You might have seen the professional chess players asking for a draw or offering a draw. But do you know why do they offer it?
A chess game is drawn if a player’s king can’t be checkmated by any series of legal moves. Chess players calculate several moves ahead. So, whenever they anticipate such positions, they offer a draw. Also, they do this if they are tired or to avoid the risk of losing the prize money.
Ahead, in this article, I am going to explain to you all these reasons one by one along with solving all other doubts. So keep reading till the end!
Now let’s discuss the reasons in detail.
1. Offer A Draw When The Position Is Really A Draw
If you are new to chess then you might think why do chess players draw so much, right? This is absolutely fine!
Even at first I used to think like that.
In chess, a player wins by checkmating the opponent’s king. Checkmate means when the king has no legal moves left to get out of the attack. (If you want you can read about it in my article 7 Checkmate Rules Every Chess Player Should Know)
Actually, in chess, you win if your opponent resigns. (check out my article 5 Reasons Why Chess Players Resign to know more about it)
But sometimes the positions are such that no matter what you and your opponent do, you both would keep chasing each other but couldn’t checkmate the king by any series of legal moves.
Such positions are considered as a draw. One of them is a stalemate and another is having insufficient material to checkmate the king.
Stalemate is a situation that occurs when the player’s king is not in check but the player doesn’t have any legal moves left to continue the game.
Isn’t this is a special case? Generally, if the king is not in check then you would think that player should continue making the moves.
But in case of stalemate there are no moves left. This is because the king is completely blocked. Here’s an image to explain this concept.
You cannot move the king to any other square because then would be in check which illegal. Moreover, if you think about other pieces then they may be blocked or are already exchanged.
I have already written an article, Difference Between Stalemate And Draw [Simplified], in that, I have talked about all these in more detail. You can check that out for further reference.
Having Insufficient Mating Material:
Insufficient mating material means you don’t have enough chess pieces to checkmate the king.
Just suppose that you and your friend start playing chess. But then all your pieces are exchanged and at the end, you both are left with only the king. Then can you win?
Obviously no, because a king can’t capture or deliver check to another king. I have talked about this more in my article Can A King Kill A King In Chess? (Explained) which you can check out for further reference.
So basically you both are having insufficient material to checkmate each other. This happens not just with King vs King. But also with other combinations like,
- King And A Knight vs King,
- King And Two Knights vs King,
- King and A Bishop vs King.
So in all these cases, the game is automatically drawn.
Now just think, why you should play if you already know that game is heading towards a drawn position.
The point is that players that are more professionals are capable of anticipating such positions and offer a draw.
But amateurs are not that accurate and so they offer a draw and afterward realize that they could have won the game.
If you want to know the exact procedure of offering a draw, when should you offer a draw, and a much more, then check out my detailed article How To Offer And Accept A Draw In Chess: Helpful Guide
2. Offer A Draw When They Are Tired
Just imagine that you have to play a series of chess in a day and all of them you have to play very seriously otherwise you may lose.
Now some games are so long that you will get totally exhausted. But what if you have to play another chess game.
Would you be able to play chess with that much efficiency exactly as before?
So, chess players, if they think that the game is going towards the drawn position, and offering a draw would not cost them much, then they offer a draw.
This not only saves their time and energy but also helps to prepare for the next game.
3. Financial Reasons Behind Draw Offers
Generally, in chess, if you win a chess tournament then you get the prize money which is sometimes huge.
Now just think that you have scored enough points and already going to win the prize. But before that, you would have to play a game.
If you win this game then no problem or at least draw then you will get some money. But what happens in case if you lose the game and such a scenario occur that you couldn’t get any money because of that loss.
Wouldn’t you play avoiding any kind of risks like that? So professional chess players especially those who rely mainly on the prize money as their major income source, prefer to offer a draw.
Here’s a video by ChessBase India in which an unemployed grandmaster shares his hardships and difficulties he has to face in his chess career.
He also explains how he has to end the games in safe draws so that he can get some monetary support and continue his career. Watch the complete video to know more.
Is A Draw In Chess Good?
From a spectator’s point of view, draw in chess is not so good because ultimately everyone watches a game for entertainment, to see the fight between the chess players. But if the chess players just settle for a draw then it makes the game boring for the viewers.
Yes, we all know that draw is part of a chess game. There are certain positions in which neither player can do much and so have to settle for a draw.
But already chess doesn’t attract so many people because it misses that entertaining element for an outsider compared to other games like soccer and basketball.
In chess both the players sit down and keep playing silently. Everything happens in mind so there is no such super interesting element that would attract a layman. (I hope you are getting my point!)
Only viewers who know about chess and are very enthusiastic about it like to watch the game. Now on top of that if chess games start ending in a draw frequently then how badly would it impact the viewership, isn’t it?
Therefore several measures have been taken to reduce the number of draws in chess. Many tournaments have made certain rules to reduce the occurrence of draw.
Some chess games are played for long hours and if that ends in a draw. Would you ever like to watch this kind of game again?
Hence fast format chess games are introduced so that they can attract more viewers and in return get more sponsorship.
Why Do Grandmasters Draw So Much?
Grandmasters can analyze the positions better than other players so if they notice that the game is heading towards a draw position, then they draw to save time and energy. Sometimes they also draw to play safe because of financial reasons.
I have already discussed the financial reason for offering a draw ahead, so no need to talk about it again. But I want to mention that there are also other types of draws occurring in a game.
Not just grandmasters, but all other chess players also end their game in a draw if any of them occurs in a game.
They are: draw by threefold repetition, draw by 50 move rule, draw by fivefold repetition, draw by 75 move rule.
Here Are Some Chess Draw Rules In Brief
- Threefold repetition rule: If the same position is repeated three times then the player having the move can claim a draw.
- 50 move rule: If no pawn movement and capture has been made within the last 50 moves then the player having the move can claim a draw.
- Fivefold repetition rule: If the same position is repeated for at least five times then the game is drawn.
- 75 move rule: If no pawn movement and capture has been made within the last 75 moves, then the player having the move can claim a draw.
In three-fold repetition and the 50 move rule, chess players can claim for a draw. But if they forget then the game doesn’t end in a draw automatically.
That’s why new rules, draw by fivefold repetition and the draw by 75 move rule was introduced. This prevents the chess game to be played forever.
As per them as soon as they occur the arbiter (referee in a chess game) can come and declare the game as a draw.
All these 4 draw rules I have discussed in this article, in a bit more detail. So you can check that out for further reference.
And wait! Do you want some gift ideas for chess lovers? Then check out this article by me: 15 Best Funny Chess Gift Ideas That Will Make You Smile!
So that’s it! Hope you found this article helpful. If you liked reading this article then also share it with others. Interested to read more? Then also check out these articles written by that will help you to clear some of your doubts.
Thanks! Have a nice day!
Hi! I’m Pritam and I’m a huge chess enthusiast! I know the actual problems that chess players face. 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.