11- Draw rules
 

A draw is typically called when it appears that neither side is in a position to win the game. A player may either offer or claim a draw. If it is an offer and the opponent accepts, the game is declared a draw. If it is a claim and it is a valid one, the game is declared a draw.

The process for calling a draw should follow these rules:

  1. A player wishing to offer/claim a draw should do so as they make a move.

  2. The move must then be completed.

  3. Once the call for a draw is made, it may not be withdrawn.

  4. If the opponent accepts the offer, or if the claim is valid, the game is a draw.

  5. A claim of a draw that is made erroneously still may not be withdrawn; it becomes an offer of a draw and if accepted the game is a draw.

  6. Otherwise the game continues.

Disregarding the case where two players agree to a draw after making little effort to win the game, here are all the legitimate reasons for a draw in Chess 99.

#1. Lack of material

In standard chess, a draw may be declared when neither player has enough material to checkmate the opponent. The situation is somewhat different in Chess 99 since the capture of a king following a misplay is always – at least in principle – possible. However, players may consider such a scenario unlikely and agree to a draw.

  • Players may agree to a draw if neither one has enough material to force a capture.

Note that it would be considered unsporting for a player to refuse an offer of a draw when there is no realistic chance of winning.

#2. Lack of progress

In standard chess, a player may claim a draw if the same position occurs three times. Known as the “threefold repetition rule”, its purpose is to force the termination of a game when no progress is being made. (But it has also been used to draw a losing game when the opponent was not paying attention.) In Chess 99, that rule does not exist and in a game where no progress is being made, players are simply expected to recognize the situation and agree to a draw.

  • Players may agree to a draw if both players stand their ground and no progress is being made.

#3. Both kings are in check

Since it is permitted in Chess 99 to leave one’s king in check, a player may be in a position to capture the opponent’s king while their own king is in check, or would be in check following the play to capture the opponent’s king. In such a situation, the player with the move may simply claim a draw.

  • Whenever the player with the move is in a position to capture the opponent’s king, but the final result would be a draw, the player may readily claim a draw. (They need not make their move and capture the opponent’s king.)

Note the following:

  1. Since only the player with the move may claim a draw, the player who answers a check with a check of their own is not in a position to claim a draw at this time. (But the opponent is.)

  2. As indicated earlier, it would be considered unsporting to capture the opponent’s king in a draw situation. Should it happen nonetheless (possibly as a result of an oversight) the opponent may always reply in kind and capture this king to make it clear that this is a draw.

#4. The 99-move rule

In standard chess, a player may claim a draw if no capture has been made and no pawn has been played in the last fifty moves. The rationale behind this so-called “fifty-move rule” is to force the termination of a game where no one appears to have a realistic chance of winning. The fifty-move rule does not exist in Chess 99 but it has a somewhat similar rule whereby players are essentially given 99 moves to win the game.

  • A player who is making a move may claim a draw (as they make their move) if the following two conditions are met:

  1. The opponent has already completed 99 moves.

  2. Following the move, this player’s king is not in check.

Note the following:

  1. The 99-move rule does not declare a draw: It simply allows players to claim a draw.

  2. The first opportunity for black to invoke the 99-move rule will come on their 99th move.

  3. The first opportunity for white to invoke the 99-move rule will only come on their 100th move – i.e. after black has completed 99 moves.

  4. It would serve no purpose to carry on with a game when it has become obvious that no one has a realistic chance of winning by the 99th move. (The rule exists to force the termination of a game but in practice it should rarely be invoked.)

  5. The game does not end with the completion of the 99th move – it is technically possible to win a game in [just] over 99 moves.

  6. If no one calls a draw, a game could actually go well beyond 99 moves. However, it would be pointless to do so – even when the outcome of the game is still undecided – since the first player in difficulty will surely claim a draw.

Going beyond 99 moves:

We are on play #96 and black has the move. Black will win this game on move #100.

Moves: 96... b42  97. Ki1 b1  98. Kh1 b=Be4  99. Ki1 Ng1  100. Kh1! Bxh1(K)

(Click on right arrow to watch the endgame unfold.)

On move #99, black plays the knight to g1. For white, now on move #100, this would be their first opportunity to call a draw. But since they must make a move, and their king will find himself in check no matter where he goes, any call for a draw would be promptly rejected.

 

Note: One would reasonably expect white to simply resign on their 100th move – so that the game would not go beyond 99 moves after all – but if white insists, they may well play this game to the very end. Black captures the white king on their 100th move.

 

#5. The Pyrrhic victory (Its not actually a victory!)
A player who has lost every single one of their pieces and pawns may no longer claim victory. Should this player be in a position to capture the opponent’s king, they may still only claim a draw. (One single remaining piece however, even a simple pawn, would be sufficient to claim victory.)

  • A player with a lone king may never claim victory.

  • Should this player be in a position to capture the opponent’s king, they may claim a draw.

Note: In a single piece ending where a win is still possible (such as king and rook vs king), the superior side would do well to remember not to sacrifice their last piece in their quest to capture the opponent’s king.

The Pyrrhic victory:

In Chess 99, players must be careful not to sacrifice their last piece in the process of mating the opposing king.

Pyrrhic.png

Following the capture of the queen by black, white is now in a position to capture the black king. But since white’s king has been left without a single one of his pieces, the best that white can do at this point is claim a draw.

 

#6. Two lone kings (It’s an automatic draw.)

Since a lone king may never claim victory, two kings on an otherwise empty board is necessarily a draw.

  • When the very last piece is captured – leaving two kings on an otherwise empty chessboard – the game is immediately declared a draw.

  • This rule holds true even if one king is in a position to capture the other.