Friday, March 12, 2010


Strangulation happens when the enemy King is lost, and checked whenever he goes. Strangulation is different from zugswang, a German term referring to a position that would be tenable if one could keep all one's pieces where they currently stand, but is lost because one of them must vacate its position. In plain English, "If you move, you die."

Budapest, 1942
Sicilian Defense

1. e4, c5
2. Nf3, Nc6
3. d4, cxd4
4. Nxd4, Nf6
5. Nc3, d6
6. Bg5, a6

Here, 6.....e6 is perfectly acceptable.

7. Qd2, Nd7?

This retreat is incomprehensible as 7. .....e6 still leaves Black with a playable game.

8. Be2, g6
9. Nd5! .....

White has set an amusing trap: if Black plays the plausible 9. .....Bg7? there follows 10. Nxc6 bxc6, 11. Bxe7 and Black's Queen is lost.  Likewise, after 9. .....h6, 10. Bh4 g5 we get 11. Ne6! fxe6, 12. Bh5 mate or 11. ..... Qa5, 12. Qxa5 Nxa5, 13. N5c7 mate.

9. .....f6
10. Ne6, Qa5
11. N5c7+, Kf7
12. Nd8+, Kg7
13. Ne8+, Resigns

Black has no other move but 13. .....Kg8.  White initiates mate by 14. Bc4+.  An extraordinary finish.

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