Close games often fizzle into nip and tuck king and pawn endgames. This week’s position reviews the basics of opposition in a king and pawn endgame. Black’s goal is to secure a draw by stalemate. With this hint in mind, please try to find black’s best move.

The chess concept of opposition is based on the idea that sometimes it is better to not have the move. This gives the player who does NOT have the move a chance to adapt to what move is his opponent plays. In this week’s position, black’s best move is to move its king to e7.

This allows black to respond to white’s next move. The white king either moves to d5 or f5 because these are the only moves that guard white’s pawn. There is no difference between these moves. Assuming f5, black’s king moves back to e8 (see next diagram).

White’s most aggressive move is to move its king to f6. Other moves avoid this inevitable position if white seeks to promote its pawn. In response, black maneuvers its king in front of white’s king on f8. White’s attempt to win now entails advancing its e6 pawn to e7. Black’s king snuggles back onto e8. White defends the pawn by moving to e6, which then stalemates black (see next diagram).

This week’s position shows that oppositional defiance is not all bad.

Reach Eric Morrow at ericmorrowlaw@gmail.com or (505) 327-7121.

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