Does time matter at all when only two kings are left on the board?

by Cory Meacham
(San Diego, CA)

I was playing chess with a friend recently and we ended up with only the two kings on the board.

I proclaimed a stalemate, but he said that because he had more time left than I did he could actually beat me by just continuing to move our kings until my time was up. Is that right? Thanks!


Hi Cory,

if there are only two kings left on the board it is a theoretical draw. It is not allowed to play on because of insufficient material to give a checkmate.

However, you can claim a draw if:

- insufficient material to checkmate the opponent

- threefold repetition rule (same position occurs three times with the same player to move)

- fifty-move rule (when the last fifty successive moves made by both players contain no capture or pawn move)

Just stop the clock and claim draw because of insufficient material. If your opponent does not accept then go to the arbiter.

You cannot claim a stalemate. This is something completely different.
Read more about Stalemate
Read about - How is this a Stalemate?
Read about - Why Stalemate?

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