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The Opposition

RussBell

"The Opposition", or simply Opposition, is one of, if not the most important of endgame techniques to understand. It basically involves the Kings of each side maneuvering against each other in order to achieve some advantage, either offensive or defensive (or trying to prevent the opponent's King from doing the same).

Edit - I have deleted the remainder of this post and replaced it with a blog article which can be found here....

Opposition - The Most Important Endgame Technique...

https://www.chess.com/blog/RussBell/opposition

https://www.chess.com/blog/RussBell

sholom90

Great post!  I agree with your first sentence wholeheartedly!  Once you learn how to do the very simple back-rank mate, and mating with two rooks . . . the next most important thing is understanding the concept of opposition.

May I also suggest Chapter 3 of Silman's Complete Endgame Course.  (https://www.amazon.com/Silmans-Complete-Endgame-Course-Beginner/dp/1890085103/)

I've also set up two positions from that book in a library collection (https://www.chess.com/c/29BGHTLra) where you can practice opposition against a 3200-bot.  If you understand opposition you can win these (or draw for black) -- look for the two "games" at the bottom that Chapter 3 and has the word "opposition" in them, and after you open them click on "play against the computer"

RussBell

Thank you @sholom90

Yes.  Jeremy Silman's Complete Endgame Course is a also a good resource on the topic.  He had also written an earlier endgame book (out of print now) which does an outstanding job covering The Opposition.  I highly recommend it.  It can be downloaded in pdf format here......

Essential Chess Endings Explained Move By Move Vol. 1 Novice Thru Intermediate.....

https://www.scribd.com/document/450464367/Silman-Essential-Chess-Endings-Explained-Move-By-Move-Vol-1-1992-226s-OCR-Chessbook

https://www.chess.com/blog/RussBell/scribd-com-for-online-chess-book-reading

psychohist

And yet, Alireza Firouzja is 2700 while never learning this concept, at least as of his game with Carlsen last year.  One wonders how he managed to get so far without it.

Sep-Gol
psychohist wrote:

And yet, Alireza Firouzja is 2700 while never learning this concept, at least as of his game with Carlsen last year.  One wonders how he managed to get so far without it.

He had no time

Would you find the move with 12 seconds in front of 5000 fans, and with the presence of Magnus Carlsen? 

RussBell
psychohist wrote:

And yet, Alireza Firouzja is 2700 while never learning this concept, at least as of his game with Carlsen last year.  One wonders how he managed to get so far without it.

One cannot reach 2700 FIDE without an expert understanding of Opposition.  At that level the concept is child's play.  If Firouzja lost the game against Carlsen by failing to take the Opposition when he should have, that was a blunder on his part given his rating, but not due to ignorance of the concept of Opposition.

MarkGrubb

Great post. Can I add that when both kings are on the same colour squares, there is an odd number between them. So whether distant, direct or indirect, you take the opposition when you move your king to the same colour square as your opponent's king. Seems easier than counting (or maybe it's just me) 😁.

sh12linfenghan

I can't play the endgame of chess.

sholom90
sh12linfenghan wrote:

I can't play the endgame of chess.

Check out reviews of Silman's Complete Endgame Course.  It's got sections for every level of player.  I highly recommend it.

RussBell

I have just created a blog article on The Opposition which can be found here....

Opposition - The Most Important Endgame Technique...

https://www.chess.com/blog/RussBell/opposition

https://www.chess.com/blog/RussBell

korotky_trinity
RussBell wrote:

"The Opposition", or simply Opposition, is one of, if not the most important of endgame techniques to understand. It basically involves the Kings of each side maneuvering against each other in order to achieve some advantage, either offensive or defensive (or trying to prevent the opponent's King from doing the same).

Edit - I have deleted the remainder of this post and replaced it with a blog article which can be found here....

Opposition - The Most Important Endgame Technique...

https://www.chess.com/blog/RussBell/opposition

https://www.chess.com/blog/RussBell

Oh, thank you, Russ.

One IM said that many players over here don't know oposition rule very well... and sometimes they make elementary mistakes.

RussBell

@korotky_trinity -

Yes.  Few untitled players understand Opposition well.  This is not to say that they can't, but that they don't - simply because of neglect to study it.  Upon initial, superficial exposure to the topic it can appear confusing, complex.  But with perseverance the process can be readily learned.

This is the primary reason I created the article on the topic - i.e., to help improving amateurs understand this important endgame technique, so that they can win more games!  The process is actually relatively easy to do once one truly understands it.  In fact once one learns it, the process of executing it becomes almost second nature.  (Writing about and explaining it is much trickier than doing it!) 

The point of my article was to define exactly what it means, that is, what constitutes a state of Opposition (or not) between two kings.  Once one grasps that it will then be easier to understand the mechanics of the Opposition process,  i.e., how to employ it for the various endgame scenarios it is typically used in.  Also, I believe that the technique is better, more thoroughly learned from the books I have recommended in the article, than from internet videos (many of which either poorly explain it, or are severely limited in their coverage of it, or both!).

I learned the process and technique from Jeremy Silman's first endgame book, "Essential Chess Endings Explained Move By Move Volume One Novice Thru Intermediate" which is now out of print but which can be downloaded as a pdf file from the Scribd link that I provided at the end of my article.  The book provides clear, easily understood explanations and examples for learning everything one needs to know about Opposition (although the other books I cite do a good job of explaining it as well).