SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
”The zwischenzug (German for “intermediate move”) is a chess tactic in which a player, instead of playing the expected move (commonly a recapture of a piece that the opponent has just captured) first interpolates another move, posing an immediate threat that the opponent must answer, then plays the expected move . Ideally, the zwischenzug changes the situation to the player’s advantage, such as by gaining material or avoiding what would otherwise be a strong continuation for the opponent.” Wiki
”Didn’t see this coming, did you!”
An excellent example of a missed opportunity for zwischenzug occurred in the game Vladimir Akopian vs Laurent Fressinet in the last round of the Khanty Mansiysk Olympiad, in the powerful Armenia — France matchup. Had Akopian played the zwischenzug, Armenia would have still had some chances of a medal.
POSITION AFTER BLACK’S 25th MOVE (25…Bxa4)
Black had just captured a piece on a4. Akopian, normally one of the best tacticians in the world, simply recaptured the Bishop and after 26…Rxc5 the dangerous passed c-pawn was swallowed up and Black took the advantage (Fressinet won a dozen moves later).
INSTEAD, WHITE COULD HAVE KEPT THE ADVANTAGE WITH A ZWISCHENZUG:
With the advance of the White pawn the Black Queen finds herself under attack. After the virtually forced exchange of Queens 26…QxQ 27.NxQ Black finds himself in a very difficult situation, and will likely soon lose material because of the far advanced White pawn. After the plausible 27…Ba3 White has 28.c7! and Black must start praying for salvation from above.
As it was, Black won the game and Armenia finished in 7th place. France finished in 10th place.
Vladimir Akopian (born 1971)
Akopian is one of Armenia’s strongest grandmasters and is a leading opening theoretician. He has a long and distinguished playing career, winning many international tournaments and titles. The closest Akopian ever got (so far!) to winning the world championship was reaching the finals against Khalifman in 1999, Las Vegas, but losing 3.5 to 2.5
SPRAGGETT ON CHESS