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Zugzwang (pron: tsoog-tsvang) is an ugly word appropriate to an ugly state on the chessboard. Literally meaning "movebound", it describes a position in which the side whose turn it is to move would be fine if only he could pass, but any move he makes will destroy his game.

Many endgames rely on zugzwang motifs. For example, king and rook would not be able to force mate against a lone king if the defending side could pass. True zugzwang positions in the middlegame are rare. However, the dilemma in which Garry Kasparov found himself against Jeroen Piket in the final round at Amsterdam is about as good an example as you could wish for.

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This was the position after Piket's 37.Qd5. Black's queen cannot move without letting the d-pawn promote. 37...Rf6 is impossible because of 38.Nb7. 37...Rb8 (the best rook move on the b-file) runs into 38.Qd6+ Kg8 39.Nd3 Rb6 40.Qd5 with Ne5 to follow. 37...a4 loses a pawn to Nxa4. Finally 37...Kg8 gives White the time needed to win the endgame with 38.Nb7 Rxb7 39.Qxb7 Kf8 40.Qc8 Ke7 41.Kg3 Qxd7 42.Qxd7+ Kxd7 43.Kh4 Ke7 44.Kg5 Ke6 45.f5+ gxf5 46.Kxh5.

Only 37...h4 was left, when 38.Qe5 threatened Qh8+ followed by Qxh4+. At the end 41...Qb8 42.Qxb8+ Rxb8 43.Nb7 Ke7 44.d8=Q+ Rxd8 45.Nxd8 Kxd8 46.g3! is an easy win for White.

That result left Kasparov in second place with Joel Lautier winning the tournament.

White: J. Piket

Black: G. Kasparov

1 d4 Nf6 22 Nxd2 Re2

2 c4 g6 23 Qxb4 a5

3 Nc3 d5 24 Qxb7 Rxd2

4 Nf3 Bg7 25 d7 Rxb2

5 Qb3 dxc4 26 Qd5 Rb5

6 Qxc4 0-0 27 Rd1 Bf8

7 e4 Na6 28 Bd6 Bxd6

8 Be2 c5 29 Qxd6 Rab8

9 d5 e6 30 h3 Rb1

10 0-0 exd5 31 Rxb1 Rxb1+

11 exd5 Re8 32 Kh2 Rb6

12 Rd1 Bf5 33 Qe5 Kf8

13 d6 h6 34 Qh8+ Ke7

14 Bf4 Nd7 35 Qe5+ Kf8

15 Rd2 Nb4 36 f4 h5

16 Qb3 Be6 37 Qd5 h4

17 Bc4 Nb6 38 Qe5 g5

18 Bxe6 Rxe6 39 Qh8+ Ke7

19 Na4 Re4 40 Qe5+ Kf8

20 Bg3 Nc4 41 fxg5 resigns

21 Nxc5 Nxd2

William Hartston