At various times, even going back 100 years or more, people have been predicting the "draw death" of chess meaning that top players will get so good that every game will be a draw.

In the 1984 World Championship, this prediction seemed to be coming true when the players drew an exhausting 40 times. There was even one stretch in that match when 16 games were drawn in a row.

Now, that computers have exceeded human ability in chess, are they drawing more or less than top human players? Are they exhibiting draw death?

  • 7
    Certainly the most recent TCEC Superfinal(s) have had large draw rates (Season 8 had 89%, with 9-2 in wins for Komodo over Stockfish), even with "unbalanced" openings being selected to spice things up. Jul 3, 2016 at 13:20

1 Answer 1


For what it's worth, here are the rates of decisive games of the TCEC seasons 4 'til 8 superfinals. Season 4 is a bit of an outlier (maybe a rule change?), but after that the percentage of decisive games drops consistently.

Season 4: 10/48 = 20%

Season 5: 18/48 = 37%

Season 6: 19/64 = 30%

Season 7: 11/64 = 17%

Season 8: 11/100 = 11%

Arguably at an even higher level are the games in correspondence chess which are played with engine assistance. I'm too lazy to count all the decisive games in the recent decades of the correspondence world championships, but in 2003 the rate of decisive games was 32% while in 2013 (two games still running) the rate has declined to 12%.

2003: 34/105 = 32%

2013: 17/134 = 12%

These numbers indicate that there is a draw death in chess, somewhere north of 3200+ Elo.

  • 7
    How'd 3 years of new data change these numbers?
    – Allure
    Apr 26, 2019 at 2:12

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