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!