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I played against an opponent a while ago, he was clearly a superior opponent and was up considerably in material. However, I ended up drawing with him because he put me in a stalemate position without realizing it. In a sense, I benefited from his mistake.
I immediatly rematched that player and resigned instantly, so it would register as a win for him (and so he would regain some of his rating). It was a matter of honor for me. I refuse on principle to draw against a player who has obviously defeated me, and If I would put in a similar situation as an opponent, I would refuse on principle to draw against an opponent I had obviously beaten. The entire concept of stalemate, although I can see how the situation would arise, seems to me illogical.
I personally fail to see the reasoning behind the stalemate rule. If a players king cannot make a viable move, but must make a move, then shouldn't it be the players fault, his loss? He ultimately allowed himself to get in that position (through his inferior chess play) where he must make a move, but in doing so would lose his king.
As a avid military historian, I enjoy considering chess as a metaphor for a military battle or campaign. If an enemies commander is cornered and there is no way out, then it is clearly a victory for his opponent, no one would dispute that. It is only through the technicalities of the rules of chess that permits this "stalemate" concept.
I guess these sort of posts pop up all the time, and I'm sure you guys must be bored of reading posts like these on a concept that has already been talked about to death, but still, stalemate seems to me to be one of those frivolous little technicalities that, in my view, serve to detract just a little from the general point of the game, which is to "win" the engagement, the chess game.
Whats your opinion?
I like the stalemate rule, espesically when I can use it to draw a lost game.
I think it adds a bit of interest and struggle to an otherwise won game. I usually resign when down material, but if I see a good swindle I'll try for it, and it has worked once or twice.
Awesome avatar btw.
I've had the experience many times - I've been up +20 and the next thing I see is "draw - stalemate" --
I don't mind the rule. I guess that a military analogy can only go so far. Chess is also a mathematical game and it's arguable that if one side can't move and hence the other side never gets a next move that it must be a draw because checkmate for either is mathematically impossible.
I think that stalemate should remain as it is because I want to win the game by actually winning it.
Sorry, bebop, I disagree. The goal of chess is to checkmate the opponent. The type of stalemate you are talking about has no check. (this as opposed to lack of material, i.e. K v.K).
In a way, the player that was winning has blundered by allowing it to happen.
I agree with TMIMITW that stalemate being a draw is perfectly logical. A game of chess is played between two players, who alternately make moves according to certain rules until one of them is able to capture the king of the other.
A stalemate is a deadlock, when one player is unable to move because there are no legal moves, and the other is unable to move because it isn't his turn yet. Chess makes no provision for players skipping a turn, so it is perfectly logical in such a case that neither player is capable of ever making progress (or making any move whatsoever) toward the goal of capturing the other player's king, the game should be a draw. Both players fail at the goal of capturing the enemy's king, and they both fail equally since they are both utterly incapable of making a legal move.
In chess technicalities, It makes perfect sense the concept of stalemate. If the objective is to capture the king, then the possibility of a stalemate makes perfect sense. However, and although many of you will disagree with me, I personally have always viewed the objective of chess is to acquire an advantage from an equal position that can lead to a victory. I place value upon the process of gaining and advantage, not the capture of the king, even though the former generally translates into the later.
And I guess this is why I fundamentally disagree with the concept of the stalemate. One player has, in my view of chess, "won" the game and acquired an overwhelming advantage through superior play. He has, in my eyes "won", long before putting me in a checkmate. I view the process of acquiring an advantage (strategy, tactics, skill) and maintaining it to be more important and more significant than the act of acquiring a checkmate.Even if the former does not always translate into a win by the strict technicalities of chess rules.
Now of course, if you gain an advantage an lose it to your own blunders, then it is your fault. However, I personally do not consider putting your opponent in a stalemate to be a fault.
Anyway, thanks for your guys's responses so far (though I'm saddened to see no one shares my opinions )
Look, there is intelligence in your opinions. If there is ever a change to the stalmate rule FIDE will use your arguments or ones that are close.
But I just can't agree. I like stalemate despite its frustration over the years.
I agree, the check rule adds a bit of "sportsmanship" to the game, you can't just bully your opponent around.
Chess is won by checkmating your opponent or getting your opponent to resign. That is what matters most.
People often try to assuage their losses by telling themselves that they "had a won game" or a "winning advantage", but that's often just a psychological crutch they use to comfort themselves at their loss. The point isn't to build up advantages, the point is to win. You might regard it as better to gain an advantage and then lose than to not have gained the advantage and have lost, but it's only better in the sense that it perhaps reveals the heights to which you can rise and how good you potentially could be if you played more consistently: it's not better in the chess sense, since the score of 0, 1/2, or 1 is what determines better in the chess sense.
That's my $0.02.
I agree with you Sapientdust. If a person who had a winning position but loses because he did not "see" something, lets say a potential sacrificial mate, then it still is a fault on part of the player.
However, I agree with you in every situation where players may use these excuses save stalemates. In the former situation I described, what this ends up doing is that you lose your advantage. In a stalemate, your advantage is not lost, you simply put your opponent in a position where he cannot make any legal moves, and when you think about it in that sense, you have, in one way, won.
Think about it, in a checkmate, your opponent cannot make any legal moves. In a stalemate, your opponent also cannot make any legal moves.
But again, thanks for all your guys's responses. I really appreciate it
Your advantage is lost in the stalemate case, because the advantage is exactly 0 when the game is drawn. The "advantage" only has meaning according to the rules of chess, and when you succeed in manoeuvring the board into a position such that neither player can make any legal moves and neither player can make any progress, there is no advantage left to speak of.
You HAD an advantage until you blew it all away by moving into a position with 0 legal moves. Speaking of the advantage you used to have before the stalemate occurred is like speaking of the advantage you used to have before you blundered a rook -- it's an advantage that exists only in the past, not in the present, because in the present, we play chess according to certain rules, and the rules say that there is absolutely nothing you can do to win the game, and thus there cannot be any advantage whatsoever when there is no chance whatsoever in winning.
That's my argument, at least, and I'm sticking with it ;-)
I do agree though that you still have an advantage if you're playing a variant of chess in which players have the option of passing on their turn, but that's a different game altogether.
I think the problem is how people explain checkmate. To me, the difference between checkmate and stalemate is that checkmate is the precursor to the legal capturing of the opponents king. It occurs when one player is attacking the opposing players king which by rule he is then obligated to protect by either capturing the attacker, blocking the attacker, or running away from the attacker. Because he can't fulfill that requirement with a legal move, the checkmating player has successfully followed the rule of trying to capture the king with his last legal move and the checkmated player must resign because he has no way to legally continue the game. Stalemate however is a different matter, because unlike checkmate, the player who stalemated didn't attack the opposing players king with his last move so as to obligate the stalemated player to capture, block, or run away from the attacker in a legal manner. The king isn't under attack and the stalemated player must make a legal move now, which it can't because there is no legal move available to him. This isn't the fault of the stalemated player but of the player who delivered stalemate because he prevented the game from continuing without delivering an attack on the opponents king. The game can't be finished because the stalemated player can't make a legal move to continue the game, and since he isn't in checkmate the stalmater caused his opponent no legal move in which to continue the game until checkmate is delivered. Because checkmate was never given to either player and there are no legal moves to continue the game, the game ends and is given the result of a played game where no checkmate is given, which is a draw.
Hopefully this makes more sense to why statemate is a vailid rule in chess. Stalemate doesn't always occur when one side prevents the other side from being able to move while not in check, it is also stalemate when neither side can deliver checkmate, so stalemate must be a valid rule or some games could possibly never end! :)
You may enjoy thinking of chess that way, but that doesn't mean that's the way it is. The rules do not exactly reflect military battles.
Interesting that you talk about your "honor" when you rematched and threw the game, while at the same time showing no concern at all for your opponent's honor by scarring his record with the cheap meaningless win.
I guess these sort of posts pop up all the time, and I'm sure you guys must be bored of reading posts like these on a concept that has already been talked about to death
Oh come on. For hundreds of years the goal of chess has been to checkmate your opponent.
Stalemate is not a checkmate.
Therefore stalemate is not the goal of chess.
Therefore it's not a win.
Call it illogical, but that's the way chess works. You might as well whine about castling or en passant because it's illogical... Heck, you could even write a letter to FIDE explaining your desire to remove knights from the game, because they make those weird hops.
Sadly this doesn't look like someone whining about how they drew a totally winning position, because that's usually how this discussion starts. Either way, it's the winning player's fault for blundering into the stalemate, or the losing player's gain for tricking his opponent into the stalemate.
Point is, don't question the rules of chess and just play chess.
I would like to complain about the rooks moving at all (I mean, it's supposed to be a building, isn't it?).
Hey, London Bridge moved all the way to Arizona. And they even had to build a fake lake to have something to put it over.
I think stalemate is a valuable part of the game, forcing the 'winning' player to prove that he has what it takes to capture the enemy king. For the losing player, being able to force a stalemate or any other sort of draw from a lost position is a tactic I think most chess players have tried for at some point or another, especially in tournament play when that 1/2 point can make a difference in final standings.
I know if I make a blunder losing material to a significantly weaker player, I won't resign right away, even if its clear that I've lost. Many times weaker players will then forget about the king entirely & gleefully run amok across the board grabbing as much material as they can, inadvertently leaving me with fewer & fewer legal moves for my king. But finally when they've captured the last pawn, they may not then know how to create a mating net. their own lack of understanding can easily lead to a stalemate when they can't get their pieces coordinated together.
Sure I could still lose, but since i've already lost, I may as well make them prove that they've won. who knows, maybe their flag will fall before they figure out the correct combination. if I can squeeze a draw from a loss, great. Winnining on time in a clearly lost position is still a win, although I probably wont be going over that game later with my friends
It's because of this, that, when I play, I replace the rooks with Hot Wheels cars. Otherwise I'd go mad!!