Stalemate - Stale - ++ST
Should not be confused with ++SM. A position of the MPs/mps when no move can be
made without putting your own KI
in check, the result being
a draw in traditional
occidental chess and a loss
in Chinese Chess for the
side stalemated. Any position in which
no action can be taken, a deadlock - bring to a standstill (French: ‘stale’ a
standstill). In chess the players decide
at the beginning of a game/match whether a stalemate is a
draw or a loss. ++ST occurs extremely
seldom in practical play, since the conditions required for a stalemate
position are unusually original. It
really comes about only when the stronger side has not foreseen the possibility
of stalemate. Thus assessing stalemate
as a draw seems in certain respects illogical, and such an outcome to a game
often has a ‘deus ex machina’
effect. Stalemate is a typical element
of the endgame. The commonest case of the enforcement of
stalemate is that in which the weaker side’s KI has already had all his flight
cells cut off, the mps
are :bl (blocked) or :pn (pinned) and all the free MPs/mps
can be sacrificed in
quick time - mostly in giving check. In other cases it is only by the sacrifice of
the last MP/mp that the KIs remaining flight cells are taken away from
him. You must always take particular
account of the possibility of stalemate in winning positions. Stalemate is often the result of a grave error rather than the
logical conclusion to the play. You are
therefore advised not to capture
your opponent’s last mobile mp or MP in positions where s/he has great material
advantage, since then the danger of stalemate is always increased. There is scarcely a single player who has
not at some time in his/her chess career spoilt a won game by stalemating the
opponent. Manoeuvres serving to enforce
stalemate can be carried out even in positions where there are many MPs/mps -
they in fact bear the characteristics of the middle game. The stalemate rule was first seen in A.
Saul’s ‘Famous Game of Chesse-Play’.
In this diagram (below left)
it is :B to move. S/he cannot move the
KI to a safe cell/square. S/he has nothing else to move? What is
happening? It is not ++CM, because :B is
not in +
Below Right: Here, B-KI is not in +CH but still cannot move the KI anywhere. Is it ++ST? No, it’s not! :B has a PA8 over the other side of the board which can make a move. Don’t forget - stalemate is when you are not in check and cannot move any MP/mp.
Below Left: here is another ++ST position. Wherever B-KI tries to move the it will end
up in +
Below Right: this position shows you how a KI in the corner can be stalemated by a QU. B-KI is not in +CH but A-QU1 controls all the cells/squares next to the KI. You can see that the QU is a knights move away from the KI. Again it is ++ST - the result of the game is a ++DR [draw].
When your opponent only has a KI left you have to be very careful not to bring about ++ST. You will of course remember that if you get a PA to the end of the board you change it into another piece (usually a QU). If A-PA3 promotes to QU2 (or RO3) in this position it will be ++ST, :B will have no moves. Again, play it out for yourself and see what happens.
There are six ways to draw [++DR], a game of chess: 01. Perpetual Check or, +PC. If the opponent +CHs the enemy KI repeatedly it is called perpetual check. It is usually used by the weaker side to avoid losing the game. In this example :B is about to move QU1 to ++CM the :A KI. :A has a series of saving moves of ‘perpetual check’ to cause the game to end in a draw and so not lose the game.
02. Stalemate. If the KI is not in +CH but it is unable to move to a safe cell/square it is said that the KI is ‘stalemated’ and the game is considered drawn. Many new chess players who are ahead in material mistakenly stalemate the enemy KI. In the diagram below the black KI is not in +CH but he has no safe cells/squares to move to and there are no other black [:B] pieces that can move - so the game is a ++DR.
A) Just the two KIs on the board.
B) KI and BS versus a KI.
C) KI and KT versus a KI.
D) KI, KT1 and KT2 versus a KI.
04. Repetition of moves. If the same position occurs three times in a game then a player may claim a ++DR. The ‘perpetual check’ position shown above is also a ++DR because the same position occurs three times - not necessarily in a row. 05. Fifty move rule. If both sides have made 50 consecutive moves without making a capture or PA move then a player may claim a ++DR. 06. Draw by agreement. Both players may feel that the position on the chessboard is equal and consequently agree to a ++DR. Grandmasters of relative equal strength often end in a ++DR in this way.
One danger that must be avoided is giving checkmate with QU1 or, indeed with any other MP/mp, is that of arriving at a position where the opposing solitary KI cannot move at all. This is known as stalemate, in which case the game is only a draw (Level-1). QU1 is such a powerful MP that she can give stalemate by herself. At times you may find that you have overreached yourself and allowed a stalemate to occur. Checkmate with a RO will need assistance from either a QU, KI or other MP. The first object when checkmating with a RO is to drive the KI to a back rank or, a cell on the edge of the board (B$D). With two BSs you must drive the KI to the edge of the board, but since the action of the BSs is along the diagonals only, the KI must be confined to the outer edge of the board, B$D on an 8 x 8 board. You must administer checkmate in 50 moves in positions where such a checkmate can be forced within this number of moves. Otherwise, provided a MP or mp has not been moved or a capture made during this period, a draw may be claimed. ++ST is a typical scenario of the endgame.
Enforcement of ++ST
++ST occurs in the endgame phase when there are few MPs/mps left on the either side of the board, but it sometimes appears out of the blue in the middle game. The time to be wary is when one side is at h/er last gasp and when the other has overwhelming material or positional superiority. Not being at the moment in +CH and at the same time has no other MP/mp to move instead, the KI is said to be stalemated, and the game is considered draw. A game is stalemated if…
01 The KI of the players whose turn it is to move is not in +CH and such player cannot make a move. In this case, the KI is the only MP that can make a legitimate play and his only move will be into +CH (a stalemate occurs).
02 By agreement between the two players.
03 At the request of one of the players when the same position appears three times, and each time the same player has had the move. This prevents constant stalling by one side. The position is considered to be the same if MPs/mps of the same kind and colour occupy the same cells.
The right of claiming the ++ST belongs to the player who…
04 Is in a position to play a move leading to such repetition of the position, if s/he declares the intention of making this move.
05 Is about to reply to a move by which such repeated position has been produced.
If a player makes a move without having claimed a stalemate in the manner prescribed above s/he then relinquishes this right to claim a stalemate. This right is however restored to him/her if the same position appears again with the same player having the move.
06 When the player whose turn it is to move proves that at least 50 moves have been made by each side without a capture of a MP/mp and without a mp move having been made.
07 Insufficient MPs/mps remain on the board to force checkmate, that is, if :B has only a KI remaining and :A has a KT or BS and a KI, then checkmate is impossible. Other types of draw are possible in chess.
09 French: Pat. 10 German: Patt. 11 Italian: Stallo. 12 Spanish: Ahogado.
When a player has no legal move available due to a lack of pieces, or being immobilized or blocked, or that in his next move he is forced to expose his King to check, it is a Stalemate and the game is declared a Draw.
As an example, on graphic 1 below, the white King has just moved from f1 to e1 forced by the black Bishop attack.
Next, on graphic 2, the black King decides to move from b3 to c2:
Such black King’s move causes the Stalemate rule since the white King does not have the use of any legal move, therefore the game is a Draw (3):
As you can see, the white Pawns have no play since they are blocked, white King cannot move to his right without being attacked by the black Bishop, nor to the left or diagonal left squares because they are controlled by the black King neither ahead as the black Pawn on f3 prevents it.
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Earliest stalemate: move 27
Sibilio - Mariotti, Ravenna 1982
1.e4 e6 2.Nf3 d5 3.e5 c5
4.b4 cxb4 5.d4 Nh6 6.a3 bxa3 7.c3 Nf5 8.Nxa3 Nc6 9.Nb5 a6 10.g4 Bd7 11.Bg5 Be7 12.gxf5
axb5 13.fxe6 fxe6 14.Rxa8 Qxa8 15.Rg1 Qa3 16.Bxb5 Bxg5 17.Rxg5 Qxc3+ 18.Kf1 O-O
19.Bxc6 Bxc6 20.Kg2 Ba4 21.Qe2 Bc2 22.Ne1 Be4+ 23.f3 Rxf3 24.Nxf3 Bxf3+ 25.Qxf3
Qd2+ 26.Kh3 Qxg5 27.Qf8+ Kxf8 ½-½