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:
Only the player with the move may offer or claim a draw.
Once the call for a draw is made, it may not be withdrawn.
If the opponent accepts the offer, or if the claim is valid, the game is a draw.
A claim of a draw that is made erroneously still may not be withdrawn; it becomes an offer of a draw and if accepted the game is a draw.
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:
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.)
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 given 99 moves to win the game.
The player with the move, as long as their king is still on the board, may claim a draw as soon as their opponent has completed 99 moves.
Note the following:
The 99-move rule does not declare a draw on the completion of the 99th move: it simply allows players to claim a draw.
The first opportunity for black to invoke the 99-move rule will come on their 99th move.
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.
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.)
The game does not end with the completion of the 99th move. Should black capture the white king on their 99th move, white cannot invoke the 99th-move rule to claim a draw since their king is gone. But if white is in a position to capture the black king, they may still do so – even though it would be their 100th moved – and make this game a draw.
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.
Claiming a draw:
On move #94, black played Nf3 and the white king is now cornered. The play continues as follow: 95. Ki1 b42 96. Kh1 b1=B 97. Ki1 Bd4 98. Kh1 Bf1 99. Ki1 Bg2
Although white’s king has nowhere safe to go, black has completed their 99 moves and white claims a draw. (Click on right arrow to watch the game unfold.)
It's most unfortunate for black since 95. Ki1 Nd4 96. Kh1 Ne2 97. Ki1 Ng3 and finally
98. Kh1 Nxh1 captures the king and wins the game!
#5. The Pyrrhic victory (It’s 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.
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.