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Wolverhampton Chess Club


A situation can arise where a player, whose turn it is to move, finds he is unable to do so and yet he is not in check.

This is a strange situation and is called STALEMATE. The game is over and the result is a DRAW.

If you attack your opponent's King and he cannot get out of check, then it is checkmate.

But if

  • the King is not in check and yet
  • the player cannot move.

you have the situation of Stalemate.

Black to move any piece anywhere on the chessboard

Black cannot move his King because by doing so he would either be moving into check or next to his opponent's King and neither as we know, is allowed. It would therefore be an illegal move. Black is not in check at the moment, so he is not in checkmate.

The position is STALEMATE and the game is drawn.

White to move.

If White is careless he can stalemate his opponent and turn a game he could win into a draw.

White plays Qd6??.

A very poor move, because now the Black King is in stalemate. He is not in check and yet cannot move to any square. White cannot win - he has forced a draw situation.

White to move.

He finds he cannot -Stalemate!

White to move.

Stalemate again! It is very esay to bring about stalemate when there is a King and Queen against King.

It's very important to take care in these situations to avoid this. With a Queen and a King white should win - but a wrong move means stalemate and a draw!

White to move.

The White Pawn is blocked by Black's Pawn and so cannot move. The White King is not in check but there is no square to which it is allowed to move. There being no other piece White can move, this is again a stalemate position.

Black to move.

The Black King cannot move. Both the empty squares next to his King are attacked by the White Rook. The Black King is not in check. Is this stalemate?

No for there are other pieces on the board which Black can move. He may move either his Knight or his Pawn.

Black to move.

Here again Black has a blocked Pawn and the King is not in check. With no square for the King to go to, this is another stalemate position.

Black to move.

White has been trying to Queen his Pawn and win. The game is drawn , however as Black is unable to move - Stalemate.