Types of draws in chess

Chess is a complex game. It is a game which we enjoy playing, but once we start playing it practically, we realize we cannot win every bad position. Some times we need to aim to make a draw. A win gives 1 point, draw gives 0.5 and a loss gives 0. When our opponents are strong, we realize that at times we have to bail out with a draw. A draw is not a bad result. Especially if we are losing.  There are various ways in which game leads to draws in chess. Today I try to cover all of them.

Draws in chess by repetition –

When a both the players are not willing to make progress in their position, they repeat moves. In this way the game ends in a draw. This usually happens in Grandmaster games as when they feel it is difficult to win, they decide to bail out with a draw.

Draw with perpectual check –

This type of draw in chess is commonly seen in puzzles. When one side has missed a winning line and the other side manages to make a comeback by giving perpectual checks. Here the side recieving checks is not able to escape from checks. So the game ends in a draw.

Photographic Draws in chess –

This is a draw which a player has to claim. Lets say a game is going on and the position currently on the board has been repeated 3 times but not in a sequence on same moves, for example, a position occured on move 61, 68 and 72. This can be a draw if it fulfills following conditions

a) No pawn moves since the position occured first time.

b) No captures since the position occured first time.

c) In all the three positions, the same player had his turn to make a move.

d) No en-passent option was available when the position occured first time.

e) Casteling was either possible to a player /to both players for all the 3 times, or it was not possible to a player /to both players for all the 3 times.

If all these conditions are fullfilled, then one can claim a draw.

50 moves rule –

50 moves rule comes with a common myth. As 50 and 15 sound similar, a lot of beginners confuse it that it is 15 move rule. The 50 move rule is that in any position (not just with just king left on one side) where there is no capture or pawn move of  straight 50 moves, it can be claimed as a draw. It states that the winning side lacks the skill to win a position.

Stalemate –

Stalemate is often seen in begineer level. Initially a lot of people end up stalemating their opponents. This happens due to lack of technique. Once you learn proper techniques of how to checkmate with a queen or a rook, then you rarely stalemate anyone. Also there are a lot of puzzles to stalemate. It is a useful defensive skill. One can increase his level of resourcefulness with such tricks.

Agreed draws in chess-

This needs not much of an explaination. Here one player offers a draw, while the other accepts. This is usually seen in last rounds where players aim to win some prize with peace. It also feels good when you can easily make a draw and win a tournament.

Draw due to insufficient winning material –

Draw also occurs when a side does not have a sufficient winning material. There are a lot of positions where material is insufficient to win. Example, A single Knighr or a single Bishop, or two knights cannot checkmate opponent king with the help of their own king.

So these are some of the ways to make  draws in chess. Do comment if you found this article helpful 🙂



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London System – Basic guide

Hello everyone! We received a few comments which demanded an article on opening from the white side. Articles of openings from the black side can be found at the end of the article. So today, I plan to suggest the London system from the white side. What is the London system? Why is it so popular? for which level is it suitable? All these questions will be answered during the article.

My experience with the London system –

London system was taught to me by my coach Prakash Gujrathi Sir in 2009. The ideas in the London setup back then and ideas in the London system currently differ a lot. When I was learning the London system, I considered it as a perfect set-up as I got all my pieces out and it would give me an easy attack on the black king.

I got very good results in the London system. Later I started with more mainstream lines like Catalan etc. Whenever I played London system, It used to either give me strong attacking prospects or lead to a favourable endgame! Later when I switched back to London in 2016-17 I saw World Champion and World No.1, Magnus Carlsen, using it in World Rapid and Blitz championships.

Reasons why I like the London setup –

London system is a very systematic opening with all the pieces getting out quite quickly and also the fact that white always has an opportunity to castle on both sides. My usual style is attacking and to the extent of ELO 1600, this can be considered as an attacking setup.

Trends in the London setup –

Earlier London system was used as an attacking opening, then came a point from 2006-2014 where if white wanted a draw he used to opt for this setup. Post-2015 white has come up with a lot of new ideas which give white fighting chances. It is easy to misjudge the power and potential of this opening.

Top exponents of London system –

Starting with none other than the current World Champion Magnus Carlsen, followed by Gata Kamsky, Alireza Firoujza, Nihal Sarin, and many more. Magnus used it to win the World Rapid championship by beating Hikaru Nakamura. GM Gata Kamsky is a pioneer of this opening, I was fortunate to once face him in a blitz game on Lichess where he employed the same London system.

Let’s look at what the set-up is?

Above is the general set-up of the London setup. Here if you see, white has developed all his Minor pieces and is ready to castle on any of the sides. I have a friend who had a bad habit of moving the same piece until that piece got captured. So to break his habit I taught him the London setup and he achieved around 1500 ELO in rapid in the following 2 months!

Plans –

Once you achieve the basic position of the London setup, you can first decide whether to castle short and play according to the position or castle long and create imbalance.

Another plan is to play for e4 break and continue exchanging pieces followed by an attack on the kingside.

The setup is very solid. You can keep your king in the centre and play! I am not kidding here, I have played a lot of rapid games with success. I kept King in the centre and went for a quick all-out attack on the king side.






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Basic tactics in chess part 4- Discovered Check

Till now we saw tactics with all sorts of frontal attacks. Pins, Forks, Skweres, Double attacks. All of them were done with the attacker having one piece which attacks the target. Today we will see how to do surprise attacks in chess. Discovered check and Discovered attack

Frontal attacks are easy to expect and judge and also easy to prevent. Hidden or surprise attacks need to be predicted and for this, it is really a task for the defender to ensure that he is not on the receiving end of something nasty! In wars, a surprise attack was a common tactic that was done to dismantle opponents harmony of forces.

So, similarly, when you are playing a game of chess, the position is totally under control, and suddenly there comes a check which leads to either heavy material loss or direct checkmate. Discovered check and discovered attack is a lethal weapon in chess tactics. One must have a good practice of the same.

Discovered check and discovered attack is a theme where a long-range piece (Queen, Rook, Bishop) is behind a piece that cannot directly give a check or attack the targeted piece. For example, if the opponent’s King is on e8, And we want to give a discovered check from the same e-file, then the piece between the opponent’s and our Queen/Rook needs to be a bishop or a Knight or sometimes a pawn.

Positions –

Today we see a few positions on the discovered check as well as the discovered attack which will be followed by a popular opening trap! So let’s get started with the same –

Basic position of discovered check

In the above position, white moves his bishop and gives a check.

White to play

The above position arises from petroff defence which is a popular opening now a days. Also the position comes after a blunder from black side.

Black to play

Black can win material with a check. So check wisely!

White to play

Here white has a clear way to win Queen with a discovered check.

Again, white to play. This position pans out from French Defense advance variation. Grabbing material early on in the game is bad and here is a good example of it.

So lets see on how do we reach both positions where discovered check leads to decisive advantage.

Petroff Defence Trap-

I remember when I was playing chess in my club, Someone did beat me with this trap. I felt very bad but soon I got a few victories with the same moves!

1.e4-e5  2.Nf3-Nf6 (This is called the petroff defence while Nc6 protecting e5 pawn is also a natural reply.) 3.Nxe5-Nxe4?!(Already a dubious move. The correct reply is 3. …-d6 4. Nf3-Nxe4) 4.Qe2!(Setting a trap) Nf6??(falling in the trap!) 5.Nd6++(Discovered check as well as discovered attack on the d8 Queen) Be7 6.Nxd8 (Queen lost.)

French Defence Trap-

I have played french defence for most of my life and this opening trap is quite common. Beginners often fall for it.

1.e4-e6 2.d4-d5 3.e5(Here white has a lot of options like Nc3,Nd2,Bd3,exd5 etc)-c5 4.c3-Nc6 5.Nf3-Qb6 6.Bd3(A sneeky trap which is misjudged as a pawn blunder.)-cxd4 7.cxd4-Nxd4? 8.Nxd4-Qxd4?? 9.Bb5+!(Discovered attack on the Queen on d4!)-Kd8 10.Qxd4.(and black loses his queen and also the game soon.) Now lets see, how black could have correctly reacted. 7.cxd4-Bd7! and this move will stop Bb5+ in future and now black is ready to grab the pawn on d4. This is a theoretical position in french defence advance variation.

So you can try both the traps, They are quite easy to miss. I would love to hear from all of you regarding your opinions on discovered check themes.





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Basic Tactics in Chess Part 3 – Fork & Double Attack

Fork and double attack are the most common ideas in chess. When you attack two pieces with one move. When you attack two pieces with a knight move, it is called a fork. The double attack is when you attack two pieces with a Queen, Rook or a Bishop. There is no general reason for it. So let’s dive straight to the positions.

Nc7+! An amazing move to make. This is called “The Royal Fork!”. Its called especially when it attacks more than 2 pieces at a time.

Another position where bishop attacks the rooks.
The e5 pawn attacking 2 pieces at a time
White to play, spot a double attack
White to play,


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Basic tactics in chess part 2 – Skewer in chess

In our previous article, you saw the information related to pin, it also included how to use pin and trivia which will be answered at the end of this article. We also bring your trivia on today’s topic. Today we will see skewer.

The skewer is exactly the opposite of the pin. How is it so? As we know in a pin, the strongest piece is behind while a weaker piece is in front of it. Here the stronger piece is in front while the weaker piece is at the back. Let me show it to you with a simple example.

In the above position, the white rook is attacking the queen, and when the queen moves, the knight on a5 can be captured for free.
A few more examples of skweres –

Black to Play

Here Black starts with 1…-Qg8+ 2.Qxg8-Rxg8 3.Kf1-Rh1+ 4.Ke2-Rxa1.

Black to play

Here just 1…-Qh8+ 2.Kf5-Qxc3.

Skewer turns out to be a common idea in the endgame and a lot of endgames are decided with this trick. Let us look at the following examples.

White to play

A common way to win this position is 1.Ra8-Rxh7 2.Ra7+-Ke8 3.Rxh7

Black to play

Here just 1…-Re6+ 2.Kf4-Rxe2.

That’s all for the part of skewers.

Today’s trivia –

White to play

Answer to the previous trivia based on pins

White should not capture as it is a famous opening trap –

d4-d5 c4 e6- Nc4-Nf6 Bg5-Nbd7 cxd5-exd5 Nxd5?-Nxd5! Bxd8-Bb4+ Qd2-Kxd8 and black will be a piece up.



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