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I just played a blitz game (5 minutes), and my opponent ran out of time, having a queen and a pawn left. Chess.com said the game was drawn by insufficient material. Is this official rules or is it unfair?
Official rules, use the search bar on the right for insufficient material.
Your opponent had a queen and pawn left, you had a lone king. Since your opponent ran out of time, the game was drawn because you did not have sufficient mating material. This is completely standard.
Sorry Xieff, they're in the right on this one.
I won on time. Standard tournament rules say timeout wins. He ran out of time because he was conserving time. Its not even close to insufficient material he just didn't have enough time to checkmate. And that is his problem. It may be official rules and I never said that it wasn't. I am just not used to the rules. I do think they are unfair though.
You can never win a game on time if you have a lone king. Never. It doesn't matter how much material your opponent has, it relates to you. Lone king=no win on time.
From FIDE's laws of chess:
Except where one of the Articles: 5.1.a, 5.1.b, 5.2.a, 5.2.b, 5.2.c applies, if a player does not complete the prescribed number of moves in the allotted time, the game is lost by the player. However, the game is drawn, if the position is such that the opponent cannot checkmate the player’s king by any possible series of legal moves.
The problem is that neither the USCF nor chess.com follow the FIDE regulation which is based on the possibility of checkmate "by any possible series of legal moves".
The USCF has the concept of "insufficient winning/losing chances", which they seem to incorporate into assessing the presence or lack of mating material. This assumes a "reasonable" defense, i.e. excludes the possibility of helpmates. That means that once a player's material is down to K, K+N, K+B, or K+NN, he is assumed by USCF regulations not to have mating material anymore (and as such cannot win on time, his opponent flagging resulting in a draw), unless he has a forced win from the position on the board.
Given that taking the last condition into consideration requires some analytic effort, chess.com (as far as I know) does not take even that into account, and considers a player whose material is down to K, K+N, K+B, or K+NN not to have mating material regardless of him having a possible forced win in the existing position.
"Obscure difference" #8:
"It is possible to lose on time in situations that are a draw under USCF rules. For instance, GM Nakamura lost on time with a king and rook vs. king and knight. Under the FIDE laws of chess, the game is drawn when one player runs out of time only if there is no legal sequence of moves by which the opponent could checkmate the player. Since there is a helpmate that allows a king and one knight to checkmate a player with a king and rook, GM Nakamura lost."
"USCF rule 14E (insuffient[sic!] material to win on time) specifies cases where the game is drawn even if one player runs out of time. One of the cases listed in rule 14E is the opponent having only a king and knight (and not having a forced win)."
This assumes a "reasonable" defense, i.e. excludes the possibility of helpmates.
-- Never assume.
But, if we are talking legal moves. Hmmm.
USCF regulations not to have mating material anymore (and as such cannot win on time, his opponent flagging resulting in a draw)
So instead of making chess a fun game, its forced into a legal sport and you instead of having fun moving around the board to see who runs out of time or other cool stuff, they just straight away say it is a draw?
I would personally just let whatever would happen, let it happen.
If we have no pieces to checkmate with, let the clock decide who had the better time advantage, other-wise you are sort of cheating the players even tho it is a draw. Don't assume it is a draw. Let it happen.
See what happens!
Take that off, and have Fun!
Let people keep on playing even if they have no "mating" material.
This is my opinion!
Since your opponent ran out of time, the game was drawn = Unfair.
In my opinion.
Once you lack mating material, you can't win anymore - all you can hope for is a draw, even if your opponent runs out of time. This is something that's accepted universally, the only differences are (as per my post above) what does and what doesn't constitute mating material under a certain regulation (FIDE vs. USCF, and some chess site's orientation on one of the former and its practical implementation).
Actually, if you had no mating material and your opponent (for some inexplicable reason) resigned, I'm not sure if the result wouldn't be 1/2-1/2 even then (as exceeding time and resigning might be equivalent in that regard).
What I personally find less-than-splendid is sudden-death (i.e. no Fischer-style per-move increment) blitz, where a blunt strategy exists to just make mediocre (but not horrible) moves in order to use up less time than the opponent - once both are under 1 minute, the time difference usually decides the game rather than what's on the board. It is very frustrating to go on to lose a game when having a won position just because the opponent has 50 seconds on the clock to defend (easy if there's not a forced mate in a few moves) while you have only 20 seconds to finish the game (very difficult if not impossible if there's not a forced mate in a few moves).
These "insufficient material" rules were instituted on the idea that the game could only be won or lost on the board, and not by an external factor such as a clock. The lone king is the easiest to implement; how can you lose to a king with no army? A lone king can never win unless the clocks are added, therefore the draw rule. The others we can debate, but on this it has to be--a king needs help to checkmate. And I'll tell you, the rule comes in handy when you are up big time in material, but way down on the clock. If my opponent has just 3 pawns left, and I have 4 pieces, my instinctive play is to take those pawns off pronto and get him down to a lone king so I can't lose. If he thinks it's a mating combo, he may use enough time for me to see the mate (if one is there), and if he dosen't think, I'll just prevent the loss by taking the rest off. You can use this rule to your advantage, too.
how can you lose to a king with no army? A lone king can never win unless the clocks are added, therefore the draw rule.
But there ARE CLOCKS.
So we should adjust the rules to suit the environment!
Why have a clock then?
So if I forced no mating material, that basically means I can force a draw?
Regarding assessment of mating material as per FIDE regulations, it looks as follows:
Omg dudes in USCF your opponent runs out of time and you don't have sufficient material you win. Because he could have mated me. He had the material. He didn't have the time and that is his problem. I do aggree that if both parties do not have sufficient material then the game should be drawn. But if one does then it comes down to time. Plain as crap. FIDE is FIDE, USCF is USCF. I do appreciate all the imput but I do play USCF. So I know.
The win is on the board or not--with a lone king, you cannot win. Clocks are not essential to the game. So we DO adjust the rules to suit the environment in order to GET clock wins--you can have an overwhelming position and still lose on time. That is not in the basic rules of the game, those are special rules for blitz. So when playing blitz, it is ON YOU to know what the rules are--the "universally accepted" rules that you don't accept--because blitz isn't the same game as OTB. If you had used your time more effectively in reality, you wouldn't have such a substantial material deficit. Your opponent took the time to work out the details while you didn't take the time to look for his threats, you just pushed wood to save time, and he should lose because of that? I don't agree with that at all--if he played that well to get that far ahead he shouldn't lose. And if you are using "time gambits" to gain a clock advantage then aren't you doing the same thing, using the clock to your advantage? Why can't he do that at the end of a game? I've been on both ends of this situation; it's just the way the game is played with clocks. Learn the rules of blitz.
Regarding assessment of mating material as per FIDE regulations, - I kinda stopped reading at this point.
Also Xieff. Simple eh? - They should just not rob people of their clocks.
Clocks count for something. Don't just give a forced draw.