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It's a Miracle! Part 4

  • GM Gserper
  • | Jul 22, 2013

Last week we discussed a very important role of a stalemate in many endgames. Believe me or not, but a stalemate can be very useful in openings too. Say, you want a draw and your opponent doesn't mind too, but the pesky Sofia rule doesn't allow you to agree for a draw in a less than 30 moves, what can you do? Stalemate for the rescue! Here is a real game from a real tournament:

Recently a similar game was played in Russia. The hilarious video posted on Youtube shows a tournament director calling his chess federation to notify them about this 'game'. If you don't speak Russian, proceed directly to 2:25 to see the scoresheets and the diagram of the final position. 

Here is the interview with the girls who 'played' that game. (For non-Russian speakers, the girls basically say that they are friends, have the same coach and are also room mates):

Hopefully you, my dear readers, sensed the sarcasm in the beginning of this article and won't ever 'play' similar games, which is pretty much cheating.

Let's get back to real stalemates and real chess. The next epic battle is unique in my opinion. A little known master gets a huge advantage against Aron Nimzowitsch but falls for the stalemate trick. Yet he doesn't give up and tries everything he can to escape the stalemate. Amazingly he succeeds:

It took the white king 25 moves to run away from the annoying rook. Finally Black runs out of checks since White simply captures the black rook with his own rook and the black king will be free to go. So, the game is over, right? Ironically, after so much efforts, White runs into another stalemate trick. There is no escape this time!

I feel really sorry for Alfred Post, but all of us had a similar experience at some point in our chess careers. So, what should be done to avoid such painful situations? For starters, try to not stalemate your opponent's king in the situations where you have material advantage even if there are still other pieces on the board. Remember that in many cases all the pieces that prevent a stalemate can disappear in a heartbeat!
Here is a couple of examples from the games played just last month:
In the final part of this article you'll have a chance to test your stalemating skills!



  • 12 months ago


    nice article

  • 13 months ago


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  • 13 months ago


    The game between hohmeister and Frank is a Real game but before the game the players know the result. Hohmeister has a 2100 Elo!

  • 13 months ago


    There has been a 10-move stalemate (the shortest stalemate)

  • 13 months ago



    Perhaps the organizers have decided to commend their ingenuity and research ability? They didn't just play some bland game and repeated moves, but found a funny stalemate in Chessbase.

  • 13 months ago


    A constructed stalemate I worked out many years back. Stalemate in 16 moves. White has all of his pieces left, but none of his pawns. Enjoy!
  • 13 months ago


    On a more interesting note, this was another excellent article by GM Serper, although I should note that 87. Qf7+ works as easily as 87. Qg6+ in the last example.  

  • 13 months ago



    It wasn't chess.com or GM Serper who posted the video on Youtube, but the organizers of the chess tournament.  And I think it's far more "rude" to cheat in a chess tournament, no?  The tournament directors were very benevolent in not kicking them out of the event.  

  • 13 months ago


    Thanks for the translation .. @spectrowaski !

  • 13 months ago


    Chess.com why are you posting that video of the girls? Clearly the other one didn't want to be filmed but the person continued to record. Why so rude? And why so rude to go ahead and post the video? It hardly had anything to do with chess. Stick with the chess boards and text. We don't need irrelevant videos. So many things wrong with that. 

  • 13 months ago


    For those who don't speak Russian.

    The arbiter's call.

    Two girls played. One from Leningrad (St. Petersburg). Another probably from Leningrad too, Letova Tatiana. Both from Leningrad.
    Pukhovskaya Irina. Yes, she's one of yours.
    Perhaps it's a custom of sorts? They're intelligent people.
    *The game's text dictated*
    Well... Well... so...
    I would... Igor, it's the same thing, the same thing.
    It's... yes, it's... yes.
    Can I publish this game in print?
    Pukhovskaya Irina vs. Letova Tatiana.
    I'll give them both half a point. First, I'll put down the scores for all other games, then for them. Now, I won't register their score.
    Ok... ok...
    Whose photos? Whoa.

    The girls' interview.

    - Ah, girls, so it was you who played such an interesting game? Very interesting. You shall see it in the Internet. It's all written down.
    - Oh, you have Internet here?
    - Yes, we do have Internet connection, we have everything. So don't worry...
    - Where exactly in the Internet are you going to upload this?
    - *some site*
    - Don't photograph us!
    - Why shouldn't we? You're clever girls, how did you come up with such a brilliant game? It's unique!
    - Well, we live in one apartment house...
    - OK.
    - ...we study under one coach...
    - OK.
    - ...and we're in the same class in school...
    - OK. And do you know that sport is one thing...
    - No!
    - ...and life is another, separate thing?
    - No.
    - I don't know what your coach would say about that.
    - Well, she's not here yet.
    - And when she comes up? What do you think?
    - She's at St. Petersburg now, she won't come.
    - OK. It's interesting. Good, thank you.
    - Well, we found this game in Chessbase. A short, good game. So we played it.
    - Good girls. Marvelous. What category do you have?
    - First category, with marks (for Candidate Master title).
    - First, with marks? Great. And what's your category?
    - First category with marks, too.
    - OK. Nice, girls!

  • 13 months ago


    so dirty

  • 13 months ago


    TQ SIR....

  • 13 months ago


    Sam Lloyd composed a 13 move game which was thought to be the shortest possible stalemate.  This was later played between 2 NMs in the 1961 Intercollegiate College Chess Championship.  There is a simple solution to this sort of duplicity.  A game with a prearranged result should be double-forfeited.

  • 13 months ago


    The shy girl is so cute!

    Thanks for the article, I've never seen a stalemate in 12 moves before.

  • 13 months ago


    I did this yesterday in my rated game! Opponent was so frustrated

  • 13 months ago


    this has never happenend to me yet, but if probably will some time!

  • 13 months ago


    Cute girls!!  If they want to make a draw they will!  Not to be trifled with.

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