How Many Checks Are Allowed In Chess?

Last updated

You win a chess game by checkmating the opponent’s king. But what happens if you are going to lose. In that case, you would definitely try to at least draw the game, isn’t it? And for that one of the ways is constant checks. But then, you might think about how many checks are allowed in chess.

As per the standard rules of chess, you are allowed to deliver checks as many times as you can until the same position is repeated three times or the 50 move rule comes into effect. If that happens, then the game ends in a draw.

But by reading this if you think that ‘Oh! Now I can deliver unlimited checks.’ then you are absolutely wrong. Most of the time when you keep on checking the opponent’s king continuously then there are high chances of the same position getting repeated 3 times or more.

So naturally threefold repetition will come into effect or in the worst case if that does not happen then the 50 move rule will surely come into effect and the game will end.

Ahead I am going to discuss all of these in more detail along with some common doubts that many beginners have related to this topic. If interested then keep reading!

What Is Threefold Repetition?

If the same position is repeated three times then a player can claim a draw in chess.

In chess, all the standard rules are followed as given in the FIDE Laws Of Chess. FIDE is the international body that manages chess competitions, rules, ratings, and much more. As FIFA is in football similarly FIDE is in chess.

In that, the rules are given in the form of articles. So as per article 9.2.1, a player can claim a draw if the same position gets repeated for at least the third time. And It is not necessary that this should occur by repetition of moves.

The claim is considered to be correct and the game ends in a draw:

  • As per article, if the same position (for at least the third time) is about to appear, the player has written this down in the scoresheet (that cannot be changed) and informs the arbiter about his/her intention to make the move.
  • As per article, if the same position has just appeared, it is the turn of the player to claim the draw.

Moreover, as per the article 9.2.2, positions are considered to be the same only if:

  • The same player has the move,
  • Same pieces (same kind as well as same color) occupy the same squares,
  • The possible moves of both the players are the same.

So, in short, if the same position gets repeated three times then you can claim the draw by this rule. In fact it is not important that these repetitions should occur in a consecutive manner.

As per Wikipedia, the threefold repetition rule is based on position and not the moves. So it is not required for a claim to be valid if the repetition doesn’t occur in a row.

What Is Fifty Move Rule?

In the game of chess, if no pawn movement and no capture has been made within the last 50 moves then the game ends in a draw.

As per the article 9.3, a game is drawn if the player having the move, has written it down in the scoresheet (that cannot be changed) and declared his/her intention to the arbiter that if he/she makes the move then it will result in the last 50 moves with no pawn movement and no capture or it has already resulted.

The noteworthy point is about recording the moves in a scoresheet.I have written an article about why chess players write down their moves on a scoresheet, in which I have discussed how important it is to record the moves.

During a chess game written records of your game are very important because if any kind of dispute occurs then you can immediately show that to the arbiter.

Now, after knowing these two rules it will be much easier for you to understand the concept of perpetual check.

See Related: Can You Checkmate Without Check? (Doubt Solved!)

What Is Perpetual Check?

As per the word perpetual means continuing or enduring forever; everlasting. In chess, perpetual check means a condition in which a player can force a draw by constantly checking the opponent’s king.

One of the common misconceptions that many players have is that they think there is a rule of perpetual check by which you can draw a game. But in reality, there is no such rule that directly talks about perpetual check.

As per Wikipedia, a draw by perpetual check is no longer a rule, rather it arises indirectly by threefold repetition or the 50 move rule.

Previously, draw by perpetual checks was considered one of the ways you can draw a chess game. But later it was removed as ultimately the threefold repetition or 50 move rule is only what comes into play.

Also Read: Difference Between Stalemate And Draw [Simplified]

Now I want to discuss one of the common questions that many chess players ask related to this topic.

Are 3 Checks In A Row A Stalemate?

3 checks in a row is not stalemate. Stalemate is a different thing that occurs when the king is not in check and the player has no legal moves. A draw can occur only if the same positions get repeated for three times in the repeated checks.

Stalemate is a special type of draw but it is different from threefold repetition. In a stalemate, the king is not in check. But to continue the game the player has no other legal moves left. So the game immediately ends in a draw.

Also Read: Why Do I Keep Getting Stalemate? (Reasons Explained)

Stalemate is often frustrating for a player who was just going to win a game but ended in a draw because of it. So chess players try to avoid stalemate.

Whereas, a player who is in a losing position will try to force a draw and stalemate is just of the 5 ways you can draw a game.

Final Thoughts

So that’s it! Hope you understood everything and your all misconceptions are cleared. If you found this article helpful then do share it with others.

If you have some more time to read then you can also check out these below articles. Till then Thanks, and have a nice day!

-> Is It Necessary To Say Check? What Happens If You Forget?

-> Can You Castle To Get Out Of Check? (Solved!)

-> Can A Pawn Check A King? (Explained)