Basic Motifs E-book: Basic Endings E-book: Pawn Endgames King and Pawn versus King Must-Know Endings

When the black king is placed in front of the pawn, the outcome of the game depends on whether White can occupy one of the critical squares in front of the pawn thus assuring its promotion. The answer to that is provided by “opposition”. What is opposition? Opposition is a positioning of kings facing each other on the same rank, file or diagonal, with an odd number of squares between them. Is there is only one square between them opposition is usually known as “full opposition”, whereas the opposition with the kings three to five squares apart is referred to as “distant opposition”. It is essential to know that in these cases the player who is not to move is said to have the “opposition”. Let us first examine the case with a pawn on the sixth rank. It is a position with a mutual “zugzwang” (German expression for “move compulsion”) . If White has the opposition he wins, if Black has it, the game is drawn.



Key squares
After 1.d7 black king has to move. Key square (critical square) e7 will be accessible for white king.


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