The Art of Chess: Secrets Behind Zwischenzug and Windmill

Unlock the secrets of advanced chess tactics in this thrilling exploration. From the enigmatic Zwischenzug to the strategic prowess of the Hedgehog System and the game-changing Windmill maneuver, we’re about to embark on a journey that will elevate your chess game to new heights.

In this article, we’ll reveal the mysteries behind these masterful tactics and the tools that grandmasters use to outwit their opponents. Join us as we unravel these tactical treasures, sharpening your skills and preparing you to seize victory on the chessboard!


Zwischenzug is a German term in chess that translates to “in-between move” or “intermediate move.” It refers to a surprising move made in the middle of a sequence of expected moves. 

Instead of playing the most straightforward move, a player inserts a tactical shot or a strategic maneuver that disrupts the opponent’s plans. Zwischenzug often involves a temporary sacrifice or an unexpected piece exchange, forcing the opponent to reconsider their intended response.

The purpose of a Zwischenzug is to seize the initiative, create complications, or introduce a new factor that the opponent must address. The player aims to exploit any tactical or positional opportunities by deviating from the anticipated course of action. Zwischenzug is a powerful tool for turning the tide of a game and catching the opponent off guard.

Black using the Hedgehog System in Chess

The Hedgehog System in Chess

The Hedgehog System is a strategic chess setup involving the Pawn structure resembling the spines of a hedgehog. It typically arises in closed positions where both players have locked their Pawn structures, resulting in Pawn chains. The Hedgehog formation is characterized by pawns on the third rank. Players plcae pawns on a6, b6, d6, and e6 for Black, and pawns on a3, b3, d3, and e3 for White.

In the Hedgehog System, Black aims to create a solid defensive position while preparing counterattacks on the flanks. The central Pawns form a robust hedgehog structure, minimizing the opponent’s piece penetration and restricting their Pawn breaks. Black often maneuvers the Knight to d7, Bishop to e7, and Rooks to c8 and d8. This maintains flexibility and prepares to strike back when the opportunity arises.

The Hedgehog System allows for strategic maneuvering. Players wait for the right moment to launch a coordinated attack on the opponent’s weakened squares. It requires patience, careful piece coordination, and astute timing to unleash the full potential of the hedgehog’s spiky defense.

The Windmill

The Windmill is a tactical motif in chess that involves a repeated series of checks by a sliding piece, typically a Rook or a Queen. It often occurs in positions where an opponent’s pieces are poorly coordinated or overloaded, simultaneously defending multiple squares or pieces.

In a Windmill, the attacking side uses a discovered check to force the opponent’s King to move repeatedly while capturing or attacking undefended pieces with the sliding piece. The repeated checks create a devastating sequence where the opponent’s pieces are overwhelmed and unable to defend effectively.

Often, a Windmill involves a Rook or Queen capturing an opponent’s piece, uncovering a check, and then moving back to the original position to repeat the process. The attacked side must interpose or move the King. This allows the attacking side to regain the captured piece or continue the assault on other vulnerable targets.

A closed game in chess

The Closed Game in Chess

The Closed Game is a type of chess opening characterized by a slow and strategic development of pieces and a closed center. In this opening, both players focus on consolidating their positions. Each side reinforces Pawn structures and prepares for a potential breakthrough later in the game. The Closed Game often involves moves like 1.d4 d5. In these openings, both sides aim to control the central squares without immediately engaging in direct tactical confrontations.

Typically, the Closed Game leads to a Pawn structure with Pawns occupying the center and creating a solid foundation for the pieces. Players often develop their Knights, Bishops, and Rooks behind the Pawn chains, carefully selecting the best squares for their pieces. The Closed Game encourages a strategic approach. It allows players to build up their positions before launching attacks or implementing tactical plans.

Players focus on long-term plans, piece coordination, and Pawn breaks to create weaknesses in the opponent’s position. It requires a deep understanding of Pawn structures, piece maneuvering, and positional concepts to navigate the complexities of the position’s closed nature.

Greek Gift Sacrifice for White

The Greek Gift Sacrifice

The Greek Gift Sacrifice is a tactical chess pattern involving sacrificing a Bishop on h7 (or h2 for Black) to expose the opponent’s King and launch a devastating attack. This sacrifice often occurs when the opponent has weakened their Kingside Pawn structure by advancing h7 (or h2) and g7 (or g2) Pawns.

The Greek Gift Sacrifice typically starts with a Bishop sacrifice on h7, aiming to lure the opponent’s King to capture it. After the capture, the sacrificing player continues the attack by bringing more pieces into the action. This strategy exploits the weakened King’s position. Queen, Rooks, and Knights commonly deliver checkmate or force significant material gains.

The Greek Gift Sacrifice is a highly thematic and visually striking tactic. It showcases the power of sacrificing material for a devastating attacking position. Executing successfully requires accurate calculation, careful evaluation of Pawn structures, and precise piece coordination.

Creating a luft in chess


In chess, “Luft” is a term used to describe creating an escape square for the King.  Typically, this is achieved by moving a Pawn in front of the King’s position. The term is derived from the German word for “air” or “breathing space.” Creating Luft is crucial to ensure the King’s safety and prevent potential back-rank checkmate threats.

By creating luft, the player provides an escape route for the King in case of an attack or when needing to avoid checks. This is often accomplished by moving a Pawn, usually the h-pawn or a-pawn, one square forward to open a square for the king to move to.

The concept of luft is particularly important in the endgame when the number of pieces on the board is reduced. In these late stages of the match, the King becomes a more active participant. Neglecting to create luft can lead to vulnerable King positions and allow the opponent to launch decisive attacks against the King.

Overprotection of the Bishop


Overprotection is a strategic concept introduced by Aron Nimzowitsch. It involves placing additional defensive support on a particular square, piece, or area of the board. The goal is to ensure its protection and strengthen the position overall.

Overprotection aims to create a solid foundation and make it difficult for the opponent to disrupt or exploit weaknesses in the position. A player can establish control and limit the opponent’s options by overprotecting a critical square or piece.

Overprotection often involves reinforcing a defended piece or square by introducing additional defenders. This could be achieved by repositioning existing pieces, bringing in new pieces to defend, or coordinating the defense of multiple pieces toward a specific area.

The concept of overprotection is closely related to Prophylaxis, which is the act of preventing the opponent’s plans and minimizing their counterplay. By overprotecting key elements of the position, a player can maintain stability. Additionally, this will restrict the opponent’s possibilities and build a solid foundation for future strategic and tactical operations.

Unleash Your Inner Chess Master

We’ve uncovered a treasure trove of advanced tactics in this chess adventure. From the formidable Greek Gift Sacrifice to the versatile Hedgehog Opening, your chess repertoire has expanded significantly. Embrace these tactics, practice, and watch your chess prowess soar. Whether plotting a dazzling Windmill or executing a precise Zwischenzug, these tactics are your keys to victory in chess. Now, go forth, play, and may your chessboard always be your battlefield of triumph!

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