Definition of zugzwang in English:



  • A situation in which the obligation to make a move in one's turn is a serious, often decisive, disadvantage.

    ‘black is in zugzwang’
    • ‘As Beim explains, with accurate play, there is no way to put Black into zugzwang.’
    • ‘His task was to find themes of interest in this mass of material, and an incredible finding he cites is that there are 209 examples of mutual zugzwang in these endings, all of which he lists.’
    • ‘One very impressive set of pages in the back of the book is a complete table of computer database results for pawnless endings where not only the general result is given, but also the longest win and longest reciprocal zugzwang.’
    • ‘This touches on zugzwang, stalemate, fortresses, attack on the king, and some other absurd examples.’
    • ‘After a while one would realise that this position looks like a mutual zugzwang.’


Early 20th century: from German Zug move + Zwang compulsion.