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MatPlus.Net Forum General Mutual(?) Zugzwang

### Mutual(?) Zugzwang

I saw here a composer who knows his stuff use the term "mutual zugzwang." I thought, in play, and in studies, that zugzwang has to be, by definition, mutual. If it is not mutual, then it should be called, according to Hooper and other sources, a "squeeze." One only has a zugzwang if, it were either side to move, the result would be suboptimal - as in either side loses if it is their turn to move.

Anyone care to comment?

I disagree:

(= 2+1 )

Black is in Zugzwang, White is not. A "Mutual Zugzwang" is less common, though not necessarily difficult to compose:

(= 2+1 )

The first position is a squeeze, not a zugzwang.

There is normally no such term as "squeeze". The term Zugzwang is universally used in otb play and all genres in compositions in the sense explained in post 2.

Also, there is a third possibility, which does not well fit into your "system".

(= 3+2 )

White to play

How will you call this?

I call the last one "triangular manoeuvre".

And the Immortal Zugzwang Game - http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1102400 - also has not mutual zugzwang.

OK, you and Hooper can use "squeeze". But the rest of the chess world will use "zz". :-)

Thank you Georgy for contributing.

I would say that there is such a thing as a squeeze and it is documented in the literature - Hooper and Wyld and Brieger, for example.

The discussion is of course about the proper use of chess language. I consider, based on my readings in game theory, and in how I believe it should be used in chess, that zugzwangs can only be mutual - the outcome of the game is changed based on who is to move. This can be from win to loss or win to draw or draw to loss, but it must be mutual, else it is not a zugzwang.

A position that is already lost, such as the first one Dan gave, is a squeeze - Black is already lost, he is a rook down. He is compelled to move and get mated, but that is not zugzwang. He is lost anyway even if he could pass one move.

Your position I would define as a squeeze, as black is lost with or without the move. I don't see it as a third example, can you enlighten me?

I do want to add that the force of my argument should not be interpreted as hostility towards anyone here, or their ideas. The way "zugzwang" has been used in the chess literature has always been troubling to me,and reading Brieger's book was something of an epiphany to me. So if I respond with the force of a convert, I hope all will forgive me. Brieger's book goes so far as to say "John Nunn doesn't understand zugzwang," I doubt you will see me being that forceful.

For anyone who wants to refute me, I think a read of the wikipedia entry on zugzwang would be useful, not because it is the end-all of the discussion, but presents the ideas behind zugzwang and its use in chess, in a very broad fashion, without reaching any conclusions.

Thanks again to all who contribute.

That's funny Dan, thanks for the light-hearted answer.

However I do believe terms should be used correctly. I am perhaps a bit (????) of a pendant in that regard.

One of the problems is with things like the immortal zugzwang game, which Siegfried mentions, it is not a zugzwang at all, it is simply a lost position where quite appropriately, black is "squeezed" to death.

It isn't just me and Hooper against the world. I mentioned Brieger, and from Winter's article on zugzwang on his chess history page:

'That Zugzwang Nonsense!’ on pages 26-27 of the January 1972 BCM Wolfgang Heidenfeld (1911-1980) threw a weighty spanner in the works:

‘The opponent’s Zugzwang – the compulsion (as opposed to the right) to make a move – enables a player to win – or draw, as the case may be – a position which he could not otherwise win or draw. If the opponent had the choice of moving or “passing” at his discretion, there would be no win or draw. Once this criterion is lacking there is no Zugzwang. There may be a complete blockade, with one side powerless to make any useful move – but this is no real Zugzwang.’

I see no contradiction in your last citation. It is difficult to estimate out of context, but I absolutely agree that "absense of useful moves" and "zugzwang" are different things.

But your arguments are still far from correct.

You have written: "A position that is already lost, such as the first one Dan gave, is a squeeze - Black is already lost, he is a rook down."

This is not true!!! If black receives the ability to pass (not move at all) the position K+R vs K becomes drawn, even with the tight-cornered black king as in the example.

This fact can be used as an example of distinguishing of ordinary and mutual zugzwangs (in otb and studies). If a single "pass" from the side to move helps, then it is a mutual zugzwang, if multiple "passes" will be required, then the zugzwang is ordinary.

--0--

Also, until now all I see is that you suggest to rename
"zugzwang" to "squeeze" (playing cards are included))
and "mutual zugzwang" to simply "zugzwang".

Such word games can go on indefinitely, but I do not see the need for them.

Thanks again Georgy. I appreciate your input.

This is not true!!! If black receives the ability to pass (not move at all) the position K+R vs K becomes drawn, even with the tight-cornered black king as in the example.

I have thought about this for some time, and it was always the part of the conventional usage of zugzwang that confused me.

How many passes is black allowed? If only one, the game is NOT drawn in Dan's example. White can move and mate him later through another "squeeze." If black receives the option to "forever pass" then why not simply exercise that option at the start of the game and all games are drawn? That way I am as good as Magnus Carlsen!

That is in jest of course, but I am sure you see my point. The "if black could pass" argument seems hollow to me because you then you must define how many "passes" he would be allowed in a game - and if they are infinite, then all games are drawn. If they are finite, then many of the examples used for "if black could pass" hold no water.

Actually, I am proposing renaming nothing. I am asking to retain what I believe the original meaning of zugzwang to be - a move by either side negatively upsets the expected result. Thus all zugzwangs must be mutual by definition.

I realize this is something of a difficult argument to make because I am challenging what I see as years of incorrect usage of the term, leading to sloppiness in its use.

QUOTE
If black receives the option to "forever pass" then why not simply exercise that option at the start of the game and all games are drawn? That way I am as good as Magnus Carlsen!

Because there are winning ideas even against the starting position. I saw a problem quite a while ago where white makes 14 moves in his own half of the board and then black is unable to defend from being mated in 2 or so.

QUOTE
if they are infinite, then all games are drawn

At some point black must move, and if only to avoid checkmate.

QUOTE
I would say that there is such a thing as a squeeze and it is documented in the literature - Hooper and Wyld and Brieger, for example.

It should be noted that Hooper & Whyld do indeed define the terms squeeze and zugzwang the way you do, for instance in the 1987 edition of the Oxford Companion to Chess. But in the 1992 edition they wrote:
"squeeze: a term used in this book for a position in which one player (but not both) would be at a disadvantage if under the obligation to move. This is distinct from what (in this book) is called a zugzwang (or by some authorities a reciprocal zugzwang)" (emphasis twice mine).

So by 1992 they apparently were aware the terms were not used the same way throughout the chess world. John Nunn for instance uses reciprocal zugzwang consistently (and ad nauseam, I might add) in his book Endgame Challenge.

@Steve:

Jan Hein Verduin writes:

'But in the 1992 edition [Hooper & Whyld] wrote: "squeeze: a term used in this book for a position in which one player (but not both) would be at a disadvantage if under the obligation to move. This is distinct from what (in this book) is called a zugzwang (or by some authorities a reciprocal zugzwang)" (emphasis twice mine).'

Thanks to both of you; this certainly is something I already knew: that there was a correct usage for the term and a rather sloppy one that has been increasingly adopted over time. Apparently Hooper and Whyld conceded to this "dumbing down of the curriculum," I can understand why as defying convention sells few books.

It doesn't seem to me that much different than calling all draws a "stalemate" when clearly a stalemate is only one type of draw.

Well, this thread looks more and more like wordplay. I have found a good Wiki article on Zugzwang, which also uses traditional terminology: [url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zugzwang[/url]

Anyway, I also prefer traditional system, where the term "zugzwang" is a generic name with several specific kinds of it, rather than using two absolutely different titles for very similar things.

I edited my reply to Georgy by removing it, for those who saw it in the meantime and wonder where it went.

I want to think this through and make sure my argument is forceful without showing anger towards any poster; that is always a mistake.

Thanks again all.

Eandom input.

Define the new fairy chess variant "Pass Chess" by each player
having the right to pass in any position.
- Against an opponent playing for a win pass moves are deadly
in the opening and of not much use in midgame. Obviously this
changes in endgame where now a greater force is needed to win.
It would be interesting to write endgame theory for Pass Chess.
I estimate you need at least a Q worth of surplus material
to mate.
- Diagram 1 and 3 are equivalent under this discussion - neither
can be won in Pass Chess. The fact that in 1 White to move makes a
waiting move and in 3 a triangulation to lose a tempo makes
no difference (in the frame of this thread).

Hauke