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Drawing a chess game

Wolverhampton Chess Club

There are five ways of drawing a game of Chess:

  • Insufficient material to Checkmate
  • By agreement
  • Repeat position three times
  • The 50 move rule
  • Stalemate.

1. Insufficient material to checkmate.

Both sides may continue a game until there are not enough pieces on the board to produce a checkmate position.

We discussed which combinations of pieces are necessary to mate a king when there are no pawns on the board in the mating patterns section of the site.

So, if a king and knight were left on the board against another king and knight this would be a draw.

2. By Agreement.

One player may decide that the position in a game is such that a draw would be a fair result. So he should make his move and then offer a draw to his opponent. If the opponent agrees then he should accept the draw and the game is considered drawn.

3. Repeat Position three times.

A player or his opponent may claim a draw if the same position occurs three times during a game. This kind of position rarely happens in actual play, except when a player checks his opponent 'non stop'. A position may be reached in which an opponent cannot prevent a player from checking him after every move he makes. This situation is known as perpetual check and should it happen the game is drawn. See here for examples.

4. The 50 move rule.

If in the course of a game fifty moves are made by both player and his oponent, during which no pawn has been moved and no capture of a piece or pawn has occurred the game is drawn. If you think this is a difficult rule try mating your opponents King with your King a knight and a Bishop in less than 50 moves. It's not so easy!

5. Stalemate.

The game outcome is a draw when a player whose turn it is to move is unable to move and yet his King is not in check. See here for more detail.

A draw gains each player half a point.