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  1. Standard member SwissGambit
    Caninus Interruptus
    14 Mar '14 14:44
    This presentation is for beginning players, or players who do not know that much about the endgame.

    The rest of you will probably find nothing here you didn't already know.

    I originally posted it in a private forum, but it struck me that I should put it out here since a lot of people on this site do not seem to know it.


    Ok. Opposition 101.

    OPPOSITION comes in to play in King and pawn endgames. Knowing it can win you many games when you are only up one pawn.

    The goal of the endgame is to promote pawns. The enemy king must be pushed out of the way of the pawn for this to happen.

    Simple example.

    Black to move

    Think of this situation as a football game. The white K has the ball. The goal is control of e8. The black King is the defender.

    Whether I am talking about American or Rest-of-the-World football here, the defender's ideal is the same. Stand directly between the attacker and the goal/end-zone. This way you force him to slow down, and you can also deal with any moves to the left or right.

    So the right move - the only move to save the game - is 1...Ke7!


    If it had been any other move, white would have a forward K move: Kf6, Ke6, or Kd6.

    Let's see what happens when white gets that forward move.

  2. Standard member SwissGambit
    Caninus Interruptus
    14 Mar '14 14:46
    (continued)

    ...now here's what happens when black knows how to defend.



    Now let's see what would have happened if black had blown it on move 6.

  3. Standard member SwissGambit
    Caninus Interruptus
    14 Mar '14 14:47
    The two key positions.

    1 - King in front of pawn; pawn on 4th rank


    White to play draws
    Black to play loses
    Having the move sucks



    2 - King in front of pawn; pawn on 5th rank

    White wins regardless of who has the move.


    Proof:




    Exception:

    A rook-pawn draws. Even in this case:
  4. Standard member SwissGambit
    Caninus Interruptus
    14 Mar '14 14:47 / 1 edit
    The distant opposition game.



    White to play and force his King to either f8 or h8.

    Armed with the knowledge in this post, you will be able to do it every time, and stop everyone who does not know opposition theory from doing it to you.

    First, what is distant opposition?

    It's when we can see that the Kings from far away will end up in a direct opposition situation like those discussed above.

    How do you gain the advantage of distant opposition?

    Method #1 - the simplest: leave an odd number of squares between the Kings, while the Kings are on the same file, rank, or diagonal.







    Method #2 - indirect: move your King such that the Kings form a rectangle with squares of all the same color.




    OK, once we have the opposition, what do we do with it?

    Establish a direct opposition, then OUTFLANK the enemy K to reach your goal.

    Let's see this in action from the first diagram.



    The natural move is 1.Kb2? but it fails against correct play.


    So what about that rectangle thingy?

    Same goal, different start position.


    The easy way to remember all of this is SAME COLOR = GOOD - orthogonally, it always means you have an odd number. Every other case (even the diagonal) is solved by making rectangles with same-color corners. (This is extremely useful for blitz games where you don't have time to recall all that blah blah blah above.)
  5. 14 Mar '14 18:41
    Simple but instructive, thanks for sharing.
  6. 14 Mar '14 18:45 / 1 edit
    All this is good S.G.

    You have a Blog page, it would have reached a much wider audience.

    (you gave me a row a few weeks back about using endings)

    I've noted the thread number, next blog I'll find an RHP game where
    Opposition has been screwed up. See if I can find one turning a win into a loss.
    (I'd better look at my games first.)
  7. Standard member ChessPraxis
    Cowboy From Hell
    14 Mar '14 19:08 / 1 edit
    Thanks for that SG. I recently gave someone a homework assignment on opposition and provided a few links.
    You deserve an A++ Thanks for illustrating one of the fundamental game play principles.
    Next, triangulation for dummies. I know several high grade players that can't explain or define it.
  8. Standard member SwissGambit
    Caninus Interruptus
    14 Mar '14 19:23
    Originally posted by greenpawn34
    All this is good S.G.

    You have a Blog page, it would have reached a much wider audience.

    (you gave me a row a few weeks back about using endings)

    I've noted the thread number, next blog I'll find an RHP game where
    Opposition has been screwed up. See if I can find one turning a win into a loss.
    (I'd better look at my games first.)
    I'm not sure about a 'wider audience'. My last few blogs have gotten hardly any reaction.

    I only gave you grief about using endings because you claim not to like them. I actually like them.

    You should have a trove of examples of people messing up opposition. Hundreds. Thousands.
  9. Subscriber moonbus
    Uber-Nerd
    14 Mar '14 21:32 / 1 edit
    Good examples, SG.

    You asked for some bad ones. I submit the following utterly humiliating one of my own: Game 9834715 (with annotations).

    I knew better; the blunder occurred due to lack of attention and I recognized it as soon as I clicked "submit"--threw away an elementary win with a single wrong K move. If I were say what I really felt, it would violate the "refrain from flaming language" guidelines.
  10. Standard member SwissGambit
    Caninus Interruptus
    14 Mar '14 22:17
    Originally posted by moonbus
    Good examples, SG.

    You asked for some bad ones. I submit the following utterly humiliating one of my own: Game 9834715 (with annotations).

    I knew better; the blunder occurred due to lack of attention and I recognized it as soon as I clicked "submit"--threw away an elementary win with a single wrong K move. If I were say what I really felt, it would violate the "refrain from flaming language" guidelines.
    Ouch. Though that one was more about leaving an entry point for your own K. When there are only two side-by-side squares, even opposition does not help.
  11. 15 Mar '14 01:13
    Hi SG.

    I just checked your last one, you got 900+ hits, that's good.
    I don't think the lads are too keen on problems (too hard)
    but this content would be OK. You need a gimmick...A Duck!

    Funnily enough when I was looking for Opposition Errors I found a
    few games where the pawn was guided home correctly only for the lad
    not to know how to mate with KQ v K and stalemated.

    But it did not take me long to find a good one. Game 9574691


    As with 90% of endings this one should never have been an ending.
    White to play here went for the Knight fork on f7. Instead......

    many move later here: (white to play)


    White found the move that gives him the win.
    The very next move he found the move that threw the win away.
    The game was drawn but Black stumbled on the back rank defense and lost.

  12. Subscriber Paul Leggett
    Chess Librarian
    15 Mar '14 02:22 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by greenpawn34
    [b]Hi SG.

    I just checked your last one, you got 900+ hits, that's good.
    I don't think the lads are too keen on problems (too hard)
    but this content would be OK. You need a gimmick...A Duck!

    Funnily enough when I was looking for Opposition Errors I found a
    few games where the pawn was guided home correctly only for the lad
    not to know how to ma ...[text shortened]... 8 here.}87. Kh6 Kg8 88. g7 Kf7 89. Kh7 Ke6 90. g8=Q+ {White mated a few moves later.} [/pgn]
    [/b]
    This (and by "this" I mean the knight fork instead of the mate) was painful to read.
  13. Subscriber moonbus
    Uber-Nerd
    15 Mar '14 07:32
    Ouch indeed. Had I not blocked my own entry, I would have reached one of your diagramed positions.

    Good thread. You need a duck like a fish needs a bicycle.

    If I may suggest a topic for some future thread: The Lucena Position. (I actually reached it once here at RHP: Game 9928332). It is one of the elementary endgames every 1400+ player should commit to memory. You could go to town with it.
  14. 15 Mar '14 09:09
    Thank you very much for you post, I learnt a lot.

    Willy.....
  15. 16 Mar '14 00:31
    Originally posted by moonbus
    Ouch indeed. Had I not blocked my own entry, I would have reached one of your diagramed positions.

    Good thread. You need a duck like a fish needs a bicycle.

    If I may suggest a topic for some future thread: The Lucena Position. (I actually reached it once here at RHP: Game 9928332). It is one of the elementary endgames every 1400+ player should commit to memory. You could go to town with it.
    Indeed. There was a time I knew the Lucena position, but by now, I've forgotten all about it besides that there are rooks involved. Time and time again I'm hearing or reading the words, and I'm thinking I'll refresh my memory, but I don't. I'm not doing it now. I'm waiting for the post.