“Zugzwang” is a German term that means “compulsion to move,” and it refers to a situation in chess where the player whose turn it is to move is at a disadvantage. In this scenario, any move the player makes will result in a worse position for them. Zugzwang is a rare but powerful tactic that can be used to gain a decisive advantage in the endgame.
The concept of zugzwang has been known for centuries and has been studied extensively by chess players and theorists. It is often seen in endgame positions where the player with fewer pieces is forced to make a move that will result in their position weakening. For example, if a player is forced to move a pawn when they would rather keep it still, this can result in a zugzwang position.
One of the most famous examples of zugzwang occurred in the game between Aron Nimzowitsch and Richard Reti in 1912. In this game, Reti had a rook and a pawn against Nimzowitsch’s king and knight. Reti was able to create a zugzwang position, forcing Nimzowitsch to move his king and allowing Reti to win the game.
While zugzwang is a powerful tactic, it is also rare and difficult to achieve. In many cases, a player may be able to force a draw instead of a win, but in some rare situations, it can lead to a decisive advantage.