Zugzwang in chess

Have you ever seen a scenario where it’s your turn to make a move and that is a disadvantage? Chess is a very interesting game. It has so many contradictory principles. For eg. Everyone wants to have white pieces, the reason being they get to make the first move. But this advantage of having the turn to move becomes a disadvantage when you land in a zugzwang. So what is a zugzwang?


According to the German language, Zugzwang in chess and in other “turn-based games” is a position where you have to make a move and it leads to a disadvantage. As chess is a turn-based game, one cannot make a “pass”. He has to make a move and this move calls for disaster. So we had a lot of theoretical knowledge, let’s see the practical examples.


  1. Standard Position of zugzwang

In the above position, you can notice, both kings are protecting their pawns. In this scenario, if it is white to move he will have to step aside from protecting the pawn. This is the disadvantage of having the move.

  1. Zugzwang in middlegame.


Getting zugzwang in the middlegame is quite unique as there are a lot of pieces and one cannot really get all of them in a bind. So Following is a position from Super GM Hikaru Nakamura’s blitz game where he catches his opponent in zugzwang.

Here I am attaching the video of the game.


I hope you liked the concept of Zugzwang in chess. Do inform in comments if you ever got zugzwang in your games.