Draw Rules Guide: How to Benefit from Draw in Chess

When I was learning chess, I was focussing on ways to beat any opponent. However, when things weren’t going in my way in a game of chess, I was completely frustrated because I didn’t have a backup plan. When you are losing a game, a draw is often something that may easily happen. Draw in chess is often the best way to save a bad game that you have played. A draw occurs mostly when it appears that neither side will win and tie seems inevitable. According to the official FIDE chess draw rules, there are actually six ways a game of chess can end in a draw. Also, there are some additional chess draw rules in timed games that I will mention later. The symbol of the draw in chess writing is 1/2-1/2.

 Basic Chess Draw Rules

1. Stalemate

When a player cannot make any legal move and he is currently not in check then, the game ends in a draw. This situation is called stalemate in chess. Notice in the example below, that the King at a1 and the pawn at h4 cannot make a legal move.

Black had a clear advantage but he made a major error by playing 1…Nc3 and White managed to obtain a draw. So, you have to end a match you are winning. Black could have played smartly and won the game.

2. Draw to due to Lack of Mating Material

When neither player has enough pieces on the board to checkmate the enemy king then, the game ends in a draw. There are numerous occasions that a player cannot win the game.

  • King vs King
  • King vs King and a Knight
  • King vs King and a Bishop

Always keep in mind that pawns can be promoted to Queen when they reach the eighth rank. So, some games that seem that will end in a draw, promotion often makes victory possible for one of the players. On the example below one white pawn will survive and it will be promoted to Queen. The game is not over.

King vs King and two Knights can lead to checkmate but a good defensive strategy can lead to a draw by agreement.

3. Draw by Agreement

When both players do not have a clear advantage and the chances of victory are extremely few to either side then, one of the players might offer a draw. If the other player accepts it then, the game ends this way. This kind of draw is common in World Championship games where players make fewer mistakes.

4. Draw due to repetition

When a position is repeated three times then, any player may request for a draw. This a very rare type of draw and you can understand it better through an example.

5. Draw due to Continuous Checking

When a player is in a very difficult situation, he might seek salvation by continuously checking the enemy King while his opponent cannot do anything to stop that. You will understand this through an example.

6. Fifty-move rule

If both sides have made 50 consecutive moves without making a capture or a pawn move then, a player may claim a draw. This is a scenario that is very difficult to happen.

What About Timed Games

In timed games, there some special rules about the draw. If both players exceed their time limits in a timed game then, the result is a draw. Also, if one player has exceeded his time limit but his opponent does not have enough material to perform a checkmate and he hasn’t exceeded his time limit then, the game is still a draw.

How to Use the Draw in Chess to your Advantage

The draw is an important feature of the game that may help you avoid defeat. So, you have to fight for a draw when a game seems to be lost. You have to consider a draw as a desirable outcome when:

  • Your opponent launches an attack and it seems that you cannot defend properly and the checkmate is close.
  • You have lost valuable material and it seems difficult to checkmate your opponent.
  • You cannot launch an attack on your opponent because his defensive strategy is excellent.

Those situations that I have mentioned are definitely not ideal. However, you have to try your best until the end and sometimes you will be saved by a draw. I have a strong belief that a player who doesn’t have a plan and he continuously blocking his opponent’s attacks is doomed to lose the game. Therefore, in any scenario, you have to know what is your realistic outcome. There are certain ways that you can use in order to get a draw.

  • Try to put some pressure on your opponent by forcing his most valuable pieces away from your side of the chessboard. In the following example, a Bishop at c5 is creating problems for White. So, White moves a pawn that is blocking and threatening this Bishop.

  • When your opponent has better material than you, you have to target more than one of your opponent’s most valuable pieces at the same time. I have written two articles about the pin in chess and the double attack that will help you understand and execute what I mean. The concept is that your opponent cannot protect two pieces at the same time and you will capture one of them.
  • Place your pieces on the board in a way that they support each other. Therefore, if your opponent captures a piece of yours then, another piece that you have, will capture the piece that made the attack. Your opponent will be discouraged to make that sacrifice and you will have a better defensive strategy if you do that.

I hope that this article was helpful to you. If you liked the article, please share it with your friends and comment on what you liked. Enjoy chess.

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