Draw (chess)

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In chess, a draw is the result of a game ending in a tie. Usually, in tournaments a draw is worth a half point to each player, while a win is worth one point to the victor and none to the loser.

For the most part, a draw occurs when it appears that neither side will win. Draws are codified by various rules of chess including stalemate (when the player to move has no legal move and is not in check), threefold repetition (when the same position occurs three times with the same player to move), and the fifty-move rule (when the last fifty successive moves made by both players contain no capture or pawn move). A draw also occurs when neither player has sufficient material to checkmate the opponent or when no sequence of legal moves can lead to checkmate.

Unless specific tournament rules forbid it, players may agree to a draw at any time. Ethical considerations may make a draw uncustomary in situations where at least one player has a reasonable chance of winning. For example, a draw could be called after a move or two, but this would likely be thought unsporting.

Until 1867, tournament games that were drawn were replayed. The Paris tournament of 1867 had so many drawn games to be replayed that it caused organisational problems. In 1868 the British Chess Association decided to award each player a half point instead of replaying the game (Sunnucks 1970:100).


Draw rules[edit]

The rules allow for several types of draws: stalemate, the threefold repetition of a position (with the same player to move), if there has been no capture or a pawn being moved in the last fifty moves, if checkmate is impossible, or if the players agree to a draw. In games played under time control, a draw may result under additional conditions (Schiller 2003:26–29). A stalemate is an automatic draw, as is a draw because of insufficient material to checkmate. A draw by threefold repetition or the fifty-move rule may be claimed by one of the players with the arbiter (normally using his score sheet), and claiming it is optional.

A claim of a draw first counts as an offer of a draw, and the opponent may accept the draw without the arbiter examining the claim. Once a claim or draw offer has been made, it cannot be withdrawn. If the claim is verified or the draw offer accepted, the game is over. Otherwise, the offer or claim is nullified and the game continues; the draw offer is no longer in effect.

An offer of a draw should be made after a player makes a move but before he presses his game clock. A player may decline the offer of a draw. The other player also declines the offer if he makes a move, and the draw offer is no longer in effect.

Draws in all games[edit]

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).

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.

Examples[edit]

Korchnoi vs. Karpov, 1978
abcdefgh
8
Chessboard480.svg
f7 white king
g7 white bishop
h7 black king
a4 black pawn
a3 white pawn
8
77
66
55
44
33
22
11
abcdefgh
Position after 124. Bc3-g7, stalemate[1]
Fischer vs. Petrosian, 1971
abcdefgh
8
Chessboard480.svg
a7 black pawn
b7 black pawn
f7 black pawn
h7 black king
c6 black pawn
f6 black queen
h6 black pawn
d5 black rook
f5 white pawn
f4 white rook
h3 white pawn
a2 white pawn
c2 white pawn
e2 white queen
f2 white pawn
h1 white king
8
77
66
55
44
33
22
11
abcdefgh
Position after 30. Qe2, after 32. Qe2, and after 34. Qe2, draw by threefold repetition[2]
Timman vs. Lutz, 1995
abcdefgh
8
Chessboard480.svg
h7 black king
b5 black rook
f5 white king
g5 white rook
f4 white bishop
8
77
66
55
44
33
22
11
abcdefgh
Position after 121... Rb5+, draw by fifty-move rule[3]
Vidmar vs. Maróczy, 1932
abcdefgh
8
Chessboard480.svg
c7 black bishop
f7 black king
g4 white king
8
77
66
55
44
33
22
11
abcdefgh
Draw because of insufficient material to checkmate[4]
checkmate is impossible
abcdefgh
8
Chessboard480.svg
d6 black king
f6 black pawn
h6 black pawn
c5 black pawn
e5 black pawn
f5 white pawn
g5 black pawn
h5 white pawn
b4 black pawn
c4 white pawn
e4 white pawn
g4 white pawn
a3 black pawn
b3 white pawn
d3 white bishop
a2 white pawn
e2 white king
8
77
66
55
44
33
22
11
abcdefgh
Draw. No sequence of legal moves can lead to checkmate.(Mednis 1990:43)
Petrosian vs. Fischer, 1958
abcdefgh
8
Chessboard480.svg
g8 black rook
f7 white pawn
g6 white pawn
g5 white king
c3 black pawn
c2 black king
8
77
66
55
44
33
22
11
abcdefgh
Position after 67. f7, draw agreed[5]

Draws in timed games[edit]

In games played with a time control, there are other ways a draw can occur (Schiller 2003:29), (Just & Burg 2003).

abcdefgh
8
Chessboard480.svg
a8 white king
e8 black circle
g8 white bishop
h8 white king
a7 white knight
b7 black bishop
c7 black king
e7 black circle
g7 black bishop
e6 black circle
g6 black king
e5 black circle
a4 black circle
b4 black circle
c4 black circle
d4 black circle
e4 black circle
f4 black circle
g4 black circle
h4 black circle
b3 black king
e3 black circle
g3 black knight
h3 black king
c2 black knight
e2 black circle
a1 white king
b1 white knight
e1 black circle
g1 white bishop
h1 white king
8
77
66
55
44
33
22
11
abcdefgh
Possible checkmate positions for Black. If White runs out of time with one of these combinations of material, Black wins because of the possible checkmate. However, in a sudden death time control, if White can convince the arbiter before the time is up that Black is merely stalling to win on time, the game is nevertheless declared a draw.

Frequency of draws[edit]

In chess games played at the top level, a draw is the most common outcome of a game: of around 22,000 games published in The Week in Chess played between 1999 and 2002 by players with a FIDE Elo rating of 2500 or above, 55 percent were draws. Roughly 36 percent of games between top computer chess programs are draws (more than are won by White or won by Black).[6]

Drawing combinations[edit]

Yuri Averbakh gives these combinations for the weaker side to draw:

Terminology[edit]

abcdefgh
8
Chessboard480.svg
h8 white rook
g4 black bishop
g3 black king
e2 black rook
f1 white king
8
77
66
55
44
33
22
11
abcdefgh
Position after 123... Kg3, only 124. Rf8! draws

Andy Soltis discusses the vagueness of the terms "draw", "drawish", "drawable", "book draw", "easy draw", and "dead draw". In books and chess theory a position is considered to be a draw if best play leads to a draw – the difficulty of the defence is not taken into account. Soltis calls these positions "drawable". For instance, under that criteria the rook and bishop versus rook endgame is usually a theoretical draw or "book draw", but the side with the bishop often wins in practice. In this position from an actual game, the only move to draw is 124. Rf8! White actually played 124. Rd8?? and lost (Soltis 2010:12–13).

See also[edit]

Articles on draw rules

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]