My goal is to make chess the most widely played game in this planet. Although this may be overly ambitious, this is the right estimate looking at the amount of effort and dedication put in this website. This blog is just a by-product from the youthful exuberance of a 16 year old. I hope you will support me in this journey which I have undertaken.
In today’s blog, I am going to describe the good old tactic “Zwischenzug”. This tactic confuses many and they think that it is very hard to employ the tactic based on the name itself. To understand let’s understand the origin of the word, then the meaning of it and then let’s go through some chess diagrams. Firstly, this comes from a german word and quite literally means “in-between”. The idea was known for quite a while yet was first made and spoken during the 1920s, and later began turning into a piece of the typical Chess language alongside its cousins – “Intermedia Move”, “Intermezzo” and “in-between move”.
It looks like the only viable option for black to do is play Rc1 check forcing the exchange and promoting to a queen. But just as we are about to give up hope, a curious-looking move pops up in our brain after Rc1 check – Why not sacrifice the queen on a1? – Voila! A beautiful finish to the game!
We can easily gain a material advantage here and take the bishop freely. When white queen captures on f3, taking immediately would leave our rook at e8 hanging with check. So if any such threats occur like this. Try to look for ways to check the king with the “future hanging piece”.
This unusual move in the middle of a hopeless sequence of forcing moves is what is called a Zwischenzug or an Intermediate move. We can basically define zwischenzug by saying that “Zwischenzug or Intermediate move simply means delivering an unexpected move in a series of otherwise forced sequence of moves, changing the outcome of the game”.
“Practice makes a man perfect”. Hence given below are curated chess puzzles for you which help improve your understanding of this subject. If you are done with this, watch out for future articles regarding Zwischenzug and our upcoming tactics trainer which would guarantee you a significant rating boost. Anyways, let’s get back to the exercises.
In this scenario, the most important thing one should notice is the strong active white rook controlling the f7 square which restrains the king to his position. Not only that but the fact that white has a light squared bishop and a queen on a light square. This distinction is what separates an intermediate player from a master. This line is forced as bishop to d3 threatens mate and following that we should also notice that bringing queen to g6 threatens mate via (rook and queen) & (rook and bishop). So here white did a sharp manoeuvre and achieved the position he wanted.
Here, it is important to note the c5 square where black bishop resides at. It is supported by one defender and we can capture it with our dark squared bishop. So here we can use a deflection tactic whose underlying theme is “Zwischenzug”. By forcing an exchange of queens due to mate @ f7. White instead of going for the normal pawn gxf3, goes for bxc5 which comes with check and then picks up the queen. Since this is sailing away from the normal trend, we can call this “Zwischenzug”.
Here, the first thing that is eye-catching is that vulnerable exposed king on g6. If we look at this position with respect to white’s current position, the black king has only two squares to go to which is h5 & h6. Queen to g7 check immediately doesn’t work as the black king has the f5 square available for escaping and there is no good continuation. We want the f5 square covered as well. What better move than pawn to f5. Since black queen has to capture, now we can safely check with queen at g7 making the king retreat to h5 square ONLY. Then our pawns come into the game and voila!
Hope you have found the solutions to all the exercises and examples given above. Good luck on your chess journey!