If you want to win more chess games you should spend more time studying chess fundamentals. As Stephan Gerzadowicz said ‘openings teach you openings, endgames teach you chess ‘. In our last week’s discussion, we studied nuances of the opposite color bishop endgames. Today we will talk about probably the single most important technique in king & pawn endgames: the power of the opposition.
If you played chess long enough you probably heard things like ‘white won because they had an opposition’ or ‘opposition led to a draw’. What do these mean?
Simply speaking, an opposition in chess is a position when the kings are facing each other either horizontally or vertically. There should be an odd number of squares in between the kings for opposition to exist. The side who possesses the right of move does not have the opposition in the diagrams below.
The opposition is a technique that can be used to penetrate the opponent’s side of the board by forcing the opponent’s king to move giving up space. This technique is often used to promote your own pawn or to prevent an opponent from promoting his.
On the diagram below white have the opposition and black needs to give up space:
Our next example shows the use of opposition from the practical point of view. Black is a pawn down. But, with a correct use of opposition, the stalemate position can be achieved saving the game.
This example shows the use of opposition for white to promote the pawn and to prevent black from recapturing it or gaining the opposition.
The opposition is a powerful endgame weapon if used correctly. By knowing when and how to use it you can save yourself from losing a game or you can win a game forcing the opponent’s king away from your passed pawn.