Now, you may not know what a Zugzwang moment is, but I’m pretty sure that, sad as they are, every one of us has had at least one zugzwang situation in our lives. A moment where we have just had to suck it up and make the best of a bad situation.
For that is what zugzwang, Word of the Day for Tuesday, July 19, 2011, actually means.
Yes. Zugzwang, describes a situation in which a player is limited to moves that have a damaging effect. While more commonly used in the Game of Chess, it is also used in everyday situations too. Here is one example they give: “Party rulers in China are trapped in a position that chess players deeply fear - zugzwang - where any move made puts you at disadvantage. -- Vitaliy Katsenelson, "How China Will Crash And Burn," Forbes, July, 2011.
Now unless you play chess, or speak German (Zugzwang combines two German words, zug, "move," and zwang, "constraint"), like me you may not be familiar with the actual phrase, although, as already said, I’m sure we have all been in a Zugzwang situation at least once, if not more than once before. And highly likely to face more too! So, how do we respond when in such situations?
Do we respond with the action that is least damaging to us personally? Or do we take the option of what is best for all, even if at our own expense? Again I will leave this question with you for your own personal response. But do remember when in your next Zugzwang situation, to choose wisely and not selfishly please? Thank you.