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Hey there chess fans, today I’m back with a complete guide on this rare and confusing Zugzwang Chess Rule. Very few chess players know about this term. So in this post I’ll share with you more about this rule. At the end of this post, I also have a video for you developed by our Youtube Channel Chess Online.

So let’s start with understanding Zugzwang Chess terminology better. Zugzwang according to German Dictionary means “compulsion to move”. Now let us look at this terminology with a chess player’s perspective.

Zugzwang Chess

Zugzwang in chess is a situation when you are forced to make a move but you would prefer not to, as any move you make will make your position only worse. Let me put it this way, in such a position every possible or eligible move your opponent can make is a bad move, then you have put your opponent in Zug-Zwang.

This situation mostly occurs in endgames. King and Pawn endgames, Bishop Endgames, Rook endgames these are few common end game situations when this position happens. But not necessarily, that this is noticed only in endgames, even in middle games and very rarely will you notice it in opening. Take example of the position where I have explained the terminology.

zugzwang chess

In the above position (image), take note that White King is on f6, white pawn on e7 and black king on e8. That means, the white pawn has reached 7th rank and needs just one more square for pawn promotion. Most important thing here is whose turn to play it is. In this position it is Black To Play. In such pawn endgames, sometimes one move makes a lot of difference. It is also called as waiting move.

For example, if it was white to play in this position then it is a draw as Ke6 is a STALEMATE and any other move would lead to black capturing the pawn and eventually a draw.

Getting back to the terminology, Black has only one move Kd7 to which white will respond with Kf7 and the e-pawn is unstoppable. So in this situation, black would instead choose not to play and pass on. This is when White has put Black in Zugzwang.

I hope the post explained about this weird and rare chess terminology. But anyways, I have a video guide for you to understand better.

Zugzwang Video


Hi, I’ll soon update the video explaining about the terminology here!