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A Zwischenzug is also called an “in-between move”. It occurs when a player, instead of playing the expected move, first plays another move, posing an immediate threat that the opponent must answer, and only then plays the expected move. Zwischenzug can be seen in attacking on (more commonly) be used to defend seemingly difficult positions.

In a Chess game, it will usually appear the following way: you will capture a piece. Then your opponent, instead of recapturing, makes another move that is creating a bigger threat. Very commonly, this bigger threat is a check, which is a good reply, because this is something you cannot ignore of course.

Examples of a Zwischenzug

We will start by looking at some basic examples. In the first one, White is making a fork and will apparently win material…

In this example, Black has just escaped a fork with a Zwischenzug. The next example looks a little more like a real game. In this one, we will witness Black escaping a skewer.

The right in-between move is not always so easy to spot. The following position is a pattern that has appeared in many games, and it is easy to fall into it. It combines the concept of Zwischenzug with a nice discovered attack.

But to be honest, the previous moves were not the best moves White could play here. The start position is actually winning for White, so there is a much better possibility to be found here !


The zwischenzug is often an unexpected move, thus it can be overlooked by your opponent and come as a bad surprise to him ! Many Chess games are won this way.

With the Zwischenzug, the pin, the deflection and many other ones, most of the basic tactical patterns have already been covered. A couple of tactical patterns are remaining though, such as Overloading and Removing the Defender, that we will cover in other articles !

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