The Draw - by repetition

The Draw - by repetition

It was a hard fought battle.  The electricity went out earlier that day at our church retreat in upstate New York and we were playing by flashlight.  The game must have lasted at least two hours.  Somehow during the course of the game, I was down in material and a bit fatigued.  Suddenly after putting my opponent in check, he moves, and then I move to place him in check again.  I realized that if I keep repeating this move he will not get get out of check without serious consequence and if I chose another move, I will have a difficult time mating him.  To the person who is up in material and/or in a strong position, a draw is a frustrating way to walk away from a game.  I used to believe it to be rather punkish; to offer a draw as opposed to heading further into battle, but there is a lot of strength in the draw. 

Holding your opponent in a drawn position says, "I am constructing a situation whereby I will not lose, and you will not win."  It is a declaration of armistance—I will not fight anymore, and there is nothing you can do about it. 

The strength in the draw is self-knowledge, or knowing your position.  If you are well down material and have little chance in winning, don't fight anymore.  Saving yourself from further loss is a win in and of itself.  There is a difference between courage and stupidity; so assess your position.

For the opponent who is up in material and/or position, this is a really frustrating and bitter way for them to walk away from a game.  As we all know, the time leading up to the draw in a build up of overconfidence—they had already begun to taste the sweetness of victory in their mouth.  Now, all of a sudden that victory is suddenly usurped from them and they walk away with no reward.

Below is a game used to illustrate a draw by repetition; it is not the game by flashlight referenced in this post.  Enjoy!


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  • 5 years ago


    Just want to say it's not easy to draw sometimes. In the first Kasparov-Karpov match- 1984 i believe, Karpov had built up a tremendous score. The object of the match was to declare a world champion when one of the players would be the first to reach 6 victories. Well the score stoof at one point 5 to 0 in Favor of Karpov . Then an amazing transformation took place. Kasparov managed to win 3 games, and drew the rest. Those games from that point that he did not win , he drew , So the match stood at 5-3 with a bunch of draws . Kasparov had made up his mind not to lose ! And from that point on he didnt! The match was never concluded. The Fide President, Florencio Campomanes, stopped the match not declaring any winner (if memory serves correctly) but allowing Karpov to retain his title, while also arranging for a return match between the two gladiators in a short period of time-i think one year later. Why did he stop it? I suppose sevral reasons- one the match was going on indefinately and they had been playing at a large hall and the goverment was paying for it and it was getting to be more and more costly, and 2) it is said Karpov was beginning to shows of  ailing- the stress and tension were affecting his body. It was rumored at the time that Karpov was in bad physical shape the longer the match went on and people were afraid for his health.

  • 5 years ago


    I agree with your blog. Indeed draws are much better than losing. One must carefully analyze the position as to if a draw should be an acceptable outcome. In this game your opponent a full rook up should perhaps answer Qb7 check with Kf6. It is a difficult call because he could get mated but it is not clear. At least not to me. It could still end in a perpetual check. Probably best for white is Rd3 if Kf6. No question however that you should repeat moves. 

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