Stalemate in 10 moves? (Or: How I learned to stop worrying and love the blunder)

Stalemate in 10 moves? (Or: How I learned to stop worrying and love the blunder)

FM Nemo_Nobody
Dec 23, 2014, 2:26 AM |

It turned out to my big surprise that a 10-moves stalemate is possible! Absurd, but possible. This was discovered by Sam Loyd, an American chess player and chess composer. I have no precise information on this, but at least some of the games below are following his compositions.

I really enjoyed these positions even though they are absurd, as every other move is a huge blunder. It is very obvious that both players are aiming to the same goal, and that goal is not a checkmate, but a stalemate!

Of course, using these positions on a tournament game raises different questions. However, one thing I cannot possibly deny is that the games are pure fun. Who cares about checkmates, anyway?



The shortest game I managed to find is from an U18 Championship in Sweden 1995.

I did not found this position played earlier, but there are few exact copies of this game in the following years. I also found the same motif with colors reversed:

Then, there is this 9th round game that ends in a 12-moves stalemate with all the pieces still on the board:

A very similar game was played one year later. Spot the difference:

And one more with the same motif, the same year:

There is of course more of the same coming in the following years. Going back to the 10-move stalemates, here is another stalemate idea:

And there is also this:

In the end, here is probably the shortest real game that ends in a stalemate in 27 moves:

I hope you enjoyed it!