, a draw
is one of the possible outcomes of a game, the others being a win for white and a win for black. A draw is the same as a tie
. Traditionally, in tournaments a win is worth one point to the victor and none to the loser, while a draw is worth a half point to each player.
The rules allow for several types of draws: stalemate, the threefold repetition of a position (with the same player to move), if the game goes for fifty moves without a capture or a pawn being moved, if checkmate is impossible, or the players may agree to a draw. In games played under time control, a draw may result under additional conditions . A stalemate is an automatic draw. A draw by threefold repetition or the fifty move rule must 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 Once a claim or draw offer has been made, it cannot be withdrawn.
Draws in all games
Article 5 of the FIDE Laws of Chess
details the ways a game may end in a draw, and they are detailed in Article 9: .
- Stalemate - if the player on turn has no legal move but is not in check, this is stalemate and the game is a draw.
- Threefold repetition - if an identical position has occurred three times, 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. 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.)
- Fifty move rule - if at least fifty moves (by each side) have passed with no pawn being moved and no capture being made, a draw may be claimed by either player. Here again, the draw is not automatic and rather must be claimed.
- 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 (see the diagram). 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 color. (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 a draw by any other means has become inevitable anyway. 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 fifty move rule or by threefold repetition, or (more likely) by agreement .
It should be noted that 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.
Draws in timed games
In games played with a time control
, there are other ways a draw can occur , .
- In a sudden death time control (players have a limited time to play all of their moves), if it is discovered that both players have exceeded their time allotment, the game is a draw. (The game continues if it is not a sudden-death time control.)
- If only one player has exceeded the time limit, but the other player does not have (theoretically) sufficient mating material, the game is still a draw. Law 6.10 of the FIDE Laws of Chess states that: "If a player does not complete the prescribed number of moves in the allotted time, the game is lost by the player. However, the game is drawn, if the position is such that the opponent cannot checkmate the player's king by any possible series of legal moves, even with the most unskilled counterplay." For example, a player who runs out of time with a king and queen versus a sole king does not lose the game. It is still possible to lose on time in positions where mate is extremely unlikely but not theoretically impossible, as with king and bishop versus king and knight.
- Because of this last possibility, article 10 of the FIDE laws of chess states that when a player has less than two minutes left on their clock during a rapid play finish (the end of a game when all remaining moves must be completed within a limited amount of time), they may claim a draw if their opponent is not attempting to win the game by "normal means" or cannot win the game by "normal means". "Normal means" can be taken to mean the delivery of checkmate or the winning of material. In other words, a draw is claimable if the opponent is merely attempting to win on time, or cannot possibly win except by on time. It is up to the arbiter to decide whether such a claim will be granted or not.
Frequency of draws
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).
gives these combinations for the weaker side to draw:
Articles on draw rules