by Mark Teears
(Greensboro, NC)

I have been very frustrated in a couple very similar games lately online. In both opponent put me in check in a place that I had only one move. But, I was not in danger as he had no way to checkmate me. In one we both had about the same number of pieces(many pieces left) and in the other I had a large advantage over the other player.

In both cases my opponent just kept putting me in check forcing my king to move back and forth. The online game automatically called the games a draw. I thought the draw rule was when both opponents were even and neither was going to be able to win the game. But, in both of these cases my opponent could have made many other moves. There was no reason to keep making the same move other than to get a draw. But, there was a lot more chess to be played in each case. I guess I just felt like I didn't want to play with someone that played like that. The intent of the rule is not to use it like this as far as my understanding of it.


Hi Mark,
I know what you mean. Chess can be frustrating at times. But the three-move-repetition rule is valid all the time, independent of the position, if you have advantage or not does not matter at all. It is perfectly okay for your opponent to use it.

So make sure that your king is safe before you make a move and that your opponent cannot give "eternal checks".

Before you make your Move, check first MENTALLY what will happen afterwards.

You can avoid these frustrations easily! Just check every move in your head, that your opponent can do after your intended next move, BEFORE you actually execute your move on the board.

Make your move MENTALLY in your head first and analyze the position. If everything is okay then execute your move. This is the only way to avoid gross errors or at least this way you can cut down the probability that you overlooked something like a fork, a check, a forced draw, the loss of material or even checkmate.

Chess is a hard game and requires mental discipline. Don't make a move in future unless you have checked your move in your head first. This will avoid unnecessary draws and other chess disasters.

Try this from now on, you will see that this method will become second nature after some time. And it will improve your playing strength for sure.

I hope this helps.

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Jun 16, 2018
draws as strategic equalizer
by: Hieronymous, NC


Chess has numerous situations where draw is the result, and some of them can occur when the MATERIAL is very unequal. For example, the stalemate draw (say, White to move with White King on f1, Black King on g3, Black Queen on e3, no other moveable pieces on the board for White) has quite uneven material, but Black does not win because he did not leave White a legal move.

As you point out with your wrestling example, at first this "way out of a loss" might seem unfair. However, consider some other "win-lose" situations:

[1] In football (perhaps more analogous since there are many players in the way chess has many pieces), my team might have a great quarterback and some fantastic receivers. We usually make lots of great pass plays, and win games with lots of points. However, if your team plays a great pass rush, it won't matter that my receivers are open, because my quarterback is occupied avoiding getting sacked (check/checkmate).

[2] Think of action movies where the good guys are winning up to that moment when the bad guy reveals that he has a key hostage who must live. Now things are at a standoff (draw).

[3] Even in a one-on-one fight, I might have you with my right hand, but I have to be aware of what your left hand is up to!

Chess has this element of asymmetrical balance as a possibility: overall my army can be dominating the board, but if I leave that one little weakness for you to exploit, your attack EQUALIZES my advantages. That equalizer can be as simple as your ability to put my king in endless jeopardy.

In fact, at higher levels of chess, achieving a draw from a seemingly lost position is a tactical brilliance. With some searching, you can find drawn games that are considered as beautiful as some wins because of the stunning use of tactics and strategy to make the draw happen.

The sophisticated rules of chess are what makes possible move sequences that confound what appears on the surface. Deeper analysis can turn lost positions into wins or draws, and for the chess enthusiast, either turn of events can amaze and delight.

Jan 08, 2016
Draw vs stalling
by: Anonymous

Thank you for your comments and definition of the three move repetition. I had already read that, but in the page prior to it under "draw" it say's that the idea of the rule was for a game where neither player would win. That wasn't the case in either of my games. I felt confident that I would have won one. The other still had a lot of game to be played. I did check the board and knew he couldn't checkmate my king, but I didn't think he would just move back and forth forcing me to do the same. I guess if that's the rule then fine. To me it's like stalling rather than trying to figure out another way to win in a wrestling match. Even in wrestling stalling is illegal and the player doing it is penalized and not rewarded by using it as a way to not lose when they had clearly been beaten. I would have thought that chess with more sophisticated rules would make sure that a player would have to try to win and not stall in order to get a draw. But, I guess if you think of chess as a battle and one opponent even with only one soldier can trap a king in a position where they can't capture home, but that he can't get away either it could be a draw type scenario..

In any case, I guess I'll have to watch out for this in the future rather than just making sure my opponent couldn't checkmate my king.

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