index 2011
Letter #12 -  2011

Sub:    Having only the King left, is it a draw?
03/21/11  11:02:10
From:  Carlos Sotelo

Two friends and I just started playing Chess a few weeks ago.

My question is related to when a player has only his King left and his opponent still have some pieces on the board but cannot make a checkmate.

Is this an automatic draw or stalemate?

Thank you.

Dear viewer,

The rules of Chess state that if "within the last 50 consecutive moves have been made by each player without the movement of any Pawn and without the capture of any piece, the game is drawn, upon a correct claim by the player having the move."

A Chess game can only be drawn as follows: Draw by agreement, stalemate, perpetual check, insufficient mating material, three-fold repetition, 50 moves without a Pawn move or capture of any piece, etc.

For instance, if player 'B' has only his King left on the board and player 'A' has enough pieces to perform a mate, then player 'A' can take as many as 50 consecutive moves to mate the opponent's King (50 white moves and 50 black moves.)

While counting, should a Pawn moves or any capture is made by any player, then the count starts again from zero.

The following Applet shows a theoretical position in which after 48 moves without a Pawn move or capture, white must capture a piece or move a Pawn to win this game or else, concede a draw:

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Suggested moves for white are: 1. Rd4 Ba7 (or Ka7) 2. a4, and now this white Pawn move resets the counter back to zero and white should easily win the game.

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