# Chess Endgame Study: Power of Opposition

Hello everybody, itís jrobi. Today weíre
going to be looking at opposition in detail and opposition is a very important technique
to learn and to master and hopefully for those of you who arenít too familiar with the concept
will find this video useful. And for those of you who are, hopefully it will be a good
refresher. But basically what is opposition [shouldering]? Well the power of opposition
is basically the ability to make inroads into the enemy position. And thereís a couple
of rules that helps make this technique easier to remember. The first of which-, well actually
weíre going to look at a number of different forms of opposition. Weíre going to look
at direct opposition, weíll look at diagonal opposition and then weíll also look at opposition
without a direct connection of the king. So, in other words, letís say the black king
is over here and the white king is over here. Thereís no direct connection if theyíre
not on a diagonal. Thereís still a rule that you can use thatíll help you maintain the
opposition. So the first one weíre going to look at is direct opposition, in other
words, the kings are directly facing each other on a file. Now the rules for opposition
are as follows: whoever is to move with an odd number of squares, in between the kings,
does not have opposition. Conversely, whoever is to move with an even number of squares
in between the kings does have opposition. So letís take a look at the first one. Weíre
going to play from whiteís perspective in this example. Now if itís black to move,
which it is in this example, black does not have opposition, therefore, white will be
able to make inroads into the black position. So if itís black to move, black has five
options to move to as you can see here. And none of these allow black to stop the white
king from making inroads into its position. Weíre going to look at the very basic king
to F5. Now as you can see, the black king has moved backwards towards its side of the
board which allows white to encroach farther into the black position. And if black chooses
to move to a diagonal square, white can simply get the opposition back by putting an odd
number of squares in between the kings with black to move. So as you can see here, black
really canít stop white from making its way up into the black side of the board. And that
is direct opposition with an odd number of squares. Now Iíve totally-, Iíve taken off
all the pieces on the board just to highlight the rule. Weíre going to look at some examples
with a pawn later on, but that is direct opposition. So to summarize that one weíll just flip
back here. Whoever is to move with an odd number of squares, in between the kings, does
not have the power of opposition. So what about diagonal opposition? Well diagonal opposition
follows the same rules, so another words, if thereís an odd number of squares, whoever
is to move does not have the power of opposition. Consequently, whoever is to move that has
an even number of squares between the kings, does have the opposition. So in this example
here letís count the squares in between the kings. We have four squares in between the
kings. If itís white to move, white will have the opposition. So letís take a look
and see if that holds to be true. So white will move to C3 and the kings will continue
to move to each other and now you can see that after white moves to D4 its black to
move but thereís only one square in between the kings and the rule states that if thereís
an odd number of squares between the kings whoever is to move does not have the power
of opposition. So in this position, black has to seed ground into its position to white
and white can continue to maintain that power of opposition and make inroads into black’s
camp. So now letís shuffle the pieces around and put an odd number of squares in between
the kings on the diagonal. So now thereís five squares in between the kings and the
rule states that whoever is to move with an odd number of squares and in between the kings
does not have opposition. So if itís white to move in this position, white will move
along the diagonal and black will continue to do so. And now youíll see that thereís
only one square in between the kings and itís white to move so that means that white no
longer has the opposition and black can successfully keep white from encroaching on its position.
So letís take a look now at the last form of opposition which is opposition without
any direct connection. So in other words, the kings aren’t connected on a diagonal or
a file. There is a rule that you can use to get the opposition and itís called the Magic
Box Rule from Jeremy Sillman. But basically the rule states that to gain the opposition
in this [type of] position, if it was white to move, if white can create a square or a
rectangle that has the kings on-, each of the kings on a corner of that square rectangle
that has the same color of chess squares, you will have the opposition now. I know it
sounds a little bit convoluted and complicated but itís really quite simple. So, for example,
in this position if white moves to D2, youíll notice that white has now created a rectangle
that the kings are a part of. So, for example, hereís the rectangle here and it goes all
the way up and all the way down and connects the kings. More importantly, however though,
youíll notice that the corner squares of this rectangle are the same color, like in
terms of the chess squares so theyíre all brown, so white has opposition in this position
and we can prove this by simply moving the kings to the side of the board. And as you
can see here, white gets into a position where itís black to move and thereís only one
square in between the kings. And as we know, the rule is is if thereís an odd number of
squares between the kings whose every turn it is to move does not have the opposition.
Now I know this last example is a little bit-, it seems a little bit trickier than the other
two, like especially direct and diagonal opposition, to learn — but if you play through it a couple
of times youíll actually find out that itís quite simple. Thereís nothing really complicated
about it. Itís not rocket science or anything. So once you do get comfortable with it, even
if it takes you several times to go over, itís definitely worth it. So just to summarize
that one more time, to gain opposition when the kings are not directly connected you want
to create a square or a box — sorry, a square or a rectangle that has the four corner points
of the same color. And I donít know if you caught it, but in this example it came into
being on a number of occasions. So, for example, white gains the opposition here and then again
creates a rectangle that has the four corner points of the same color and again does the
same thing and then as the kings come closer together youíll notice that white continues
to maintain the opposition by having those four corner points, the same color. And in
this position here, itís a square instead of a rectangle. Once again the corner points
are the same color and white has the opposition. So thatís opposition. The three forms. So
weíve covered direct opposition, diagonal opposition and opposition without a direct
connection. Now letís take a look at how this can play through when we have pieces
on the board. Now when there are other pieces on the board I just want to state right away
that the rules of opposition do not change. However, the utilization of those rules and
the practical reality of the rules there are some subtle things that you need to know.
First letís take a look at when weíre trying to promote a pawn. Now if itís black to move
in this position the rule states that whoever is to move with an odd number of squares in
between the kings does not have opposition. So black does not have opposition in this
position. Unfortunately for white however though, this is a complete draw. If black
plays this solidly thereís no way that white will be able to promote this pawn and Iím
going to show you why. So letís say black moves to D5, now this is the best move for
black in this position because although black doesnít have opposition, white canít push
the pawn because whiteís going to lose the pawn, so white has to move to either E3 or
over to C3. And you can see here from this move that black can gain the opposition. And
if black can gain the opposition, itís over for white. White will not be able to promote
its pawn. Iím not going to spend a lot of time on this because of the YouTube limits
but letís just play through why this is the case. So the only move for white that actually
changes the position-, white could move back to D2 but it doesnít change the position.
So the only move that white has really is to push the pawn at this point. And black
can continue to basically maintain the opposition, going down towards its back rank and eventually
white is going to be faced with a move that either stalemates black or loses its pawn.
So itís definitely important to have your king in front of your pawn if you want to
promote it. And the reason is is that you can use your pawn to expend moves to either
lose or gain opposition at critical junctures when you need it. So, for example, letís
take a look at this position. Black will move to D6. It doesnít really matter if black
moved to C5 or E5 because white would still be able to make inroads into its position.
So from here white can seize the opposition again forcing black off to the side and gaining
more territory into the black position. And from here white can expend pawn moves to gain
and lose opposition when it needs to at critical junctures to further make inroads into the
position and secure that Queening square. Now this is kind of a video all in of itself
and I think I will make one soon about promotion of pawns, but for the opposition video that
Iím covering today I just want to point out that you want to make sure that you have your
king in front of your pawn if you are trying to promote a pawn. Now there are some very
subtle differences between trying to promote pawns. Itís really a video in and of itself
which Iíll probably make in the future. For example, itís a big difference when youíre
trying to promote a pawn from files B through G as opposed to the Rook files, but today
I just wanted to emphasize that when it comes to opposition, it really is important to have
your king in front of your pawn. But the focus of this video is really about the three types
of opposition, direct opposition, diagonal opposition and opposition without a direct
connection. So I hope you found the rules useful and the explanations useful and take
care and weíll see you next video.

## 100 thoughts on “Chess Endgame Study: Power of Opposition”

1. jrobichess says:

Thanks for checking out the video moonlitekid and I appreciate the comment!

2. jrobichess says:

Thanks PhillipCreeper and I completely agree about the importance of it in endgames!

3. jrobichess says:

I would try to contact FICS from their main page and see if they can create one for you – if not you could use Yahoo chess (which is better than MSN chess) or play on playchessDOTcom or the Internet Chess Club (both of those are pay to play though). Thanks for checking out the vid!

4. Phil Cross says:

Hey jrob would you consider a lesson on king vs king, knight and bishop with lone king in middle. It would be a great lesson even though I have only seen an ending like this once in my lifetime.
Also maybe show one with king vs king and 2 knights. I know you can't force one but it would be a good exercise with the pieces. Also maybe your opponent may blunder into the corner. I tell players to always avoid the corners if they are the lone king and if forced there they will get a stalemate.

5. jrobichess says:

Some interesting ideas Phillip!

6. jrobichess says:

Thanks for checking out the vid and commenting reikorarasu!

7. TopShonuff says:

Great video, you make people want to get back in chess or play better.. Keep making them..

8. sslteam07 says:

Thanks for the tips jrobichess!

9. jrobichess says:

Thanks topshonuff!

10. jrobichess says:

Thanks for checking out the vid sslteam07!

11. rhythmblues1860 says:

good job R, i used to play a lot back in homeland Cuba, im trying to get back to the game, thx for posting & keep it up

12. jrobichess says:

Thanks rhythmblues1860!

13. mark stevenson says:

This is something I've been dodging for years. I've been trying very hard to convince myself its not an important concept, but now I realize why so many of my endgames fall apart.

14. jbond350 says:

J, Not sure if this was covered but white can game the opposition in the example given where the white king is behind the pawn. The moves are as follows if black to move. (Black) Kd5, Kd1, Kd4,Kc2. Now no matter what black tris to do white will be able to promote. Run some trials on it. It works 😛

15. ZenithIonyX says:

haha,thanks for the tactic, like the guy under me i alwaqy tought it was a tie

16. jrobichess says:

Thanks for checking it out and the subscription!

17. jrobichess says:

Of course it's a tie. =) Just easier to learn the technique with a clear board.

18. jrobichess says:

Easier to learn the concept with a clear board. =)

19. imaytag says:

jbond350:

After Kd1 black would just go to c5 or e5 instead of back to d4 right away. then black can go back to d4 after white moves to the 2nd rank again.

20. srn347 says:

When the white king was on f7 and the black king was on d8, the black king could have stolen the opposition. And by the way wormspwn, there is a game involving 2 kings in the zillions of game program that is by no means at all a tie.(one king tries to get to one of 2 certain squares while the other tries to avoid it, knowing opposition is key).

21. srn347 says:

Also, when the opposition is indirect(3rd example), no one can gain opposition if both sides play carefully(i.e. optimal strategy/perfect play).

22. jrobichess says:

Not sure I am following you – could you give an example line? Thanks for checking out the vid!

23. jrobichess says:

The examples only have kings on the board to show the concept of opposition. In a real game, if there were only 2 kings left and no other pieces, it would be a draw. Sometimes it's easier to show something with just the pieces in question to go over the concept.

24. srn347 says:

By the way, in the last example with the pawn I don't think the black king made it's best moves. Why did it move back when it could have raced the other king to the pawn?

25. John Joe says:

can you win if there is two kings and they're the only pieces? Is there someway to get a king-king into mate?

26. jrobichess says:

No – if it's just two kings left it's a draw.

27. srn347 says:

And ironically enough adding 2 knight to one side don't change anything, adding one pawn to one side give them checkmate(depending on position) and giving 2 knights to one side and a pawn to the other gives the knights a checkmate(usually). Also, it took zillions 10,377 moves with the 2 knights endgame to realize it's a tie(ignoring the 50 move rule). Anyway, whenever to king are on adjacent ranks or files, the one to move can easily gain opposition.

28. srn347 says:

A little off topic, but what chess software are you using?

29. Nikronius says:

Im also wondering.

30. jrobichess says:

I use a variety of things actually in my training. Some notable ones are Fritz and Rybka and of course the crafty engine from the babaschess client on the free internet chess server.

31. jrobichess says:

Thanks for checking out the vid 1kingconan!

32. jrobichess says:

It's definitely one of the most important concepts, that's for sure. Thanks for checking out the vid!

33. Andrea Coda says:

Excellent video – never seen opposition so well explained!
Hope you will keep up the great work!
Andrea

34. jrobichess says:

Thanks AndreaAKAPB – I appreciate the comment!

35. jrobichess says:

Agreed – thanks for the comment and checking out the vid MrZeta007!

36. bhavir says:

hey, jrobi i was wondering if you could teach me to become a better play at chess. also i want to know how i can found out my chess rating.

37. eisaatappaa says:

I agree with AndreaAKAPB!

38. jrobichess says:

The kings don't have to connect on a diagonal – that's diagonal opposition. The rectangle technique is on its own. Thanks for checking out the vid!

39. jrobichess says:

The requirement is that the kings are on the same colors, not that all 4 corner points have the same colors.

40. jrobichess says:

That would be diagonal opposition. So the rule would be whomever is to move with an odd number of squares connecting the kings does not have opposition. Whoever is to move with an even number of squares would have the power of opposition.

41. jrobichess says:

At that point is how it would look for white to promote the pawn by utilizing direct opposition. Thanks for checking out the vid!

42. jrobichess says:

That's not correct – for instance, a square can be created with the black king on G7 at 4:46 but it's not diagonal opposition. Diagonal opposition requires the kings to be on the same color. Thanks for checking out the vid!

43. jrobichess says:

Unfortunately that doesn't work as black can just move back to the starting position and gain opposition back.

44. Christianpaulmusic says:

hey whats your name on yahoo? and what lounge do you play in? 🙂

45. jrobichess says:

It is a good idea but unfortunately black still draws. The white king will be able to move the pawn up the board, but it will reach a position that it can't eject the black king away from the neccessary square to promote.

46. jrobichess says:

It's important because it allows you to infiltrate your opponents position, or stop your opponent from doing the same. Usually this is key in endgames although it can crop up earlier depending on what the position demands. Thanks for checking out the vid!

47. jrobichess says:

I don't play on Yahoo. Currently FICS server. I have a video on it if you're interested. Thanks for checking out the vid!

48. jrobichess says:

No, if only 2 kings remain it would be a stalemate, but you can do things like force the enemy king away from protecting a piece or a promotion square, etc.

49. Divine says:

thanks for vid 😀

50. jrobichess says:

Thanks!

51. jrobichess says:

Thanks for checking it out!

52. jrobichess says:

It's definitely on my list of vids to make. For the short term if you visit my site I have an endgame practice page with a computer opponent that you play right off the web site. There's a ton of staple endgame positions I have setup to practice. Hopefully that will be handy for the short-term. Thanks for checking out the vid!

53. vincent vega says:

for opposition without a direct connection. and we see that white moves onto a brown square to create the "rectangle"…whats to stop black from staying on the brown squares. from my persepctive, this would keep the box in tact, and would temp. give the opp. to black..then white would move to a brown, and black to a brown, and i feel like nothing would get resolved??

54. vincent vega says:

ahh.. disregard that. i played out it on my chess board. i see that it doesnt matter whether the opponent stays on the same squares, once they meet on a diagonal or directly, the opponent (in this example) still has lack of opposition.

in the hypothetical examlpe of king vs king, there doesnt seem to be a way to regain opposition once your opponent has taken control of it. like u said, if you have a pawn or other piece, you CAN regain opposition.

very nice…interesting.

55. jrobichess says:

Excellent comments Vincent – thanks for posting and checking out the vid!

56. jrobichess says:

Thanks for the comment and feedback!

57. illidan333 says:

i don't understand the magic square. for exemple if my king is on f3 and the ennemy king c6( it's a rectangle and the king are in the same color) but i don't have the opposition.

58. Nithus0 says:

Make that pawn promotion vid. :))

Promotions are my "weak spot" 😀

59. Nithus0 says:

btw. great job.

60. jrobichess says:

That would be diagonal opposition. If it was your turn to move, you would have the opposition as there would be an even number of squares in between the kings.

61. jrobichess says:

Thanks Nithus0!

62. Got cheese says:

Great video !!!!!!!!
5 starred,favorited,subscribed,big fan !!!!

I 've seen a good number of you other videos but this is simply the best so far………..
I tried learning opposition from books…but had trouble applying em in blitz games….these rules are certainly gonna help me break 1900……..
thanks a lot……

By the way what software do you use to create these videos…I'd like to add my own annotated games on you tube…..my rating is currently hovering around 1700…..

63. Joshua Coronel says:

What are you using to do this stuff? Like how can you play by yourself?

64. Daggerfall40 says:

Wow. The magic box rule was very helpful. I was having a hard time grasping this concept in the endgame book that I was reading but you've helped me out a lot. Thank you!

65. Michael Jim Villamayor says:

66. snoopjazzygeorge says:

Best lesson in opposition i ever saw.

67. davydav4 says:

what software do you use

68. OUFrogger says:

As I'm sure you will see by my question, I'm a rookie, but can you elaborate on the following: About half way thru the video on diagonal opposition with wht king on B2 and blk king on H8. Wht to move. U moved to c3 and wht lost opposition. What if wht went to A1 instead? This would separate the kings by and even 5 squares and ostensibly recapture opposition?? Please advise. Thanks,

69. IEatNubs6 says:

Opposition is the key to king and pawn endings

70. michael64eh says:

thank you for making this method crystal clear!!

71. Hold the door says:

What kind of program you use ?

72. phaulos zarbez says:

a square is a rectangle

73. BananaBui says:

What chess program do you use, jrobi? I would really like to experiment with a board without having to set up the pieces.

Awesome videos, BTW. Especially your 3v3 pawns lession.

74. TheHuginMunin says:

@OUFrogger1 I am not a rookie, but I was spontanously asking myself the very same question. Is there an answer?

75. 7777Ralph says:

The rule of the last example of staying on the same color corner square doesn't work in the second example of diagonal opposition, where white is on the same color corner square but still does not have the opposition. So does this mean the last rule only works for a rectangle and not a square?

76. 7777Ralph says:

nevermind, i get it now

77. 100winners says:

#FTW#FAIL#LOL#

78. 100winners says:

#FTW# #LOL# #FAIL#

79. ChickityChoice says:

This was really great… Well explained, thank you.

80. DATR01 says:

@WeInterruptThsProgrm
One rule for all cases.
When it is your move, move your king onto a square so that the rectangle formed by the two kings has an ODD number of squares on BOTH sides.
1×3, 1×5, 1×7 in these cases the kings will be opposite each other on a rank or file.
3X3, 5×5, 7×7 the so call diagonal opposition
3×5, 3×7, 5×7 the final "rectangular" situation.
So, simply form a rectangle with an ODD number of squares on BOTH sides.

81. DATR01 says:

@WeInterruptThsProgrm
It is useful to remember that:
1. when you move your king it will always move to a same coloured square as the opposing king, making sure the rectangle has an odd number of squares on both sides.
2. If you opponents has the opposition, ie kings are forming the required rectangle, you can't gain the opposition from them
3. If your opponent hasn't got the opposition you can gain the opposition on your next move using the odd number of squares rule.

82. CaltorStorm says:

Great video. Could you more simply state the magic box rule as move into the same colour square as your opponent?

83. Noamzilo says:

i dont get the opposition rule.
Why would the player that doesn't have opposition move backwards? he can just make circles arround the center.

84. Blood Bath and Beyond - Pop Goes Metal Covers says:

Could you repeat the rule of opposition again? I don't think i've heard it enough times 😉

85. Gimmisomesoap says:

the idea is that when you have opposition, you can move into the other's position. this means that since black didn't have it, there was no way it could possibly move forwards, and all of its moves would result in the enemy king drawing closer and closer to his home rank. this can be very useful for finding a way into the other player's pawn structures I guess.

86. Chase Thomas says:

Thanks a lot for the video; I know it's a couple of years old now, but I hope you feel rewarded knowing what you made nearly five years ago (based on the limited dates I can see) is still helping chess players learn and understand this important strategy. It makes so much sense now! 🙂

87. ManuelChessFan says:

watch?v=-ukpMzAECec

88. whiteknight0916 says:

Thank you! This really helped me alot.

89. ViceBite says:

great video

90. prabhatn4 says:

Finally understand opposition

91. Damon Decker says:

so this is the best explanation yet of endgame and chess in general. I appreciate the time you take in explaining. Thankyou

92. EoinFromEire says:

Where does diagonal opposition and not connected opposition come into play for an actual game?

93. spacefieldtime says:

94. examinfo says:

"Virtual Opposition" is another name for your last form of opposition ou described with the rectangles and squares etc

95. amexjam55 says:

Excellent!

96. David Williams says:

I was looking for a quick way to judge who has the opposition when there is not a direct connection of the Kings. Never seen the rectangle rule before but it works and saves so much time analysing. Many thanks for sharing.

97. zamp6969 says:

Good vid

98. Quoc Nguyen says:

My endgame play is weak and I always had trouble remembering lessons on opposition, but this vid is so clear and makes it so simple.

99. Steve Sklenka says:

Very very good

100. Rajesh Kheni says:

your vedio is really helpful for my seven year old boy. It loved it and master this concept. Thanks