Wednesday, 8 August 2007
How not to claim a draw
I had fun on Monday evening when I played Mick Tate in the County Championship. We simplified into an ending where I was a pawn up, but he had a bishop against my knight. Was it enough to win? I wasn't sure, but I was going to flipping well try! We played over 100 moves and it came down to Knight and Rooks Pawn -v- Bishop. I couldnt force a win but I tried to induce a mistake. By this time Mick was shuffling his bishop (ooh err) saying "Its a draw, this is drawn!" Then Micks time ran out (I still had a full minute left!). I didnt claim the win on time, although I could have done and would have got the point because I still had mating material. What should Mick have done? Well, firstly he should have offered me a draw! Stating that a position is drawn is not the same as offering one to your opponent. If I had turned it down, he could have claimed a draw (once he had less than two minutes left to the end, and as long as it was his move). The claim has to be that either the opponent isnt trying to win by normal means (not the case here as I was trying to queen my pawn. This usually applies where your opponent makes aimless moves until your flag falls) or that your opponent cannot win by normal means. That would be Mick's case here because Mick had got his King onto the right square and wasnt going to move it! Where there is no arbiter present (ie league games etc) the draw claim ends the game. Thats it. You send the position and a scoresheet off to the powers that be. If your claim succeeds you get your draw. If not, you lose! Remember, this is not an adjudication. Its not about who would win with best play. Its about what could feasibly happen. A draw claim is unlikely to succeed if there are still lots of bits on the board. But then again, if you're going to lose on time anyway, what is there to lose?!