Quick chess lesson:For the time being we’ll skip check and checkmate, which you probably already understand, and move on to Stalemate.
Stalemate happens when it’s a player’s turn to move, he’s not in check, but he cannot make a legal move. The game is declared a draw.
For most of us stalemate is the result of simple carelessness, and it’s the most common way of coughing up a game you should have won.
Example: Black to move, and the only piece he has left is the King on h8. White has the King on f7 and the Queen on g6. It’s Black’s move, but he can’t make a legal move. Any square he can reach would put him in check, and thus be an illegal move.
The players might also have a bunch of Pawns still on the board blocking each other from moving at all.
It’s hair-tearing frustration when you’ve got the game in your back pocket but have to settle for a draw because you carelessly allowed a stalemate to occur. It’s something you have to think about as the game nears the end; and you can avoid it just by being careful about your moves. So don’t be overconfident and don’t be careless.
I expect you have some questions by now, about this and that and the other. We ought to address those before moving on to my favorite part of chess–the openings.
– Lee Duigon on February 8th, 2019
Stay tuned for Lesson Fourteen!