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Adolf Jay Fink vs Abraham Kupchik
"How I Should Have Lost" (game of the day Sep-30-2007)
Chicago (1926), Chicago, IL USA, rd 3, Aug-23
Spanish Game: Closed. Martinez Variation (C78)  ·  1-0


Annotations by Adolf Jay Fink.      [2 more games annotated by A J Fink]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Sep-30-07  Confuse: the comments in this game combined with the moves played.. I admit I am lost. Is there any one out there who can take a gander and offer some speculation?
Sep-30-07  think: Very interesting game. The end position is a very good example of zugzwang.
Sep-30-07  D4n: Zugzwang I beleive means compulsion to move.
Premium Chessgames Member
  drmariogodrob: It's an old discussion, but here goes: Zugzwang means "the pain of moving." It describes a position in the board in which whoever is to move is at a disadvantage, i.e., obtains a worse result than if the same position were on the board and his/her opponent had the move. The best example is the first endgame you learn:

click for larger view

It is a mutual pain of moving! Here either player obtains a worse result if he is to move than he would if his opponent were to move. True zugzwang is and must be mutual.

The final position in this game, while impressive, is not zugzwang, though it is often so called (by the annotator, for example). This is what is called a "squeeze"--White is clearly winning with better piece mobility, better pawns, etc. It just so happens that Black runs out of moves, so his next move will allow White to penetrate his position--but this only hastens, rather than actually causes, his end. So the pain in this position is not primarily in having to move--it's being in this position to begin with!

End rant.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: <drmariogodrob> Well stated. To expound upon the idea, here is a sister position

click for larger view

With White to move, 1.c4?? would be a terrible blunder, because after ...Kc7 White is in zugzwang (any move draws). Correct is 1.c3!! so that it's Black, not White, who runs out of moves first.

(well, Kd6 works too, but that's beside the point).

Sep-30-07  Aspirador: Zugzwang does not mean "pain of moving". It means "compulsion to move" as <D4n> said before.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: Another classic pawn zugzwang where having the move spells your doom:

click for larger view

For reasons obscure, this is sometimes called "Trebuchet". Having the move doens't just cost you a half point, it costs you a whole point.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: I think a very literal translation of zugzwang is "move burden".
Sep-30-07  Aspirador: <I think a very literal translation of zugzwang is "move burden".>Believe me, compulsion is the right translation. Burden does not match it exactly. For example,
Premium Chessgames Member
  Crowaholic: <drmariogodrob: It's an old discussion, but here goes: Zugzwang means "the pain of moving.">

No, it's a German compound word and consists of "Zug" meaning move (in other contexts it can also mean pull, train, migration, characteristic and other things, though) and Zwang, which has only one meaning which is compulsion/coercion.

Pain would translate to "Schmerz" or "Leid", "Qual" or, a bit outdated, "Pein" (obviously from the same etymological root as "pain"). Burden translates to "Last", for instance.

The example you give is commonly considered a special case of zugzwang called reciprocal (or mutual) zugzwang. But this is commonly considered a special case and seen in contrast to the more often encountered one-sided zugzwang, e.g.:

click for larger view

In this case, Black to move loses after 1. ..Kc7 2. Ke7, while White to move can simply use the bishop for a waiting move. On the other hand, if White didn't have the bishop, then this would be mutual zugzwang as any White move drops the pawn or stalemates.

Some chess authors and players do instead use the term squeeze if the zugzwang is not reciprocal, but this is just one definition of the term and it does not invalidate the definition that (as far as I can tell) the majority uses.

I agree, however, that true zugzwang means that the inability of one side (or both sides if reciprocal) to pass changes the theoretical result. In the above example, this is true because if Black can pass, there is no way for White to dislodge the black king. On the other hand, the following position is not true zugzwang because if Black could pass, this would only delay the mate as White has Nh1-f2-g4-e5-d7 to drive the black king off the queening square.

click for larger view

Premium Chessgames Member
  AniamL: These are some of the most informative comments I've seen here for a game of the day, both from a chess perspective and a linguistics perspective ;) Thanks guys.
Premium Chessgames Member
  drmariogodrob: I have been sufficiently ganged up upon--my translation is withdrawn, but the rest of the discussion stands as stated. Carry on.
Premium Chessgames Member
  drmariogodrob: Once again the discussion comes down to whether "zugzwang" refers to a situation where black may pass the move ONCE (or any finite number of times, which can all be shown to be equivalent definitions to passing once), or, like <Crowaholic>'s first example, he may be allowed to pass the move INFINITELY OFTEN (the 50-move rule notwithstanding).

As a mathematician before I am a linguist or a chess player, anything we wish to do infinitely often without discussing convergence always makes me uneasy, so I stick to the former.

As a linguist after I am a mathematician and before I am a chess player, I acknowledge that if a word is commonly used in the vernacular in a manner contrary to its given definition, then the only reasonable thing to do is change its given definition to that of its common usage.

Ultimately making it pointless to bring up the whole thing, thus contradicting <AniamL>'s compliment. But thanks nonetheless.

Premium Chessgames Member
  AniamL: I wouldn't call it pointless, <drmariogodrob>. Maybe it has been for you, but as a Latin/Greek scholar and current student of German, I'm mostly just interested in learning the roots of the word zugzwang. And since I never get a chance to converse about chess anyway, I don't really care what the <current usage> of the word is, I just care about the original meaning.
Premium Chessgames Member
  LexBenaim: Feeling especially slow today...Why not 19. Bb3?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: <LexBenaim> you want to actually discuss the game? :->

Well, 19. Bb3 Nxg5 and then what? 20.Bxg5 Qxd3 or if 20.Nxg5 QxQ

Premium Chessgames Member
  Crowaholic: <LexBenaim: Why not 19. Bb3?>

Probably because of 19. ..Nxg5! 20. Bxg5 Qxd3.

<drmariogodrob: As a mathematician before I am a linguist or a chess player, anything we wish to do infinitely often without discussing convergence>

What I am wondering is - how would you define a "squeeze"?

<or any finite number of times, which can all be shown to be equivalent definitions to passing once>

I don't think this is the case because the opponent may have only a finite number of waiting moves, e.g.

click for larger view

If Black is allowed to pass on move 1, then White will still win. If Black is allowed to pass a second time, however, then this is a draw.

Premium Chessgames Member
  drmariogodrob: <Crowaholic> I recommend moving this to my discussion board--this is where I will post a response.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: It looks like there is a lot of arguing over the meaning of "zugzwang" here, I have always seen it in the one-way variety as a condition that a player is forced to move and by doing so,suffers in the game. A player can lose material,or the game,or even a draw instead of a win.

Two-way zugzwang is a special condition that whoever is on the move-must suffer a loss (as mentioned above) by moving.

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