to counter that threat against his or her queen or king first, and this will ideally change the situation to your advantage.

As easily as you can use this tactic, so can your opponents. Because this is a common, well-known tactic you should always watch out for a zwischenzug. Do not assume that the opponent has to counter your threats immediately, no matter how great they may appear in your eyes. It is good practice to always check whether your opponent has a check or a move that can threaten your queen. Conversely, anticipate your opponent's threats and plan a surprising Zwischenzug.

Try to use this tactic when it appears to work to your advantage, and guard your pieces against it; particularly guard your queen and king against the zwischenzug. This tactic is all about forcing your opponent into making tough decisions. Your opponent has to ask themselves, for example: "Do I take his knight with my bishop, or guard or move my queen?" These kinds of situations will generally provide you with a tempo advantage as your opponent retreats.

Source: http://www.101chesstips.com/zwischenzug.jsp


  • 6 years ago · Quote · #1


    Do not assume that the opponent has to counter your threats immediately, no matter how great they may appear in your eyes.

    Is an exception a check?

  • 6 years ago · Quote · #2


    lol and we can surprise our friends with our awesome chess volcabulary!

  • 6 years ago · Quote · #3


    0 reads?

  • 6 years ago · Quote · #4


    interesting strategy. can you use this move to force a checkmate?

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #5


    great article! 

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #6


    No because you can do the "correct" move instead of doing the obvious. There is no exception for zwichenzug.

  • 4 years ago · Quote · #7


    even if you don't gain a tangible advantage, Zwichenzug makes you look good! Wink

  • 4 years ago · Quote · #8



  • 4 years ago · Quote · #9


    a nice play...usually leads to mate if ask me..

  • 3 years ago · Quote · #10


    This is just so weird.

    1. You seem like a genius when you say, "I won by an unforeseen zwischenzug."

  • 3 years ago · Quote · #11


    this is also known as desparado

  • 3 years ago · Quote · #12


    pronounciation = tsvishen-tsoog

  • 3 years ago · Quote · #13


    I dropped in to a local chess club one day and played against one of their more seasoned players.  This guy had a habit of moving his Queen into the center of the board at some point in the middlegame.  I set up a series of moves that sprung a surprise attack at his Queen, while simultaneously threatening mate in 1, using different routes along the board so that he could not block both at once.  He protected his Queen and lost the game.  I did this three games in a row.  Now years later I'm discovering it's called Zwischenzug.

  • 3 years ago · Quote · #14


    If a player can react with a  zwischenzug, the instigating move was not the best.

  • 2 years ago · Quote · #15


    0 reads? wow!

  • 8 months ago · Quote · #16


    Hey guys, this is an example of a zwischenzug, this is still a game in progress, but I played two zwischenzugs in the game, and it has my opponent in a huge disadvantage right now.


  • 8 weeks ago · Quote · #17



  • 7 weeks ago · Quote · #18


    Good information

    I knew about the "in between move" but i did not knew it had a term or name ! 

    i think both Anand and Carlsen missed "in between move" in one of their world championship game i read somewhere....

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