The Stall in Chess: meaning, examples and how to avoid it - We already found out in a previous article why to play chess, in addition to being fun and socializing, it is also an excellent gym for our brain and we have also learned the basic rules that govern the game. Then we discovered that the game is basically a game of movement and capture of the pieces and we also understood that you don't win the game simply by "eating" (as we say in the current language instead of the more correct capture) the opponent king, but that it is necessary give it a nice "checkmate"; in practice it means that you must first attack (or threaten to capture) the opposing king by giving him check and then, if the opposing king cannot play any of the three actions (move, interpose, capture) that he has to escape the check, the mate is declared .
But the game does not necessarily end with the defeat of one of the two Kings, it can also end in a draw (or draw).
One of the conditions that determine the parity it is stall condition that frequently occurs solely due to inattention of the attacking player.
First of all let's define what stall is: stall is that situation in which one of the two players can no longer move e not is in check.
It is important to note that the color that must move is NOT in check because, if it were, it could be in a checkmate situation.
It is evidently a situation that occurs especially in the final when the material is reduced to the bone: maybe only the king is left or he is accompanied by some pawn. We hardly have a stalemate on the field with pieces other than pedestrians; in fact it is difficult to block a piece, but we can certainly find examples of this type even if rare.
Now let's see some examples in order to make it clearer what the stalemate is in the concreteness of the game.
Stall: example 1
Let's consider a very simple ending: that of King and pawn against King.
Using algebraic notation (see lesson two) we can reconstruct the following position where White moves.
White: Rd6, Pc6
We place the pieces on the board and then compare with the diagram below to see if we have placed the pieces well.
White moves and decides to advance the pawn. But why does the pawn advance? He does this because he knows that if he can promote the pawn to eighth he can replace it with a queen with a very good chance of winning (this is called “having a plan”!). Therefore 1. Pc6-c7 + which reads "first move White moves the pawn from c6 to c7 giving check".
1…. Pc6-c7 +
In effect, we move the pawn on the board and observe that effectively advancing the pawn by one step we attack (therefore we threaten to capture) the black king since the pawn captures obliquely. We know that when a color is in check, it cannot do what it wants, but can only choose between three actions: move the king to a safe square, place a piece between the checker and its king, capture the opponent's piece.
By checking we immediately realize that we cannot interpose anything (having no other pieces besides the King); we cannot even capture the pawn because we would enter the range of action of the white king who in turn could capture me, but we know that the king cannot never, never and when I say never, it means never voluntarily put oneself under the attack of an opponent's piece (the King can NEVER be captured! - sic - but only matted) and therefore the capture of the pawn is prevented (in practice, the pawn is protected by its King); I just have to move. Of course we play 1…. Rd8-c8 (which reads: first move the King moves from d8 to c8)
Now it's up to White again. He thinks about it for a while, then decides that if he moves away from the pawn he will be captured by the black king with a consequent draw (King against King: draw due to insufficient material. In this situation you can never go mate). Then play the only move that supports the pawn 2. Rd6-c6
Unfortunately now Black tells us triumphantly that he CANNOT move and is NOT in check and tells us with a liberating exclamation "stall" he almost shouts at him, hoping no more.
In fact, we can verify that Black has no safe houses to move to.
To White's consolation, we can say that the pattail fate of this situation was sealed from the very first move.
Deadlock: example 2
Let's now examine this second rather common case: It is a King + Queen versus King ending. It always moves White.
White: Rc6, De5
As before, we position the pieces on the board and check that we have done it correctly by comparing with the following diagram.
White can follow a reasoning such as "So to mate the black king I have to be able to get my queen on d7 where I check and the opposing king cannot move into a safe house and my queen cannot be captured because she is protected by my King. Yes, in fact if I arrive in d7 it is checkmate.
Well easy: I move to e6 and then mate to d7. No sooner said than done!
White moved the queen from e5 to e6.
Alas for White it is a serious mistake because the STALL situation has arisen: in fact the black King cannot move and is NOT in check. The game ends in a draw, with no winners or winners. Draw and tie!
So White with this careless move threw an easily won final to the winds. The stall is just the result of inattention.
You can also see this stalemate reproduced in the opening photograph of this article (on a chessboard made in India in carved marble! :-).
Deadlock: example 3
We see this last position after a move by White and verify that it is a stalemate.
Do you see that Black cannot make any moves despite the presence of several of his pieces on the board? So this too is one stall position.
How to avoid stalling
Avoiding the stalemate is quite simple: you just have to pay attention and stay focused until the end of the game! Do not rush unnecessarily and wait to rejoice in your victories only after they have actually been achieved and not when you are just "thinking you have victory in your hand!". Otherwise the stalemate will always be lurking!
How to look for stall
If you are at a clear disadvantage, stalling can be your last “secret weapon” to snatch a draw! … And sometimes getting stalled in a desperate situation can give you almost the same joy as you get in checkmate.
Also in this case, attention and knowledge of the most typical deadlock situations such as those presented in this article are the best way to reap all the benefits of this important chess rule!
My other related articles that I recommend you read are:
- Chess rules
- How to play chess
- Chess game and its benefits
by Andrea Gori