Draw claims are less frequent than before
Nearly all games today are played with time delay or increment. As a result, “quickplay finishes” (FIDE) or the notorious claims of “insufficient losing chances” (USCF) are mostly a thing of the past. The players decide the result of the game between themselves, as it should be.
Still, knowing how to properly claim a draw is important for a tournament player in two main instances:
- The 50-move rule
- Triple occurrence of position
Note that this is different from offering your opponent a draw — I’ll cover that in a future post.
Draw claims don’t involve the opponent. You call over the Arbiter or Tournament Director, who then makes a ruling.
You can only claim a draw on your turn, with two possibilities: the key position has already appeared, or your next move would bring it about.
The 50-move rule
If 50 consecutive moves (by white and black) have been made without a pawn move or a capture, a player having the move can claim a draw.
In both cases, it is important to not start your opponent’s clock! If you do, it is now their turn and you cannot claim! There are no retroactive claims; If the position changes into one where a claim is no longer possible, you’re out of luck!
Triple Occurrence of Position
If an identical position has appeared on the board for the third time, the player on move may claim a draw. The position need not recur consecutively, but identical moves must be possible all three times. When thinking of Identical possible moves, also consider castling and en passant.
Once again, do not start your opponent’s clock!
Write down your next move (if necessary), pause the clock, and claim. Do not play the move you have written down, and do not start your opponent’s clock!
May you always make correct draw claims!