Zugzwang

 









By H.Rinck, Deutsche Schachzeitung, 1922 

White to play and win

1. The rook that could have gone there to make a one move threat loses space after the pawn advances. Count the number of squares that this rook can safely go to. 2. White pawn on f6 is a passed pawn and it will be pushed to threaten promotion to queen. 3. If the pawn is captured by the Black king on f7, White must be able to fork the King and rook on d6 square by his knight.

1.f7
threatening to queen

1...Kg7
trying to stop

2.Nf5+
aiming at the fork on d6

2...Kf8
refusing to fall into the trap

3.b4
pawn is safe and also restricts rooks movements. Zugzwang! It is black's turn to move and he finds himself in a position where any of his move will simply lose! Though he would like to simply pass his turn without making a move, the chess rules do not allow this! This is called zugzwang!

3...Kxf7
[3...Rxf5 4.Kxf5 Kxf7 5.Ke5 Ke7 6.Kd5 Kd7 7.b5 Kc7 8.Ke6 Kc8 9.Kd6 Kb7 10.Kd7 Kb8 11.Kc6 Ka7 12.Kc7 Ka8 13.Kxb6 wins]

4.Nd6+
wins. Notice that the fork was not so much obvious. White had to take stock of his arms and ammunition and fire them in the right order of sequence to make them work! First a pawn promotion, then a zugzwang and finally the fork. Knight adds complexity, mystery and beauty to the game of chess. No wonder many chess products and organizations have its symbol on their logo! *

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