19 March 2014

Beware Stalemate

If a player has no legal moves and is not in check, the game is drawn by stalemate. The side with greater force is robbed of victory. Players under time pressure and beginners are particularly prone to this fate. The positions below are all from recent online play.

White to move

White played 65.g6 and was subjected to a series of checks that ended in stalemate.

White to move

Nearly every move wins except 55.Kf6, which was played in the game.

White to move

64.Qg3# ends Black's charade, but instead White played 64.Bxf3.

White to move

Here also, White played Qc3 instead of the simple Qa1#.

White to move

That White played 41.Rxg2 justifies Black's decision to play on in a hopeless position.

White to move

White's king needs to head towards d7 to free Black's king from a trap. Instead, White played 56.Kh7 and gave Black a choice of drawing moves.

Sometimes the weaker side can trap the stronger.

Black to move

53...Kf6 kept the White king stuck in front of its pawn.

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