What is Zugzwang? | Chess Terms
Many chess players never have heard of zugzwang!

What is Zugzwang? | Chess Terms

CHESScom
CHESScom
Jan 1, 2018, 12:00 AM |
5 | For Beginners

The first time chess players hear the word zugzwang they think their opponent's are calling them a funny name! Not quite—Let's take a look. 

  1. What is zugzwang in chess?
  2. Zugzwang can be simple or complex.
  3. Notable games
  4. Zugzwang puzzles

1. What is Zugzwang in chess?

Zugzwang is a German word which basically means, "It is your turn to move, and all of your moves are bad!" There is no "pass" or "skip a move" in chess, so sometimes having to move can lose the game!

Zugzwang Chess

Will you be the winner or the loser in the "zugzwang battle"?

Zugzwang is a fun word to say with the pronunciation being [ˈtsuːktsvaŋ]. Chess being an international game has adopted languages from other countries. Zugzwang is a German word which translates to "compulsion to move."

2) Zugzwang can be simple or complex

Many endgames and endgames studies involve zugzwang in very complex positions. 

3) Notable Games

This game is famous for it's demonstration of the zugzwang theme. 

Friedrich SämischFriedrich Sämisch

4) Zugzwang Workout

Try these two zugzwang puzzles to test your new knowledge!

Zugzwang is a very devious way to win the game! Usually it is beneficial to be able to make a move, but by forcing your opponent to move you make them lose the game!

Sign up today and zugzwang your way to victory on chess.com!

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