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Game of the Week: Tactical Draw?

Game of the Week: Tactical Draw?

Sep 30, 2016, 6:35 PM 6

Although we as chess players would love to win every game, sometimes in a competitive tournament setting, we have to settle for a draw. As annoying as they can be, we have to remember to play the board--not just the game board, but the leaderboard as well.

This week, I decided to analyze a recent game from an online tournament I am participating in. The round was already going badly for me (due to my timing out in TWO games out of six. I went on vacation forgetting that these are no-vacation games. ), and this game was the decider of who would advance to the next round. I could not lose.

After a major calculation error in the early middlegame, I found myself down a bishop; things began to look pretty bleak. But I took another look at the leaderboard: I couldn't lose this game and still advance, but I didn't have to win either. A draw would be enough to get me through. Of course, it was still possible I could squeak out a win, since it was only the early middlegame, but I decided not to take the chance. In the end, I managed to achieve a draw by threefold repetition. I advanced to the next round, and unfortunately for my opponent, he did not.

Here is the game. I hope you enjoy! Despite my early error, I was pretty proud of myself when I got this draw.

Before I end this post, I want to talk a bit about threefold repetition. I have a feeling that if my opponent had understood the rule of threefold repetition, I would not have been able to get this draw. It is a common misconception (I myself thought this until very recently) that both players have to make the same moves three times in a row, and then it is a draw. This is not, however, how the rule actually works. Threefold repetition does not have anything to do with moves. When the same position is repeated on the board, regardless of the moves that created the position, a draw can be claimed. My opponent played different moves between the repeated positions, probably believing that this would keep the game from drawing. Fortunately for me, he was wrong.

In addition, the repeated positions do not have to be consecutive (although they are consecutive in my game). If the same position occurs three times in the course of the entire game, a draw can be claimed. This is another commonly misunderstood aspect of the rule.

I hope you enjoyed today's article. Please feel free to leave a comment (or any questions about the threefold repetition rule) below! As always, I would love to hear from you. 

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