Three Ways to Win a Chess Game

Checkmate. If your opponent is in check, and has no legal moves to escape check, he/she is checkmated, and loses the game. Once checkmated, it is too late for the opponent to claim a win on time, or to claim a draw due to both players being out of time.

Win on Time. If your opponent has no time left on the clock (his/her "flag has fallen"), you may claim a win on time (if you still have time on your clock). Note that spectators are not allowed to point out a win on time (or signal a player in any way).

Opponent Resigns. Players may resign (surrender) at any time. The best way to do this is to tip one's King over, rather than saying "I resign" which may distract nearby players. The desire to resign in a difficult position is understandable, but playing on in such a situations helps develop defensive skills, which are just as important as attacking in chess. Also, the player with the "won" game often becomes over-confident and makes mistakes, or may still lose on time.

Six Ways to Draw (Tie) a Chess Game

Insufficient Material. The following combinations can never deliver checkmate (assuming no pawns) against a lone King: 1) lone King, 2) King and one Knight, 3) King and one Bishop. A player must claim the draw, otherwise play continues (either player may still lose on time).

Draw by Repetition. If the same position occurs 3 times (not necessarily on consecutive moves) with the same player to move, either player may point this out and claim a draw. If neither player claims the draw, play continues (either player may still lose on time).

Stalemate. If a player has no legal moves on his/her turn, but is not in check, the game is over and the result is a draw.

Fifty-Move Rule. If either player makes 50 consecutive moves without moving a pawn or making a capture (irreversible moves), either player may claim a draw. If neither player claims the draw, play continues (either player may still lose on time).

Draw by Agreement. Players may offer a draw at any time during a game, but preferably immediately after making a move. If the opponent wants to accept the draw offer, he/she must do so before making a move, otherwise the draw offer expires. Draw offers may be repeated.

Both Flags Down. If neither player has time left on the clock, either player may claim a draw (unless one of the players has already been checkmated or resigned). If neither player notices, the TD may point out the draw so that the next round does not start late.

NOTE: to ensure that an unscrupulous opponent does not deprive you of your win or draw by debating the game result until your time runs out, always stop the chess clock immediately after the end of a game. In case of a dispute, this offers proof that you had time on your clock when the game ended.

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