When do you accept a draw?

Feb 7, 2009, 12:48 PM |

This is another one of those common questions I hear when working with students. 

When I am considering a draw offer made by my opponent I look at the overall position.  I ask myself, what would need to happen for me to loose this game? I don't assess the position from "Am I winning?" or "Am I missing a strong move?"

You first must know if you could lose the game by not accepting the draw.  Once you have determined what your loosing chances are you can begin to analyze a couple other factors.

Are you in time trouble?  Is your opponent in time trouble? Are you heading towards a book drawn position? Have you repeated moves? 

Sometimes you might have to visualize your opponents pieces in new positions in order to conjure up a loss.  You don't have to see how your opponent is going to make those moves, just if the position arrived would you take a draw once you got there.

Accepting a draw from a stronger player or higher ranked player is typically a good idea unless you feel you might learn something by playing the position further.

When I play stronger players I try to learn as much as I can from the game (while in progress).  So even though I might be in an inferior position I may play on to learn technique ideas.  Once I arrive at a position that I could win from their position, then I resign.