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Checkmate / Stalemate


If a player can not get out of a check by any means then it is a checkmate.


Consider the above position. Black King has a check from white Rook. There is not a single legal move that saves him from the check. So here Balck is checkmated. White is declared as the winner for trapping Black into a checkmate. White would get one full point whereas Black gets zero points.

Draw and Stalemate

Chess – like many other games- has draw. Both the players will get 1/2 points when it is a draw.

A draw happens for the following reasons.

1.Mutual agreement: Both players agree on terms that they want a draw.

2. Insufficient material: Both players lack sufficient material (piece/pawn) to checkmate the opponent.

3. Three-fold repitition: If a position occurs 3 times or will occur after their next move. The repeated positions do not need to occur in succession.

In chess, in order for a position to be considered the same, each player must have the same set of legal moves each time, including the possible rights to castle and capture en passant. Positions are considered the same if the same type of piece is on a given square. So, for instance, if a player has two knights and the knights are on the same squares, it does not matter if the positions of the two knights have been exchanged. The game is not automatically drawn if a position occurs for the third time – one of the players, on their move turn, must claim the draw with the arbiter.

4. Stalemate: If a player has no legal move and if there is no check, then it is considered to be a stalemate.

This is interesting because, consider the position below. Black to move but he has no legal moves to make even if he wants to. So this is considered to be a draw.



In the below diagram - though white has an obvious majority - it is a draw. And you may think that Stalemate has helped black to manage a draw in the worst position. But, that is not the case. It is the inability of white - who is not able to checkmate black, even after having 4 queens - which counts.

Here Black still wants to play, but he has no moves to make. So it is a stalemate and in turn a draw.



Checkmate: A check from which a King cannot escape.
Stalemate: If a player has no check and no move.
Draw: An understanding between players that the game is even.



Kids usually have the opinion that for a stalemate, one should only have a King which cannot be moved anywhere. You should get it out of their head by showing examples where stalemate happens even if a player has more pieces than just a King


Checkmate has a Check in its name but a stalemate has no check in it. This way kids can easily remember the difference between a checkmate and a stalemate




Let me know if I have missed any point here.


Sharath is a full-time chess coach, part-time web designer and a hobby blogger. He posts his chess articles on KidsChessWorld. Contact him for online chess coaching