In-between Move (Zwischenzug)

What is an in-between move (zwischenzug)?

An in-between move is a move which a player makes before making the move that looked more obvious. An in-between move usually comes with a strong threat which forces the opponent to deal with the threat immediately. An in-between move is often useful to save an attacked piece from being lost in a combination of exchanges.

What are the signs that an in between move may be present:

  1. The presence of moves which give check.
  2. The presence of moves which make a strong threat like a checkmate threat.
  3. Underlying tactics which could be executed if only slight changes in the position occur.
  4. Other typical tactical targets like hanging pieces, an exposed king, or pieces on the same file, rank or diagonal.

An example of using the in-between move:

White can play Qxe5 but then black will get the Bc3 after Qxe5, Rxe5, dxc3. So white plays an in-between move first, Bb4

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Which factors made this in-between move possible?

  • The Bc3 was able to avoid the dxc3 threat against it by making a threat against the black queen first.
  • White has no weaknesses in his position which black could attack with his queen in an attempt to keep the dxc3 threat alive.

Turn your knowledge of the in-between move into a permanent skill:

Seeing the possibility of an in-between move can be the factor that turns the tables on your opponents idea, but in order to really make this skill an integral part of your chess abilities requires targeted practice. Solving exercises regularly which trains your mind to also be on the lookout for in-between moves is the key to making this skill a permanent part of your chess armor. The chess tactics training exercises on this website are designed to help you focus on making theses skill a permanent skill — not only by understanding what makes an in-between move possible, but also practicing it to help you recognize the in-between moves instantly during your thinking process.

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