Definition of zugzwang in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈzʌɡzwaŋ/
Pronunciation: /ˈzuːɡzwaŋ/


[mass noun] Chess
A situation in which the obligation to make a move in one’s turn is a serious, often decisive, disadvantage: black is in zugzwang
More example sentences
  • This touches on zugzwang, stalemate, fortresses, attack on the king, and some other absurd examples.
  • As Beim explains, with accurate play, there is no way to put Black into zugzwang.
  • 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.


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

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: zug|zwang

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