Draw (chess) - Draws in All Games

Draws in All Games

Article 5 of the FIDE Laws of Chess gives the ways a game may end in a draw, and they are detailed in Article 9: (Schiller 2003:26–29).

  • Stalemate - if the player on turn has no legal move but is not in check, this is stalemate and the game is automatically a draw.
  • Threefold repetition - if an identical position has just occurred three times with the same player to move, or will occur after the player on turn makes his move, the player on move may claim a draw (to the arbiter). In such a case the draw is not automatic - a player must claim it if he wants the draw. When the position will occur for the third time after the player's intended next move, he writes the move on his scoresheet but does not make the move on the board and claims the draw. Article 9.2 states that a position is considered identical to another if the same player is on move, the same types of pieces of the same colors occupy the same squares, and the same moves are available to each player; in particular, each player has the same castling and en passant capturing rights. (A player may lose his right to castle; and an en passant capture is available only at the first opportunity.) If the claim is not made on the move in which the repetition occurs, the player forfeits the right to make the claim. Of course, the opportunity may present itself again.
  • The fifty-move rule - if in the previous fifty moves by each side, no pawn has moved and no capture has been made, a draw may be claimed by either player. Here again, the draw is not automatic and must be claimed if the player wants the draw. If the player whose turn it is to move has made only 49 such moves, he may write his next move on the scoresheet and claim a draw. As with the threefold repetition, the right to claim the draw is forfeited if it is not used on that move, but the opportunity may occur again.
  • Impossibility of checkmate - if a position arises in which neither player could possibly give checkmate by a series of legal moves, the game is a draw. This is usually because there is insufficient material left, but it is possible in other positions too. Combinations with insufficient material to checkmate are:
  • king versus king
  • king and bishop versus king
  • king and knight versus king
  • king and bishop versus king and bishop with the bishops on the same colour. (Any number of additional bishops of either color on the same color of square due to underpromotion do not affect the situation.)
  • Mutual agreement - a player may offer a draw to his opponent at any stage of a game, ostensibly with the understanding that an eventual draw by other means is the likely result. If the opponent accepts, the game is a draw.

It is popularly considered that perpetual check – where one player gives a series of checks from which the other player cannot escape – is a draw, but in fact there is no longer a specific rule for this in the laws of chess, because any perpetual check situation will eventually be claimable as a draw under the threefold repetition rule or by the fifty-move rule, or (more likely) by agreement (Hooper & Whyld 1992). By 1965 perpetual check was no longer in the official rules (Harkness 1967).

Although these are the laws as laid down by FIDE and, as such, are used at almost all top-level tournaments, at lower levels different rules may operate, particularly with regard to rapid play finish provisions.

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Draw (chess) - Draws in All Games - Examples
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