- Armin Hamrah ’23 & Aidan Bhatnagar ’23
Inspired by “The Age of Plastic” by Craig Santos Perez
The pawn encroaches the zugzwang threshold
against my opponent’s queen.
Zugzwang foreshadows inevitable doom.
Light and dark squares are calling, but they are all dark
because of activity, obstruction, and X-rays.
Zugzwang permits segregated superiority. My knight
remains irrelevant through the zugzwang combination.
Zugzwang disrupts unspoken interactions.
My pawn’s second step forces white symmetry
persisting the zugzwang sequence. Zugzwang is the perfect
tactic because it inevitably wins. My rook
holds the zugzwang over their knight. The Deep Blue,
Komodo, Stockfish, and humans zugzwang
to triumph. The zugzwang future precipitates;
bishops zig-zag in a zugzwang pattern.
Zugzwang locks knights, rooks and pawns in place—
yet how lonely zugzwang must feel
to be isolated, exploited, and endangered
by us: impatient patzers. On the ranks and files,
each piece lowers zugzwang’s probability of
occurrence—how mighty zugzwang must feel
when it finally arrives to the paradise
of the board. Will blitz drive zugzwang
to extinction? Their queen is coerced
into zugzwang’s guillotine, and I hope
she respects zugzwang’s magnificence
enough to search for it
in her own army’s battles.
“The word ‘Zugzwang’ comes from German, and means ‘being forced to make a move’. A player is in Zugzwang when it’s their turn and every possible move makes their position worse.”
Thibault Duplessis, Lichess.org (2010)