Most of you have no clue what the devil a zwischenzug is, but let me assure you that its etymology is oddly appropriate. As any devoted chess player can attest, a zwischenzug is a move where, instead of immediately executing an action, you interpose with another move. Like zugzwang, zwischenzug is brimming with unnecessary z's and, more importantly, comes from German. It is a combination of zwischen, "between", and zug, "move". Zwischen comes from Old German, where it used to be zuisken, which was a conjugated form of zuiski, "twofold". Zuiski came from the Old High German number zwene, or "two", which through Proto-Germanic traces back to the Proto-Indo-European word for "two", dwoh (also the etymon of English two). Zug also took the Germanic route, coming from Proto-Germanic teuhana, "to lead or pull"; quite a drastic change even among other etymologies here. This, like zugzwang, came from the PIE root dewk, "to lead". Therefore, the etymology of zwischenzug can be "two pulls", which is what you play out on the board.
Adam Aleksic is a 220-month-old, 2800-ounce high school senior with disturbing interests in etymology, vexillology, geography, board games, limericks, and law. Adam will be studying linguistics at Harvard College in the fall.
The Etymology Nerd