A situation where the movement of the opponent's pieces gets more and more restricted as the attack develops. The opponent can't make moves easily without losing something.

3 Answers 3


As @Ywapom notes, Zugzwang is often used to the describe the end of this situation, like the Immortal Zugzwang Game where Sämisch suffers this fate against Nimzowitsch.

For the progress itself, it's perfectly normal to use non-chess specific terminology here, e.g. you could say White was slowly getting strangled by Black in the game above.


It sounds like you are describing near "zugzwang". "Zugzwang: a situation in which the obligation to make a move in one's turn is a serious, often decisive, disadvantage" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zugzwang

"Bind" is another term often used to describe restriction.


If every single one of the opponent's moves loses something, then he is considered to be in zugzwang. However, if he has a position where it's simply difficult to find a satisfactory move, then he would be considered suffocated, cramped, or even squeezed.

There's no official/accepted term for general restriction of your opponent's pieces, but any of the 3 I mentioned above are expressions which are commonly used. However, zugzwang is the official/accepted term for a position where all moves lose.

  • 5
    I don't agree with the way "Zugzwang" is used in the answers. You say "If every move loses, then he is in Zugzwang". This is not a Zugzwang. If every move loses, then he is in the losing side of a tactic. Zugzwang is when every move is worse than "passing". "If I could pass, I would be fine, but I have to move, so I lose" this is a Zugzwang. When you try to squeeze your opponent, you make many little threats, if your opponent does not react (or passes) he loses because of the threat, if he reacts he gets more and more cramped. So this question has nothing to do with Zugzwang.
    – LeibnizGW
    Mar 20, 2018 at 8:48
  • @Knight of the Square Table I know, I was just mentioning Zugzwang because it's a related concept. Also, my definition is still true, it just also applies to tactics. What you said about "If every move loses, then he is in the losing side of a tactic" is true, but it also applies to Zugwang... "If every move loses, then he is in Zugzwang". The only difference is that for tactics, even if the opponent didn't move, he would still lose. In Zugzwang, if the opponent didn't move, he would not lose. In this sense, Zugzwang could be thought of as a subset of tactics, while not a tactic in itself. Mar 20, 2018 at 10:23
  • @InertialIgnorance - The question says "as the attack develops". We therefore have to assume that if the opponent stopped moving, he'd end up swept away by the attack. So the question isn't describing Zugzwang nor a related concept; the first sentence of your answer is wrong. Mar 20, 2018 at 14:36
  • @Jirka Hanika Note that my first sentence began with the word "if". I understand the question didn't involve zugzwang, I just wanted to include it because it's a related concept. My second sentence directly answered the question. Mar 21, 2018 at 1:25
  • @InertialIgnorance - If every single one of the opponent's moves loses something, and if skipping the move altogether would be better than any of the actually available moves, then he is considered to be in zugzwang Mar 21, 2018 at 12:58

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