Some of the people I play against will never accept a draw offer, even in positions that are a theoretical draw.

I know it's a draw. They know it's a draw. But they want to play until:

  • Draw by stalemate
  • Draw by insufficient material
  • Draw by threefold repitition
  • Draw by the 50 move rule

In a recent casual game (i.e. no arbiter, no clocks), my opponent forced a stupidly long draw (49 moves with no captures or pawn moves, then 1 pawn move to recent the count. Repeat until insane).

My question is, why do some players never accept a draw offer, even in dead drawn positions?

  • 10
    Did you ask him? May 17, 2016 at 9:22
  • 1
    @RemcoGerlich Yep. Just a mumble of "never give up..."
    – user1108
    May 17, 2016 at 9:30
  • 9
    play with adults, not children.
    – Priyome
    May 17, 2016 at 18:26
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    It depends on the situation. Your recent casual game sounds like an extreme case. However, generally, in other games, I would tend to say the player who angrily demands the draw is a poor sport. Really, that's what the 50-move rule is for, so that you can claim the draw by rule. I do realize that this is probably not the answer you wanted. Twenty years ago, the U.S. Chess Federation piloted a rule that terminated all games after 175 moves. The rule didn't stick, but you want something like that. It is usually wrong to be angry with a player who chooses to exercise his rights under the rules.
    – thb
    Jun 18, 2016 at 0:10
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    One reasons is the opponent is praying for a blunder or time out, especially very short timings like 1|1 or 3|0 or 5|0, or because some endgames are only drawn with 100% play, which for some endgames are extremely difficult, your opponent might hope you are not playing perfectly.
    – Ariana
    Jul 9, 2016 at 11:50

8 Answers 8


I'm going to assume here you're playing against people you don't know very well in a park somewhere.

While you both know it's a draw, he's assuming that you don't know how to play it out or that you'll lose your patience and make a blunder. After you both have played against each other some time, you'll both know what you can and can't win against each other and he will offer draws out of his own initiative. Unless, of course, your opponent is very stubborn then you just have to put up with it.

  • 1
    I lose a pawnless rook+king vs. rook+king endgame due to impatience. I wasn't happy at the time, but it was a valuable lesson! May 21, 2016 at 10:17
  • @RebeccaJ.Stones Mine is worse, a queen vs a rook endgame when I can force mate
    – Ariana
    Jul 9, 2016 at 11:51

As a player who rarely accepts draws, I will try to explain why higher rated players do not take draws. For a higher rated player, even in a drawn position, the only two results are a win and a draw. Obviously, sometimes he loses, but that chance is much smaller than the chance that he wins. The higher rated player doesn't take a draw because he can usually get more from playing on. Secondly, the higher rated player knows that you will be frustrated if he grinds for the next 100 moves. Each move increases the chance you make a mistake, and eventually you get so bored of the position you make a mistake and lose the game.

Note: Don't offer draws against higher rated players unless it's three move repetition or a forced draw. Almost all of the time they decline, and you give them more confidence because it tells them that they can't lose.


Some people just have the psychology that they will not offer or accept a draw. Period.

A couple of months ago I was watching a game between a 2300 and a young (12 year old) 2050. I know the 2300. He doesn't accept draws. It's not a question of grading. Earlier he had a draw if he wanted against a GM. He played on and lost. In this game they reached a position where the 2300 had a perpetual check if he wanted. They both had about 1 minute on the clocks with 30 second increment. The 2300 didn't want the draw. He played another move instead. Now the 2050 had a perpetual. He started to play it. The 2300 deviated. Sharp intake of breath from the watching crowd. Two moves later he lost his queen and the game. He knows the 2050 player. He is not going to change. That's just the way he is.


It might be something players who know each other very well might do when they're playing casually, but I can't understand the reasoning of a player who just refuses to accept a clear draw. My mother taught me to play when I was very young, and I played a lot against her and not much against anyone else. I don't think we had very many draws, but we never ever resigned; we always played it out to the bitter end, even in positions where it might be considered rude not to resign. This wasn't something we really talked about, but it probably helped me a lot with developing my endgame play, and with identifying mating patterns. Against anyone else, I would resign if the position warranted it, and accept a draw if one was justified, but against Mum, I guess I felt like we both learnt more from finishing the game than from just ending it with an agreed draw or resignation.


There are many theoretically drawn positions which are difficult verging on impossible to draw without prior knowledge of the drawing strategy. R+B v R is a good example. But as a player who rarely accepts draws myself can you explain why I "ought" to accept one when I don't want a draw. If it's drawn then just demonstrate the draw and stop focusing on the opponent's behavior.


Some kids are taught to never accept a draw nor to resign. They insist on being mated. Guessing they dont expect you to accept a draw either.

I had one keep playing when he was down a QBN and insisted that I mate him. I only played that kid once.

If there was no money on the game (or rating points) I would just say I am leaving the game is a draw. GOODBYE and never play them again.

But are you sure it was actually a draw. An alleged expert came up to my game last week and said its a draw. I said it is a clear win for my side. NOTE: This was a fun game at the club.

I won after another 20 moves. Needless to say this expert is great at middle game sacs and attacks but he knows little to nothing about endgames.

If he would learn openings a little better and learn endgames he could be a NM or maybe SNM.


Might not be what you're thinking of, but mind games. I quote from the Wikipedia article on the World Chess Championship 2010:

Topalov demanded that the match be played in silence ... Anand replied that he would not comply, prompting Silvio Danailov, Topalov's manager, to say "If Vishy doesn't agree to the rules he will be forced to, because Topalov will not offer him a draw and he will not speak to him." [and by implication will ignore any draw offer by Anand]

See the cited source.

Somehow they still managed to draw game 10 by mutual agreement, but the rest of the draws all came from 3-fold repetitions.


Either they are higher rated and hoping that you make a mistake, or they are total patzers who will waste your time and play every single game out to it's final conclusion because they think it's bad sportsmanship to do otherwise.