Zugzwang

Zugzwang. Come on, say it. You know you want to. Zugzwang. Of course it’s German. But, have you a clue what it means? Go on, guess. Feel like I’m playing games with you? I am. Because zugzwang is a term generally used in chess. It describes a situation where a player has to make a move, but given the choices would rather not as their position will be weakened. I found on Krautblog that it combines Zug (“move” in the context of board games) and Zwang (“compulsion”, “being forced to do something”). It’s not just for chess though. I found examples of it used as the title of a novel (an Irish thriller, which I now feel I must read), to describe a congressional budget issue, to a baseball no-win scenario. I challenge you to use this one at work or around the house. “Hey honey, you really put me in zugzwang back there at that PTA meeting; making me choose between those two awful issues.” Thank you kindly to pal, Michelle, a self-described “girl geek”, instructional designer, and wine blogger for recommending this one.

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One thought on “Zugzwang

  1. And a “Ja Woh” to you! I will have to practice my guttural sounds. As Arti Johnson used to say on “Laugh In,”…very interesting! (German accent implied)

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