Stalemate

Technical questions regarding Openings, Middlegames, Endings etc.
Michael Jones
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Stalemate

Post by Michael Jones » Sun Sep 19, 2010 6:13 pm

It's a frequent theme in problems, but how often does it occur in an actual game? Obviously there are plenty of instances at junior level where players frequently fail to mate with K + Q vs K (or even K + 3 or 4 Qs vs K), but I can only recall seeing one in a senior game, one of my own (Kearney, David - Jones, Michael, Coventry League 2010: 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. g3 d5 4. cxd5 exd5 5. d4 Be7 6. Bg2 O-O 7. O-O c6 8. Nc3 Bf5 9. Bg5 h6 10. Bf4 Nbd7 11. Rc1 Ne4 12. Nxe4 Bxe4 13. Qb3 Qb6 14. Qxb6 Nxb6 15. Nd2 Bxg2 16. Kxg2 g5 17. Bc7 Rfc8 18. Bxb6 axb6 19. a3 f5 20. f4 g4 21. Rfd1 Bf6 22. Nb3 Re8 23. Kf2 Re4 24. e3 Rae8 25. Rd3 R4e7 26. Rc2 h5 27. Nd2 Kf7 28. Nf1 Rh8 29. Rb3 b5 30. Rd3 Ke6 31. Rb3 Reh7 32. Kg1 h4 33. Rg2 Ra8 34. Rc2 Ra4 35. Kg2 Rc4 36. Rbc3 b6 37. Nd2 Rxc3 38. bxc3 h3+ 39. Kf2 Ra7 40. Nb1 Be7 41. Ke2 Ra4 42. Ra2 c5 43. Rb2 b4 44. axb4 cxb4 45. Kd3 Kd7 46. c4 Kc6 47. cxd5+ Kxd5 48. Nd2 Ra1 49. Nb1 b5 50. Rb3 Ra2 51. Nd2 Ra3 52. Kc2 Ra2+ 53. Kd3 Ra3 54. Kc2 Rxb3 55. Kxb3 Bf8 56. Kc2 Bg7 57. Kd3 Bf6 58. Kc2 Bxd4 59. exd4 Kxd4 60. Nf1 b3+ 61. Kd2 b2 62. Kc2 b1Q+ 63. Kxb1 Kd3 64. Kc1 Ke2 65. Nd2 Kf2 66. Kd1 Kg2 67. Ke2 Kxh2 68. Kf2 Kh1 69. Nb3 b4 70. Nd4 h2 71. Nb3 stalemate). Interesting that, although there's a standard symbol for checkmate in algebraic notation, there isn't for stalemate, or any other way of ending a game for that matter.

We might see a few more now with the Sofia rules being more widely implemented and more games being played out to stalemate/repetition/insufficient material where previously the players would have seen it was inevitable and agreed the draw a few moves earlier, but most of those are likely to be standard theoretical ones with just a pawn or two left - eg Short vs Ni Hua at last year's London Chess Classic. Anyone got some more interesting ones?

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Stalemate

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Sun Sep 19, 2010 7:01 pm

Michael Jones wrote: Anyone got some more interesting ones?
Stalemates in real play tend to be sacrificial. You get plenty of examples in combination books and even in GM play, so it is not that rare. I once bamboozled someone into thinking that a position would be stalemate if he took a rook I had just sacrificed, and he accepted a draw, but I don't think that counts...

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Re: Stalemate

Post by Maxim Devereaux » Sun Sep 19, 2010 7:12 pm

I've got one fairly recent and banal one where an opponent, frustrated to have failed to put me away in a completely winning Rook ending, played out K+P v K to stalemate, which I'm not going to quote.

Two more interesting ones from rather further back, played only a month or so apart in 1999. The first one should be theoretically drawn anyway, so doesn't really count as a swindle. The second is much more interesting.

It's a regret of mine that I accepted the draw from Keith Arkell rather than play Qg5+ and force stalemate, especially since we were (far and away) the last game to finish in the last round of the Open, on board 2 (L.Cooper-Hebden on top board had ended hours earlier in a draw after about 12 moves, and I think Keith needed to beat me for outright first on 4.5/5), and had spectators ringed two deep around the board watching us slog it out. My miracle save was quite unexpected!

[Event "Rolls-Royce Open"]
[Site "Crewe"]
[Date "1999.02.13"]
[Round "2"]
[White "Devereaux, Maxim"]
[Black "Lamb, H."]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "D32"]
[PlyCount "93"]

1. Nf3 d5 2. b3 c5 3. e3 Nc6 4. Bb5 Bd7 5. Bb2 Nf6 6. O-O e6 7. c4 Be7 8. cxd5
exd5 9. d4 O-O 10. dxc5 Bxc5 11. Nc3 Bg4 12. Na4 Be7 13. Bxc6 bxc6 14. Rc1 Rc8
15. Bd4 Qc7 16. Bc5 Ne4 17. Bxe7 Qxe7 18. h3 Bxf3 19. gxf3 Ng5 20. f4 Ne4 21.
Qg4 {(=)} f5 22. Qh5 Rf6 23. Nc3 Rh6 24. Nxd5 Qb7 25. Qxf5 Re8 26. Nc3 Rf6 27.
Qh5 Qe7 28. Nxe4 Qxe4 29. Kh2 Rh6 30. Qg4 Rg6 31. Rc4 Qd5 32. Rd4 Rxg4 33. Rxd5
Rxf4 34. Rd7 Rxe3 35. Rxg7+ Kxg7 36. Rg1+ Kf6 37. fxe3 Rf3 38. Rc1 Rxe3 39.
Rxc6+ Kf5 40. Ra6 Kf4 41. Rxa7 Re2+ 42. Kg1 h5 43. b4 Kg3 44. Rg7+ Kxh3 45. a4
h4 46. b5 Rg2+ 47. Rxg2 1/2-1/2

[Event "Shropshire Open"]
[Site "Lilleshall"]
[Date "1999.03.07"]
[Round "5"]
[White "Arkell, Keith"]
[Black "Devereaux, Maxim"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "D07"]
[PlyCount "105"]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 Nc6 3. Nf3 e5 $5 4. cxd5 Qxd5 5. Nc3 Bb4 6. Bd2 Bxc3 7. Bxc3 e4
8. Ne5 e3 $5 9. f3 Nge7 10. Qd3 Be6 11. Nxc6 Nxc6 12. Qxe3 O-O-O 13. Rd1 $146
Qxa2 14. Qc1 Bb3 15. Rd2 Qa4 16. e3 f5 17. g3 Rhe8 18. Kf2 Kb8 19. Bd3 g6 20.
Qa1 Qxa1 21. Rxa1 Rf8 22. h4 Bd5 23. b4 a6 24. b5 axb5 25. Bxb5 h6 26. Rh1 g5
27. hxg5 hxg5 28. Be2 Na7 29. Bb4 Rh8 30. Rdd1 Nc8 31. Bd3 Rxh1 32. Rxh1 g4 33.
Bxf5 Bxf3 34. Rh4 Rg8 35. e4 Nd6 36. Bxd6 cxd6 37. Ke3 b5 38. Rh7 Rd8 39. Bd7
d5 (39... b4 40. Bc6 Rf8 (40... Rc8 41. Rb7+ Ka8 42. d5 $18) 41. Rb7+ Kc8 42.
Rxb4 Bg2 43. Bd5 Rf3+ 44. Ke2 Bf1+ 45. Ke1 Ba6 46. Rb6 Rf1+ 47. Kd2 Rf2+ 48.
Kc3 Rf3+ 49. Kb4 Be2 50. Rxd6 Rxg3 51. Kc5 $18) 40. e5 (40. Bxb5 Bxe4 41. Rg7
Rf8 42. Rxg4 Rf3+ 43. Kd2 Kc7 44. Be2 Rb3 45. Rg8 $16) 40... Be4 41. Rg7 b4 42.
e6 $2 $11 (42. Bc6 Rc8 43. Rb7+ Ka8 44. Rc7+ Kb8 45. Rxc8+ Kxc8 46. Ba4 $16)
42... b3 $1 43. e7 (43. Bc6 Rd6 (43... Re8 $6 44. Rb7+ (44. Bxe8 b2 45. Bc6
b1=Q 46. Rb7+ Qxb7 47. Bxb7 Kxb7 48. e7 Bg6 49. Kf4 Kc6 50. Kxg4 Kd7 51. Kg5
$11) 44... Kc8 45. e7 b2 46. Rxb2 Rxe7 47. Kf4 Bf3 $14) 44. e7 (44. Rb7+ Kc8
45. e7 Bg6 46. Bxd5 Rxd5 47. Rxb3 Kd7 $19) 44... Re6 45. Kf4 Kc8 46. Rg8+ Kc7
47. Bxd5 Bxd5 48. e8=Q Rxe8 49. Rxe8 b2 50. Re1 Ba2 51. Kxg4 b1=Q 52. Rxb1 Bxb1
$11) 43... Rh8 44. Rf7 b2 45. Rf8+ (45. Rf1 Bg6 46. Rf8+ (46. Kd2 Kc7 47. e8=Q
(47. Ba4 Kd6 48. Re1 Rb8 49. Bc2 Be4 $1 50. Bxe4 dxe4 51. Kc2 Kd5 52. Rb1 Re8
53. Rxb2 Rxe7 54. Rb5+ Kxd4 55. Kd2 $17) 47... Bxe8 48. Bxe8 Rxe8 49. Rb1 Rf8
50. Rxb2 Rf3 51. Rc2+ Kb6 52. Rc5 (52. Rc3 $4 Rxc3 53. Kxc3 Ka5 $19) 52... Rxg3
53. Rxd5 $11) 46... Kc7 47. Bf5 Bxf5 48. e8=Q Rxf8 49. Qe7+ Bd7 50. Qc5+ (50.
Qh7 Rf5 51. Qh1 Rf3+ 52. Kd2 Bf5 $19) 50... Bc6 51. Qe7+ Bd7 52. Qc5+ $11)
45... Kc7 $1 (45... Rxf8 $4 46. exf8=Q+ Kc7 47. Qc8+ Kd6 48. Be8 Bf5 49. Qd8+
Ke6 50. Qd7+ Kf6 51. Qf7+ Kg5 52. Qg7+ Bg6 53. Qxg6#) (45... Ka7 46. e8=Q $1 (
46. Rxh8 b1=Q 47. Ra8+ (47. e8=Q $2 Qc1+ 48. Ke2 Qc2+ 49. Ke3 Qc1+ 50. Kf2 Qd2+
51. Kf1 Qd1+ 52. Kf2 $11) 47... Kxa8 48. e8=Q+ Ka7 49. Kf4 $14) 46... Rxf8 (
46... b1=Q $4 47. Qa8+ Kb6 48. Qb8+ Ka5 49. Qxb1 Bxb1 50. Rxh8 $18) 47. Qxf8
b1=Q 48. Qc5+ Kb8 49. Kf4 $16) (45... Kb7 $4 46. Bc6+ Kc7 (46... Ka7 47. Rxh8
Bg6 48. Bxd5 b1=Q 49. Ra8+ Kb6 50. Rb8+ Kc7 51. Rxb1 $18) 47. e8=Q b1=Q (47...
Rxf8 48. Qd7+ Kb6 49. Qb7+ Ka5 50. Qb5#) 48. Qe7+ Kb6 (48... Kxc6 49. Rf6+ Kb5
50. Qb7+ Kc4 51. Rc6#) 49. Qc5+ Ka6 50. Bb7+ $1 Qxb7 (50... Kxb7 51. Rf7+ Kb8
52. Qc7+ Ka8 53. Qa7#) 51. Rf6+ Qc6 52. Rxc6+ Kb7 53. Rc7+ Kb8 54. Qa7#) 46.
Rxh8 (46. e8=Q Rxf8 47. Qxf8 Kxd7 $1 (47... b1=Q $6 48. Qc8+ Kd6 49. Ba4 (49.
Qc6+ Ke7 50. Qe6+ (50. Kf4 Qb8+ 51. Kxg4 Qg8+ 52. Kh3 Qh8+ 53. Kg4 Qg8+ 54. Kf4
Qb8+ $11) 50... Kd8 51. Qe8+ (51. Qxg4 $2 Qe1+ 52. Kf4 Qc1+ 53. Ke5 Qc7+ 54.
Kf6 Qxd7 $19) 51... Kc7 52. Qc8+ Kd6 $11) (49. Bxg4 $2 Qe1+ 50. Be2 (50. Kf4 $4
Qd2#) 50... Qxg3+ 51. Kd2 Qg5+ 52. Ke1 Qg1+ 53. Bf1 Qg3+ 54. Kd1 Bf3+ 55. Be2
Qg1+ 56. Kd2 Qxd4+ $17) (49. Be8 $1 Qd3+ 50. Kf4 Qf3+ 51. Kg5 Ke7 52. Qd7+ Kf8
53. Bh5 Qe3+ 54. Kh4 Qf2 55. Qc8+ Kg7 56. Qxg4+ $16) 49... Qd3+ 50. Kf4 Qd2+
51. Kxg4 Bf3+ $1 52. Kxf3 Qd3+ 53. Kg4 Qxd4+ 54. Kg5 Qxa4 $11) 48. Qf7+ Kd6 49.
Qf6+ Kd7 50. Qf7+ Kd6 51. Qf6+ Kd7 $11) 46... b1=Q 47. Rc8+ (47. e8=Q Qc1+ 48.
Kf2 Qd2+ 49. Kf1 Qd1+ 50. Kf2 Qd2+ 51. Kf1 $11) 47... Kd6 $1 48. e8=Q Qe1+ (
48... Qd3+ 49. Kf4 Qf3+ $4 50. Kg5 Qe3+ 51. Kh5 Bg6+ 52. Qxg6+ Kxd7 53. Qc6+
Ke7 54. Re8+ Kf7 55. Qg6#) 49. Kf4 Qd2+ 50. Kxg4 Bf5+ $1 (50... Bf3+ $1 51.
Kxf3 (51. Kf5 Be4+ 52. Kg4 $11) (51. Kh4 $4 Qh6+ 52. Qh5 Qxh5#) 51... Qf2+ 52.
Kg4 Qxg3+ 53. Kf5 Qg5+ 54. Kxg5 $11) (50... Qe2+ $2 51. Kh4 Qh2+ 52. Bh3 $18)
51. Kh5 (51. Bxf5 Qf4+ 52. Kh3 (52. Kh5 Qg5+ 53. Kxg5 $11) 52... Qxg3+ 53. Kxg3
$11) (51. Kf3 Be4+ 52. Kg4 Bf5+ $11) 51... Qh2+ 52. Kg5 Qxg3+ 53. Kxf5 (53.
Kxf5 Qg5+ 54. Kxg5 $11) (53. Kf6 Qh4+ 54. Kf7 Bg6+ 55. Kxg6 Qf6+ 56. Kh5 Qg5+
57. Kxg5 $11) (53. Kh6 $4 Qh4+ 54. Kg7 (54. Qh5 Qf6+ 55. Qg6 Qxg6#) 54... Qg5+
55. Kf8 (55. Kf7 Qg6+ 56. Kf8 Qh6+ 57. Kg8 Bh7+ 58. Kh8 Bg6+ 59. Kg8 Qh7+ 60.
Kf8 Qh8#) 55... Qh6+ 56. Kf7 (56. Kg8 Bh7+ 57. Kf7 Qg6+ 58. Kf8 Qg8#) 56...
Bg6+ 57. Kf6 Bxe8+ 58. Kf5 Bxd7#) 1/2-1/2

Jonathan Rogers
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Re: Stalemate

Post by Jonathan Rogers » Sun Sep 19, 2010 7:38 pm

I had a game against Nick Pert a few years ago where we had just king and queen each:

N Pert (White) King on d2, queen c5
Rogers (Black) king on b2 queen a2

Rather than agree a draw immediately, Nick played 1 Qb4+; and after baffling the spectators with a rather lengthy thought, I parried with 1...Qb3 and we agreed a draw. I had contemplated the more showy finish 1...Ka1 2 Kc1 Qc4+! but in the end did not trust myself to play it - there is no check after 2 Kc3, and although 2...Qb1 seems to hold I was tired and decided not to allow it ...

I was swindled into allowing stalemate by Ali Mortazavi in 1989, but only in desperate time trouble.

There have been a number of occasions when I have might have had the chance to play the following stalemate trick (worth knowing) -

White: king f2, rook g8, pawns a5, f3, g4

Black: king e5, rook a7, pawn g5

1...Ra5! draws: after 2. Rxg5+ Kf4, White has no good way of meeting the threat of 3...Ra2+

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Stalemate

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Sun Sep 19, 2010 7:57 pm

And there is that famous stalemate in about 20 moves or something, with all the pieces still on the board. If I recall correctly, that was played in a junior tournament once, and the arbiter gave both players zero! :)

Maxim Devereaux
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Re: Stalemate

Post by Maxim Devereaux » Sun Sep 19, 2010 8:16 pm

Jonathan Rogers wrote:...there is no check after 2 Kc3, and although 2...Qb1 seems to hold I was tired and decided not to allow it ...
The Nalimov tablebases tell us that Qb1 does indeed draw, as do any of Qe2/f2/g2/h2 :wink:

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Re: Stalemate

Post by Alex Holowczak » Mon Sep 20, 2010 11:45 am

Bob Clark wrote:
Christopher Kreuzer wrote:And there is that famous stalemate in about 20 moves or something, with all the pieces still on the board. If I recall correctly, that was played in a junior tournament once, and the arbiter gave both players zero! :)
Happened at Hastings one year in I believe the Main A Section, and your right both players were defaulted.
It surprises me that the arbiter would pay that much attention. Usually he'd just get a slip in a junior event that says 1/2-1/2, and that'd be the end of it.

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Re: Stalemate

Post by Alex Holowczak » Mon Sep 20, 2010 12:15 pm

Bob Clark wrote:It wasn't a junior event so both players submitted a signed scoresheet about ten minutes after the round started.
I can remember watching the late Harry Baines playing through the moves before deciding to default them.
Sure, I was replying to this: "If I recall correctly, that was played in a junior tournament once, and the arbiter gave both players zero! :)"

Quoted the wrong person...

Keith Arkell
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Re: Stalemate

Post by Keith Arkell » Mon Sep 20, 2010 9:40 pm

Last month at Coulsdon,before accepting my first loss to Colin McNab in 22 years(though many were draws to be fair) I set the following cunning stalemate trap - easy to fall for as it's not a position where stalemate screams out at you:
Black Rook c7,King e7,Bishops e4 and b4 ,pawns g5 and b5
White King e5,Rook b6,pawns e6 and b3.
I played 1 Rxb5,but Colin played 1...Rc5+ winning. He admitted to not seeing the move 1...Rb7 which appears to go two Bishops up.If he had seen it and played it I would have pulled off a stalemate after 2 Rxb4! Rxb4.Or if 2...Bf3 then 3 Rxb7 Bxb7 4 Kf5 draws in any case.
So no stalemate,but one that might have been.

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Re: Stalemate

Post by Ian Thompson » Mon Sep 20, 2010 11:09 pm

My best effort is this:

White - King: a3; Pawn: h7
Black - King: e7; Pawns: d2, e4, g6; Bishop: b3

The game finished:

65. h8=Q d1=Q
66. Qg7+ Bf7
67.Qe5+ Kd7??
68. Qd4+

and fortunately my opponent started laughing.

Geoff Chandler
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Re: Stalemate

Post by Geoff Chandler » Tue Sep 21, 2010 1:23 am

R.Austin - G. Chandler Edinburgh C.C. 1982

(not 100% the postion but close enough)

Image

Thought I'd be the clever one and played 1...Rxg2
intending to answer 2.QxR+ with 2...Rg8 dis+

He of course played 2.Qxh7+ ½-½. :oops:

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Stalemate

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Tue Sep 21, 2010 5:42 am

Alex Holowczak wrote:
Bob Clark wrote:It wasn't a junior event so both players submitted a signed scoresheet about ten minutes after the round started.
I can remember watching the late Harry Baines playing through the moves before deciding to default them.
Sure, I was replying to this: "If I recall correctly, that was played in a junior tournament once, and the arbiter gave both players zero! :)"
I've looked up the game now (or rather, the report on the game written a year later). I seem to have mis-remembered the bit about the arbiter giving both players zero (though from Bob Clark's account, it sounds like that has happened as well).

The game in question was A. Greet - R. Pert, Smith and Williamson Young Masters, 1997; Round 7 of the 'Masters' section (as given on page 21 of the March 1998 issue of Dragon, the bulletin of Cambridge University Chess Club). The game went as follows:

1.e3 a5 2.Qh5 Ra6 3.Qxa5 h5 4.Qxc7 Rah6 5.h4 f6 6.Qxd7+ Kf7 7.Qxb7 Qd3 8.Qxb8 Qh7 9.Qxc8 Kg6 10.Qe6 stalemate 0.5-0.5

Composed originally by Sam Loyd, I believe, and said to be the shortest possible stalemate from the opening position. Not sure if anyone has proved that, or if it is possible to prove it, but as no-one has ever found a shorter stalemate it seems to be the shortest known.

http://www.anusha.com/samloyd.htm

That link gives a position after 12 moves, still stalemate, but this time with all the pieces still on the board!

Tim Krabbé covers mutual stalemates in his chess column:

361. 16 October 2007: Sleepless in Tokyo

It is right at the bottom of this page (it would be nice if it was easier to link to it):

http://www.xs4all.nl/~timkr/chess2/diary.htm

You will have to scroll all the way down, but it is worth it if you like shortest-possible mutual stalemates. Krabbé recounts how Ken Whyld set this problem in 1982 and how different people gradually brought the record down to 36 ply (18 moves), a record held by the Italian composer Enzo Minerva. Not sure if this is still the record, but it probably is. There are some other nice mutual stalemates given in that column as well.

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Re: Stalemate

Post by Alex Holowczak » Tue Sep 21, 2010 10:52 am

Christopher Kreuzer wrote: The game in question was A. Greet - R. Pert, Smith and Williamson Young Masters, 1997
I expected it to be some Under 12 game at a local junior tournament, but two future IMs at a highly prestigious junior event! :shock:

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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: Stalemate

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Tue Sep 21, 2010 2:24 pm

It would be interesting to solve the problem of what the shortest stalemate is where neither side ever has a lost position.

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Stalemate

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Wed Sep 22, 2010 7:36 am

IM Jack Rudd wrote:It would be interesting to solve the problem of what the shortest stalemate is where neither side ever has a lost position.
I'll leave you to try that! :) Is it possible to have any sort of mathematical proof that these are shortest solutions, or is that impossible for various reasons? PS. Surely the starting position is already lost for Black? :wink:

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