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Word of the Day
Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Definitions for zugzwang

  1. Chess. a situation in which a player is limited to moves that cost pieces or have a damaging positional effect.

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Citations for zugzwang
The aim in the end game is to get your opponent’s king into “zugzwang,” which means to force him to have only one more move remaining, and that one loses the game for him. H. N. Levitt, "K K Karanja: Chess Champ," Boys' Life, February 1986
The outcome of an endgame often depends on the ability of one side to lose a move, and zugzwang--the obligation to move, even when one would rather not--becomes a powerful force. George Atkinson, Chess and Machine Intuition, 1998
Origin of zugzwang
Zugzwang in German means “compulsion to move,” originally a technical term in chess for a situation in which one is forced to make a disadvantageous move. As a chess term, zugzwang has been in English since the early 20th century.