The Mysterious Art of Zugzwang.

The Mysterious Art of Zugzwang.

The Planet Greenpawn

The Mysterious Art of Zugzwang.


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A Rook on 7th
green pawns

The first Super GM O.T.B. tournament to be held for a long time recently finished.
It was held in Norway. Carlsen won it and the final score table looks like this.

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(it was Double Round Robin - they played each other twice)

Confused? I’ll explain it as you may see more tables like this as the format
seems to be quite popular and is bound is to used again in future events.

You get 3pts. for a win. ½ for a draw and right after the draw the players have
to play an Armageddon Game where here (it may vary at other places ) White
has 10 minutes - Black 7 minutes plus the draw odds. (a draw is a Black win.)

If you win the Armageddon Game you get 1 pt and the loser gets ½ point.

So looking at the table again you can see that Magnus beat Alireza once in a
classical game (the 3-0) drew in another game but won the Armageddon (1½ - 1)

And just incase you do not know what any of these players look like,
here is the picture of them from (I kid you not) the official website.

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(it looks like Fabiano has not being able to find a barber during lock down)
green pawns

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Typically I did the cartoon, rather good I thought, and then could
not find any immediate examples of Zugzwang on Red Hot Pawn.

I’ll get some in the future in the meanwhile...

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(Next week Knight and Stable Mates)

Some good and not so good play here. Players relaxing in won positions
and desperate players setting Stalemate traps. All examples are from 2020

Zdogg - EROCK23 RHP.2020 (black to play)


Black wins by marching the King across to the c-pawn.
Instead Black played 56...h2 57.Rxc3+ Rxc3 stalemate.

This next one could have been labelled under ‘Pause Before Promoting’ category.

liorl - Gershom Willemse RHP 2020



Following on from that we see this wonderful piece of tricky dicky play from both players.

If you only ever pick one thing from all these blogs please look at my note after
White’s move 2.Kg1. Sometimes a useless looking check pays dividends and
I am afraid for the 100th time (surely more than that...Russ) ‘Check All Checks!’

Very Rusty - jb70 RHP 2020



This next one is a chess writers dream. The position, note and the game follow perfectly.

Acresda - bpermaculture RHP 2020 (White to play)


White has to give the Black King some room.. Instead 43.g4 Rxh4 +
White played 44.gxh4 stalemate. 44.Kg3 and the game still goes on.

Was not going to use this but the final position struck a chord.
Something about it nagged my rapidly decaying grey brain cells.
The 'Most Instrucitve Games' By Chernev popped into my skull.

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This is the copy I have had since the late 60’s. Still read it now and again.

The last game. (Number 62) ‘Symphony of Heavenly Length’

L. Evans - H. Opsahl, Chess Olympiad, Dubrovnik 1950.


Can you see the similarity. Somehow I did (the wee brain still works sometimes.)

What happens if White plays 75. h7. Then it is a perpetual check.
75. h7 Rg4+ 76. Kh5 Rg5+ 77. Kh6 Rg6+ 78. Kh5 Rg5+ 79. Kh4 Rg4+

And the Chernev note about played killing themselves...or even worse.

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Evans played 75 Rf3+ and went onto win. But could I be so lucky as
to find an RHP game where a player has actually walked into this.

Yes! it is not a 2020 game but close enough, it is from 2019.

GaryB70 - justplaychess RHP 2019



And finally. I mentioned the mate that Black threatened in that last game.

It would have looked like this.


I found an old RHP game that ended with this pattern.

misu1 - tjoekie RHP 2009



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A Rook on the 2nd.

The thread accompanying this blog is Thread 187165

Posted to The Planet Greenpawn

Show Comments (2)
Comments (2)

  • Posted 30 days 17 hours and 50 minutes ago
    Subscribergreenpawn34
    Hi raiox,

    Thanks for liking the stuff that I do. That game nearly in ended in tears. 48...Nb4 instead of 48...Nc3 puts the king in a mating net without a stalemate. Trading down into a won ending can be tricky, this how I recently did it. My 40th move 40...Nf1 set it up neatly, no escape from the Knight fork after the Rook Sac.
    Game 14015950
  • Posted 33 days 21 hours and 52 minutes ago | Edited
    Subscriberraiox
    Cheers for the great blog. I did have a 'won' game Game 12551512 and stopped thinking about the moves - Opponent had a great stalemate swindle (move 49, I cannot take his rook no matter how many times he generously offered it) - but then he assumed that he had a 'stalemate' game - same mistake, he didn't check that I still had a chance, after a long trek by the King. We had a good chat about it afterwards.
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