Chess Stalemate: What is a Stalemate in Chess?

What is a stalemate in chess?

Stalemate is like a draw that happens when there is no possible legal moves of the player whose turn it is, and his king is not in check.

The game ends with a draw…

Today, I will share about what is a stalemate, stalemate rules & stalemate vs checkmate.

Read On!


What is a Stalemate: Definition

The word “stalemate” comes from an old French word meaning “stop making moves.” A stalemate can also be called a drawn position or just as simply – deadlock.

A stalemate is an end game position in chess when neither player can, or has the right to put the opponent’s king into checkmate.

More simply a stalemate is where there are no possible legal moves of the player whose turn it is and his king cannot be captured on this move.

However, if the player whose turn it was had any of his other pieces in play he could have made moves with them… This would not be considered as stalemate because there were still legal moves to make that could have resulted in victory for that player.


Draw by Stalemate

The most common stalemate in chess is a result of the player whose turn it was not having any legal moves…

The position below is an classic example of an Draw By Stalemate:


A stalemate is also called a drawn position or deadlock, because the game ended without any victory for either side and it’s just like calling a draw…

In order to win in chess, players must checkmate their opponent’s king with one of their pieces. If no such move exists (e.g. because the player’s king is not in check & there are no more moves on the board for him) then the game can end with a draw by stalemate.


How many moves until Stalemate?

In chess, a stalemate is not possible until all of these criteria are met:

– The player whose turn it is does not have any legal moves.

– There are no more pieces on the board that can be moved (unless being checkmated)

– The king of this player’s opponent cannot be in check.


Stalemate Vs Checkmate

Stalemate & Checkmate are totally different…

Stalemate = Draw

Checkmate = Win

Still, I have seen many chess players confused when using these terms.

Stalemate = Draw (If a player can make no more moves without putting his own king into checkmate, we say this game ends in “a draw by stalemate.”)

Checkmate = Win (If a players’ king is under attack (in check) and cannot escape from it, we say this game ends in “a win by checkmate.”)


How to avoid Stalemate in Chess?

Believe me… It is quite frustrating if you were just going to win the chess game, and then all of a sudden you’re stuck with a stalemate.

I mean why settle for draw if you can win?

I have faced this many times when I played chess, so I researched all the tips and tricks that will help me avoid a stalemate:

– Don’t get into stalemate position in the first place! Put pieces on as many squares (especially diagonals) as possible.

– Be very careful during the endgame

– Think ahead and anticipate your opponent’s next move

I have learned this in school: “Prevention is better than Cure.

Use the above tips to avoid a stalemate & win the game!!!

Did it ever happen to you?

You were almost going to win the game, and then all of a sudden you’re stuck with a stalemate??

If yes, share it with me in the comments. I would love to hear it.

P.S. Because it has happened to me a lot.

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