The obscure word of the week is zugwang

look_it_up_T httpwww.clipartpal.comclipart_pdeducationdictionary_10586.htmlThis week’s weird word is zugwang. It’s one of about a million in English, and one that the language has obtained by knocking down another language and riffling its pockets for loose change.

It refers to a situation in chess where a move that must be made puts the player at a disadvantage. It’s thought to be of early twentieth century origin, from German.

Your challenge? Write a sentence (or two) in the comments using this word.

Copyright © Matthew Wright 2016

4 thoughts on “The obscure word of the week is zugwang

  1. It takes approximately 4 seconds of playing chess with my 9-year-old to force me into a zugwang. Or is it a verb? Does one zugwang while playing chess with a 9-year-old? Either way, it’s embarrassing. Great word!

  2. I love the word zugwang. I’ve actually come across it before in a novel called ‘The Eight’ (1990) by Katherine Neville. I loved it and have read it several times, and that word has always stuck with me. Chess is a big part of the story.

    It’s been a few years though – maybe it’s time to get it on Kindle? She wrote a follow-up book that was obviously meant to take advantage of the popularity of the first one called ‘A Calculated Risk’ which wasn’t as good. I don’t even remember what it was about.

    She’s written two more, but I never bought them because I was so disappointed with the second. However, if they weren’t forced out of her by the publisher like the second obviously was, they might be worth getting.

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