If a move reaches the 50-move rule and gives checkmate at the same time, does the checkmate take priority over the draw?

  • The answer on this thread is interesting too - can I suggest both threads be linked to each other
    – M.M
    Apr 5, 2018 at 21:53
  • Maybe all combinations should be tested against each other once and for all :-) Jan 7, 2021 at 18:54
  • Article 5 gives a comprehensive list and it is long: mate, stalemate, dead, flag, resign, fivefold, 75 moves, threefold+arbiter, 50 moves+arbiter, twice illegal(or illegal-like)+arbiter. Jan 7, 2021 at 19:00

3 Answers 3


Checkmate overrides the 50 move rule.

Fide Handbook Article 9.3:

The game is drawn, upon a correct claim by a player having the move, if:

a. he writes his move, which cannot be changed, on his scoresheet and declares to the arbiter his intention to make this move which will result in the last 50 moves by each player having been made without the movement of any pawn and without any capture, or

b. the last 50 moves by each playerhave been completed without the movement of any pawn and without any capture.

The player making the move that mates could claim a, but he of course won't do it because he is about to win. The player losing does not have the move after the checkmate, so he cannot claim the draw.

This interpretation is also confirmed by Geurt Gijssen, in his column An Arbiter's Notebook from 2006:

Regarding your remark about the 50-move rule: only the player on move is entitled to claim a draw, but he is not forced to claim it. So if the 50th move produces checkmate – the checkmate stands.

  • I also confirmed exactly this interpretation with FIDE Senior Arbiter, Stewart Reuben. Note that this aligns with the 75 move rule, which explicitly states that checkmate overrides the draw condition. It would be good if the questioner marked this reply by JiK as the correct one.
    – Laska
    Apr 6, 2018 at 1:12

You are allowed to make 50 moves to achieve mate.

If you make 51 moves, your opponent can claim a draw.

You do not make a move to create the move violation, if you have not mated or otherwise ended the game before 50 moves have been made, the player on move may claim a draw.

  • 3
    The game won't end automatically after 50 moves; the player having the move needs to claim it.
    – JiK
    Oct 16, 2015 at 17:04
  • 1
    Thx all. I've been making a chess GUI, and this came up, now I know how to handle it. Thx Again :) Oct 18, 2015 at 1:16

The FIDE later updated the laws, after which a duplicate question was inadvertently asked (by me) on this site. The answers to the duplicate are interesting, considerate and contradictory.

This suggests that, unfortunately, there may exist no common understanding as to what the rule in question actually means.

The irony is that players with opposite interpretations of the rule can perhaps agree that the answer you are now reading were wrong, insofar as each opposite player believes the rule in question to be unambiguous, but unambiguous in opposite ways!

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