Chess Opposition

The opposition technique is a crucial element of the endgame. In fact it is the central, critical element. Every endgame can be simplified down to at most one piece, king and pawns vs one piece, king and pawns.

It is now that the two kings will come center-stage and engage in a struggle for supremacy. Each will try to push the other back in order to force a way into the enemy camp and secure the win. It's basically a vital means to an end. The end being victory.

We should cover the basic principles first and then we will be ready to look at some practical 'in the field' examples.

Basic Principles

Direct Opp.

The main objective is to achieve direct opposition. This is where the two kings are directly facing each other on any rank or file with only one square between them. The one that must move is the one in retreat, on the run.

The other is now in command. He will chase after his rival, pushing him back, eating into his position. There are dire consequences for the king on the backfoot.

A very important principle to grasp is 'the magic box rule'. Play through the basic principles game viewer.

Practical Examples

Practical Examples

After learning the basics in the previous replayer you would probably like to see them used in real games. It's hard to appreciate the value of gaining opposition from an artificial demo with just two kings on the board.

After all without the other pieces, there is no position to break into. With real positions you can see how this technique is used to win.

In the practical examples game viewer you can see five explained endgames where a proper execution of these concepts decides the issue.

Moving On

Moving On

Now you're well primed to prosper in the endgame. During the tutorials you will have become aware of new concepts for chess. The idea of winning space and exploiting the enemy from the high ground is not confined to the endgame. It is a central theme running right through chess.

It begins in the opening, continues in the middlegame and on into the endgame. Here in the endgame it manifests itself in the guise of opposition. A critical component of any endgame position or indeed any chess position is whose turn it is to move.

Throughout the game the tempo, (plural: tempi) is so important. Sometimes depending on the situation you will want to gain a tempo and sometimes you will want to lose one. You will learn more about tempi when we discuss what is known as zugzwang.

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