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A position is dead when neither player can checkmate the other, no matter how their opponent plays. A dead position would automatically be drawn by insufficient material, but if only one player cannot checkmate, then the game would continue.

Timeout vs Insufficient Material[]

When your opponent runs out of time, your material determines whether you win or draw! If you have enough to mate, then you'll get the win. Else, you're drawn and out of luck. The logic is, if the game continued and your opponent was replaced with the worst chess engine, your success would rely on your ability to checkmate.

a b c d e f g h
8 a8 b8 c8 d8 e8 f8 g8 h8 8
7 a7 b7 c7 d7 e7 f7 g7 h7 7
6 a6 b6 c6 d6 e6 f6 K g6 h6 6
5 a5 b5 c5 d5 e5 f5 g5 h5 5
4 a4 b4 c4 b d4 e4 f4 g4 h4 4
3 a3 b3 b c3 k d3 b e3 f3 g3 h3 3
2 a2 b2 c2 b d2 e2 f2 g2 h2 2
1 a1 b1 c1 d1 e1 f1 g1 h1 1
a b c d e f g h
White can always move to a black tile if he gets checked. Insufficient material.
a b c d e f g h
8 a8 b8 c8 d8 e8 f8 g8 h8 8
7 a7 b7 k c7 d7 e7 f7 g7 h7 7
6 a6 b6 c6 d6 e6 f6 g6 p h6 6
5 a5 b5 p c5 d5 e5 p f5 g5 P h5 5
4 a4 b4 P c4 d4 e4 P f4 g4 h4 4
3 a3 b3 c3 d3 e3 f3 g3 h3 3
2 a2 b2 c2 d2 e2 f2 g2 K h2 2
1 a1 b1 c1 d1 e1 f1 g1 h1 1
a b c d e f g h
The kings cannot cross to the other side, it's a draw.
a b c d e f g h
8 a8 b8 c8 d8 e8 f8 g8 k h8 8
7 a7 b7 c7 d7 e7 f7 g7 h7 7
6 a6 b6 c6 d6 e6 f6 g6 K h6 6
5 a5 b5 c5 d5 e5 N f5 g5 h5 5
4 a4 b4 c4 d4 e4 N f4 g4 h4 4
3 a3 b3 c3 d3 e3 f3 g3 h3 3
2 a2 b2 c2 d2 e2 f2 g2 h2 2
1 a1 b1 c1 d1 e1 f1 g1 h1 1
a b c d e f g h
This game wouldn't be a draw because of the possible 1. Nf6+ Kh8?? 2. Nf7#

Draw Situations[]

  • King vs King
  • King + Bishop vs King
  • King + Knight vs King
  • King + Bishop vs King + Bishop (on same color tile)
  • Other situations (like the first and second examples)
a b c d e f g h
8 a8 b8 c8 d8 e8 f8 g8 h8 8
7 a7 b7 c7 d7 e7 f7 g7 h7 7
6 a6 b6 c6 d6 e6 f6 g6 h6 6
5 a5 b5 c5 d5 e5 f5 g5 h5 5
4 a4 b4 c4 d4 e4 b f4 g4 h4 4
3 a3 b3 c3 d3 e3 f3 k g3 h3 3
2 a2 b2 c2 d2 e2 f2 g2 h2 B 2
1 a1 b1 c1 d1 e1 f1 g1 K h1 1
a b c d e f g h
This position may be drawn or not depending on the definition you use.

Definition Variations[]

FIDE uses the definition at the beginning of this article.

In USCF, a draw happens when neither player can force checkmate. In that case, a king + two knights vs king would be a draw.

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