Previously, we learned about the German word term Zugzwang, now we’re going to talk about another German word that will make you sound like a genius to throw in casual Chess conversation and banter, a Zwischenzug.
In Chess, Zwischenzug is a German word that describes an “in-between move”. This Zwischenzug is a reply in the middle of an unexpected sequence of positions.
Importance of a Zwischenzug
Understanding this “in-between move” will allow you to claim many victories by identifying moves that interfere with seemingly normal lines and movement patterns in various positions.
For example, when one move seems obvious and straight forward to make, you could thrown in a Zwischenzug before making said move, just to throw off your opponent and make the position even worse for them.
Knowing that there could be a Zwischenzug forces you and your opponent to be precise. Before instantly reacting to an opponent’s move, stop and consider other possibilities.
In the position below, Black is clearly winning. White is down a pawn and Black has a powerful passed pawn on the b-file that White can’t stop.
It’s Black’s move and just going by instinct, pushing the passed pawn, playing b3 would be the move to play. That’s the straightforward approach to continuing the game. However, thinking about the concept of the Zwischenzug, Black decides to first trade off White’s Knight first just to simplify the position further before continuing on to victory road.
However, this is a mistake. Black assumed White will just recapture the Knight, but White finds and plays a Zwischenzug, 2. Qe8+.
Now everything is different, just from thinking it was best to trade off another piece to simplify the position. Black is forced to play Kh7. Now White recaptures the Knight with check. And White is able to claim a draw by perpetual check.
White turned a losing position into a draw, which is of course much better than a loss. That’s the power of a Zwischenzug.
I hope this guide on the Zwischenzug Tactic helped you learn how much this one move could shake up the position. If you liked this post, you may want to learn other Chess Tactics like the Discovered Attack and Interfering.
If you’re new to Chess, there are many Chess Terms every beginner Chess player should know: