It is quite frustrating if you were just going to win the chess game and then suddenly you encounter a stalemate! Right?
I actually faced this many times when I played and so researched all the tips and tricks that will help me to avoid stalemate in chess and win more games. Today I am going to share all these with you so continue reading till the end to get the maximum benefit.
Here are the 5 Best Tips on How to Avoid Stalemate in Chess:
1. Be very careful during the endgame
It is of no use to gain the material advantage during the openings and the middlegame but not utilizing that during the endgames.
You have to take extra care during the endgame because some silly mistakes can also cost you a winning match.
Just as you can see in above image, white is ahead in terms of material advantage (more pieces than black). But then also black’s king is safe on the square where it is standing.
Actually the black has no legal moves to make, also not in check. Therefore this gives rise to stalemate.
2. Don’t give much attention to less threatening pieces
During the endgames, it sometimes becomes tempting especially for the newbies to take away the easily placed opponent’s pieces.
But doing that can also give rise to a stalemate.
Now I ask you what will happen if the white’s queen captures the black pawn e6?
As you might have guessed already, the black king will get into a stalemate. Because the white king will be blocking the black king from the left side and now the white queen from the right side.
But the square the king is standing will remain totally out of threat. Also black’s pawn is blocked. So it clear that it will be a stalemate condition.
So always try to focus on the critical pieces than capturing rather the less threatening pieces. Capturing the less threatening pieces will divert your attention.
By this, you will not only lose a tempo to checkmate your opponent but also it might create a position that the opponent automatically gets into a stalemate.
This is because you made your moves in a certain way. Here the same thing happened as we discussed earlier!
You may like to read: Difference between stalemate and checkmate.
3. Drive your opponent’s king towards the edge of the board
See in order to avoid stalemate and win the game the best way is to checkmate your opponent. Right?
Now to checkmate one of the best well-known strategies is to cut off the squares of the opponent’s king and drive it towards the edge of the board.
Especially when opponent has only lone king, other pieces are not there or are blocked.
Because if the opponent’s king is in the center then it will escape every time we give it a check. And you already know that multiple successive checks will cause the game to end in a draw.
Here, in this case, white’s queen gives check to black’s king. So to avoid it black’s king d5 square.
Again white’s queen moves to b5 square giving check. Black will move the king again to the previous position.
Therefore white will move its queen to d3 but then again black moves the king to c5. So this mouse and cat race will continue.
White will not be able to get the black king out of the highlighted box. So ultimately it will be a draw (either by three repetition rule or the fifty-move rule).
Read Related: Why is a stalemate not a win?
4. But also make sure you give the king enough room to move
Now, most of the time using this strategy driving the king towards the edge of the board, there are high chances that we forget to give the king enough space for making its move.
This eventually gives rise to stalemate. Here, we are talking about the king and queen trying to checkmate a lone king. So, how to avoid stalemate with king and queen?
To avoid a stalemate with the king and queen force the opponent’s king towards the edge of the chessboard. However, also make sure that the opponent king has at least one square to move otherwise the condition of stalemate will occur.
Just think if in the above image, when white’s queen on d5 square moves to d6 square what will happen? Stalemate!
Yes, because the queen would then control all the squares of the black’s king except the one it is standing. Having no legal moves left, the player will not be able to avoid stalemate.
Also Read: Why do I always end in stalemate?
Now, I ask you what do you think will be the best move for white to avoid stalemate and win this game, just think and guess?
So to avoid the stalemate best move will be first to move the queen little away from the black king thus giving enough room to the black king to move.
- Here firstly white queen should move on f7.
- Then if black king moves on b8, white king should move on b6.
- On the other hand, if black king moves on d8, white king on d6.
- White king is necessary, in order to assist the white queen.
- So at last the white queen will move on to b7 square if black king moved on b8 previously.
- Or, white queen will move on d7 if the black king moved on d8 previously.
- Thus finally in this way white will be able to deliver the checkmate winning the game (by actually avoiding stalemate, right? )
This 4th tip I discussed here is very important and will be very helpful because this scenarios occurs most often in real chess games.
Also do you know that though queen is the powerful chess piece this is a great weak point of queen- causing stalemate situation.
Therefore sometimes a pawn is promoted to other chess piece but not to a queen.
You can check out this article wherein I discussed this topic a little more in-depth. Reading that will increase your chess knowledge.
Anyways, now let’s move on to our final tip.
5. Think ahead and anticipate your opponent’s next move
When you reach towards the endgame that is when your real test as a chess player begins.
Whatever decisions you take, whatever moves you make will lead you to either win , lose or draw the game.
Now at this stage it is very important to think ahead and predict the next possible move of your opponent. This will help you to take decisions more accurately.
By thinking ahead of your opponent, you will come to know what’s the motive of your opponent.
Like here, black is willingly offering its bishop to white so there must be same bait. So just think if you were white what do you think why black wants to offer its bishop?
Yes, you are right, because as soon as white’s king will capture the bishop of black, ‘Stalemate’ will occur!
White’s queen and rook are trying to attack the black’s king but the square where the black king is standing is safe and black has no other legal moves to make.
So black gets stalemated. Now what would be the best way according to you to avoid this stalemate?
If you said that white’s king (by not getting lured by black’s easily capturable bishop) should move elsewhere to get out of check, then attack with its rook. Then you are absolutely right.
So white to checkmate black, will first get out of check (not capturing bishop) will move to any of the available square (except on b3 because then it will again get into check by black’s bishop) and then will move its rook on g6 delivering the checkmate.
One of the key takeaways from this discussion is if your opponent is deliberately trying to lose its pieces then there are high chances that he/she want’s to end the game in a draw.
Final Words– All the tips I discussed with you here are very practical, that you can apply in your game. I am very confident that you will be easily able to avoid stalemate the next time you play.
Always keep in mind that chess is game where you have have to concentrate till the end. The moment you start losing the concentration, you start making blunders. So to avoid those blunders and silly mistakes always play the game with full concentration.
Another thing, chess is a game that requires practice much more than theory.
Knowing the chess is only half done!
You need to apply all your knowledge in real chess game. So go ahead and play as many games as you can. Then try to apply all the various strategy you already know and will know on the way.
I think that’s the ultimate way to improve your chess. Regarding how to avoid stalemate, just apply all the tips discussed so far on your games. You will definitely see some improvement.
So that’s it! Hope you liked reading this post. If this was useful then please do share with everyone.
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Hi! I’m Pritam Ganguly and I’m a huge chess enthusiast! I created this site to make chess easy to understand for newcomers, and also to help players of all levels of ability to improve their chess-playing skills. Read more about me here.