What is Stalemate? | Chess Terms
Stalemate is a type of draw in chess!

What is Stalemate? | Chess Terms‎

13 | For Beginners

For players new to chess and even for some that have experience, stalemate can be a little confusing. Stalemate is a special type of draw or tie that helps the player that is losing! Specifically, it is a situation in chess where the player whose turn it is to move is not in check, and that player has no other legal moves to make. 

  1. King is NOT in check!
  2. No other legal moves to make!
  3. It is a draw!

Step 1. The King is NOT in check!

Stalemate, Chess Rules, Chess Terms

With the move Qc7, White creates stalemate and the game is a draw.

White's last move was queen on c4 to c7 - at first this looks like a powerful move trapping the king in the corner. The problem is the king is NOT in check and cannot make any moves. Since there are no other pieces to move on the board, this position is a stalemate! This happens all the time in scholastic chess. You can see why Black is happy about this situation. Instead of losing, Black gets a draw!

Step 2. No other legal moves to make!

Step 3. Stalemate is a type of draw!

It might seem unfair, but even if you are up a ton of material and your opponent is not in check and does not have any legal moves to make—the game is a draw!

Stalemate, Chess Rules, Chess Terms, Evans Vs Reshevsky

White seems lost, but... he can't move!

Again, two grandmasters (Larry Evans and Samuel Reshevsky) reached a stalemate position! It seems a little unfair since Black is up so much material, but that is the rule! It is White's turn to move, and the king is not in check, and notice how none of the white pawns can move! 

Samuel Reshevsky chess

Samuel Reshevsky giving a simul at the age of eight in France.

Stalemate is a great defensive resource to play for when you are losing and everything seems hopeless. Many games in chess history have been saved by this resource! Good luck!

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