What's the term for a zugzwang position P where

  1. White is winning, with or without the move
  2. White's best way to win from P is to execute a tempo-losing manoeuvre which leads back to P with Black to move?

Admittedly, by the strict definition of zugzwang, any position where White wins if Black has the move qualifies as "zugzwang" only if White to move can't win. So that would exclude positions satisfying criterion 1. I am thinking here of positions where having the move doesn't deny White a win -- that win just takes longer. "Zugzwang" is often used in this looser sense.

One term I've come across is "cyclic zugzwang", a phrase which seems to be due to Árpád Rusz. But it is very little used -- all I see are uses by Rusz, John Beasley and Guy Haworth. I just wondered if there's a more prevalent term so that Googling it will locate more useful stuff.

Tantalizingly, John Beasley, in an appreciation of Guy Haworth (d. June 2021) on his page about chess endgames, says "One of Guy’s original contributions was to the finding of all “cyclic zugzwangs” (White to move can win, but only by manoeuvring back to the same position, or a rotation or reflection thereof, with Black to move) with not more than five men. [...] a paper describing the results was essentially complete at the time of his death." I don't know if that paper got published, but I can't find any evidence of it on the web. (Come to think of it, it was only recently that Haworth died, so if, at his death, the paper was still only work in progress, and thus hadn't been submitted for publication, we shouldn't expect its publication just yet.)

  • 1
    "Tempoverlustmanöver" is the established German term. Jun 27, 2021 at 12:51

1 Answer 1


Is this process called triangulation?

  • Triangulation is the term you're looking for. It's the process of 'loosing a tempo'. Obviously it's only possible/useful in some cases.
    – IT M
    Jul 19, 2023 at 6:51

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