Draw title


A draw -also called a tie, is just another form to end a Chess game among other ways such as resigning, checkmate, losing on time, etc. In Chess, winning a game gives 1 point to the victor while the loser gets none. A drawn game gives half a point (1/2) to each player. There are five ways players can draw a game:


1. Draw by threefold repetition

The threefold repetition rule (also known as repetition of position), states that when 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. Fig. 1 shows a game played between Bobby Fischer and Tigran Petrosian. Fischer claimed a draw by the threefold repetition rule. The position shown below repeated exactly 3 times on moves 30, 32, and 34.

Fischer vs Petrosian / After move 34. Qe2

Fischer vs Petrosian

Fig. 1

The game

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2. Draw by stalemate

When the player to move has no legal move (and is not in check), is called a stalemate and is an automatic draw. This can occur if your King and other pieces have no available squares that can move onto, or your pieces are blocked by friendly or enemy pieces and they can't move, or your pieces are protecting your King from an opponent's attack and cannot move, etc. The following diagram (Fig. 2) shows a game with a clear victory for Reshevsky (black) but Pilnick forces a stalemate by moving his Queen to f2.

Pilnick vs Reshevsky / After move 93. Qf2

Pilnick vs Reshevsky

Fig. 2

The game

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3. Draw by the 50 move rule

On this 50-move rule, a player can claim a draw if in the previous 50 moves by each player, no Pawns have been moved and no captures have been made. The claim can be made by either player just like the threefold repetition rule. If a player makes a move without having claimed the draw on that move, he loses the right to claim it as in Article 9.2 or 9.3. This draw is not automatic and must be claimed if a player wants to draw. Fig. 3 is a game played between Karpov and Kasparov, and shows the 63rd move (Kxh4) as the last capture by either player. Later, in move 113 (63 + 50 = 113) Karpov or Kasparov could have claimed a draw but instead both players continued playing.

Karpov vs Kasparov / After move 63. Kxh4

Karpov vs Kasparov

Fig. 3

The game

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4. Draw by insufficient material

This kind of draw happens when neither player has sufficient material to perform a checkmate. This commonly occurs when there are not enough pieces on the board or when no sequence of legal moves can lead to checkmate. This also applies to the following scenarios when all left in the board are: King against King, or King and Knight against King, or King and Bishop against King, or King and two Knights against King, or King and Knight against King and Knight, or King and Bishop against King and Bishop. In the graphic below (Fig. 4), the white Knight captures the black Pawn at a6 drawing the game by the insufficient material rule. Neither player can win this game.

Fdrz vs Badijoe / After move 53. Nxa6

Fdrz vs Badijoe

Fig. 4

The game

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5. Draw by mutual agreement

Drawing a game by mutual agreement is the way most games are commonly drawn. Any player may offer a draw at any time during a Chess game after making a move on the chessboard and before stopping his own clock and starting the opponent's clock, but it requires both players to agree to draw. If declined, a draw offer may be repeated later on in the game. An offer remains valid until the opponent verbally accepts or rejects it, or declines it by making his next move. In the graphic below (Fig. 5), after the move (Bxf6), if 34. ... gxf6 then both players end up with equal forces and the game will result in a draw. Kasparov offered the draw after the exchange.

Kasparov vs Short / After move 34. Bxf6

Kasparov vs Short

Fig. 5

The game

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More about draws

The offer of a drawn game shall be noted by each player on his score sheet with the (=) symbol.

Once a draw offer is made, it cannot be retracted and should be valid until rejected by the opponent.

Draws may be offered at any time, but repeated draw offers can be taken as a violation since they may constitute some kind of distraction and harassment by unreasonable offer or claim to draw a game.

Offering a draw when one is seriously behind or losing the game, is a very bad etiquette and should be avoid it.

Drawing a game by “perpetual check” is no longer in the official rules because this type of draw will eventually fall into the threefold repetition or the fifty-move rule, and more likely, by mutual agreement.

A draw by mutual agreement after only a few moves is called a “grandmaster draw”.

The Board The Pieces The King The Queen The Rook The Bishop

The Knight

The Pawn

Check Checkmate Draws Notation

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