Traps, Tricks & Mistakes: Forgetting the Basics

In a previous post, I wrote about the opposition. I showed there that the kings are in opposition when they are in the same rank or file with only one square between them. Specifically, chess players call it ‘direct opposition’.

Because getting the opposition compels one of the kings to move aside, once the opposition appears on the board, the player not having the move “wins the opposition”.

Kings on the same rank or file and separated by more than one square get also opposition. In that case, we talk of ‘distant opposition’.

The rule for knowing which side “wins distant opposition” is the following: “If there are an odd number of squares between the kings, the player not having the move wins the opposition”.

To illustrate it look at the following diagram:

The rule of opposition is one of the chess basics. Nevertheless, even top players make mistakes from time to time.

In today’s game, one of the most promising young chess talents forgets about the opposition rule and loses a drawing game.

The game was played in the prestigious “Norway Chess” on 2020 Oct, 21st. Magnus Carlsen with Black played against Alireza Firouzja in last round. Firouzja played accurately although he was in time trouble for the most part of the game.

The following position appeared after Carlsen played 61…Kxh5. At this point, Firoujza had 22 seconds left in his clock, versus 35 minutes for Carlsen. They played with 10 seconds increment.

After the dramatic end of that game, Vladimir Kramnik, who commented the game online, said: “It’s a very good experience for him [Firouzja]. This kind of things, especially when they’re painful; it can be very useful.”

And Carlsen himself praised his opponent with these words: “Certainly I had many experiences like this. I lost two rook endings against Levon [Aronian] for absolutely no reason. It’s part of the growing process. But he’s so strong; he’s gonna be around for a long time”
We are living uncertain times of pandemic and chess fans can not enjoy games over the board but our virtual club regularly organizes online tournaments and matches.
A new tournament will start on Dec, 12th and a team matches are waiting for players. Register now and join them. Limited slots!!
Check regularly the website World Health Organization for updates about COVID-19. Stay safe!

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