# Question on distant opposition

• 15 months ago · Quote · #1

Hi all

I am busy working through Silman's end game book and have just started learning the basics of "distant opposition".  I have a question around this, just to try and clarify this concept for myself and to make sure I fully understand what is going on.

In the following position white loses the distant opposition because of a wrong move.

Here is the winning continuation for white because he is able to obtain distant opposition.

So now in this position I placed the pawn on b3, instead of c3, which enables me to hold distant opposition from move 1.

Are all of these statements that I made correct?  Do I understand these concepts correctly?  More examples would also be appreciated before I move on.

Thank you all

• 15 months ago · Quote · #2

My take on this might be bit unorthodox but I've long thought the whole opposition concept isn't really necessary. Sometimes I feel it serves more to confuse than clarify matters.

I think it should be possible to solve these positions with just the knowledge of key squares. The pawn in c3 has three key squares (b5-d5). Basically white wins if his king reaches one of these. Otherwise black holds.

You are right that white wins like in diagram 2. You are also correct that 1. Kd2?? in diagram 1 is a mistake that looses the win. However your analysis contains a hole.

• 15 months ago · Quote · #3

This is why I love Chess.com so much!   How could I have missed Kd4?!  Thank you Shakaali!   Interesting views you have as well.

Oh, and the answer to the defense question must be for black to play 2. ..Kd7?

• 15 months ago · Quote · #4

Diagram 3, instead of 10...Kc7, wouldn't black play 10...Ka8 to keep the opposition? Looks like a draw at that point.

I think 9 Kb6 was a mistake, and White should have instead played 9 Kc6.

• 15 months ago · Quote · #5
DavidMertz1 wrote:

Diagram 3, instead of 10...Kc7, wouldn't black play 10...Ka8 to keep the opposition? Looks like a draw at that point.

I think 9 Kb6 was a mistake, and White should have instead played 9 Kc6.

Hi DavidMertz1

10 ..Ka8 is also losing I'm afraid.  I watched one of Daniel Rensch's video's on these types of positions.  I memory serves me correctly, he called the position "the squeeze" as the king is squeezed out of the corner by the pawn.  As for 9. Kb6, I played it because those are the rules I learnt and they just work.

• 15 months ago · Quote · #6

You're right.  Excuse me while I go buy an endgame book or something.

• 15 months ago · Quote · #7
DavidMertz1 wrote:

You're right.  Excuse me while I go buy an endgame book or something.

Well I'm only on Chapter Three of my end game book, and my brain is already fried (liver? )...

I find it scary how easy it is to make a tiny mistake in these "simple" positions and lose a whole game because of it.

• 15 months ago · Quote · #8
theunsjb wrote:

Oh, and the answer to the defense question must be for black to play 2. ..Kd7?

Correct.

Basically, in order to guard all the key squares, black must always be ready to meet Kc4 by white with Kc6, Kd4 with Kd6 and Kb4 with Kb6. Since 2. Kd3 threatens both 3. Kd4 and 3. Kc4 black must move to square that allows him to choose between Kd6/c6 next turn. That is to d7 or c7 but c7 is not reachable so that only 2... Kd7! is correct.

• 15 months ago · Quote · #9

The drawing line after Ke8 is also quite interesting.

• 15 months ago · Quote · #10

Yes, the idea of key squares is a good way to further understand these positions.  The point of opposition is only ever to break through to these key squares (or stop an opponent from doing so).  If a breakthrough is meaningless, then opposition is meaningless.

Another concept is what one author calls "mined" squares.  In the diagram on post 9 above me, you can imagine b4 linked with b6, c4 with c6, and d4 with d6.  When white steps on one, black must immediately step on the corresponding one.  Neither king wants to step on a mined square first.

Therefore the last move 3...Kc7 is pretty obvious, because black needed to find a square that touches both b6 and c6 (because white's king can go to b4 or c4).

Positions with triangulation (or with more pawns) you'll find similar situations but engineer them so that you can maneuver to where you are touching two mined squares, but their king cannot, therefore you win :)

• 15 months ago · Quote · #11

In the 2nd diagram after 3.Kb4 White does not have "distant opposition." The Kings have to be at least 3 squares apart to be in "distant opposition." When the Kings are one square apart they are in "near" opposition although the Wikipedia article calls that "direct opposition" which is just another way of saying the Kings are only one square apart.

• 15 months ago · Quote · #12

Thank you everyone! I have learned a lot from all of this.   And I hope it was useful to other forum-followers as well.  Please keep an eye out for future questions from me...