What is the longest known stalemate your opponent in X moves problem where the stalemate is a fastest draw from a drawn position? I.e. a win is not possible but stalemating your opponent so they can't move is and any other draw takes at least as many moves. Here is an example of a fastest draw stalemate your opponent in 2 moves problem. The pawn is on h6 with black to move.

[FEN "5k1K/8/7P/8/8/7b/8/8 b - - 0 1"]

1... Bf5 2. h7 Kf7.

Another example with the white king on e1 and white to move:

[FEN "8/ppp1p3/4p3/4p3/8/8/1pp5/brk1K3 w - - 0 1"]

Can anyone find a longer fastest draw stalemate your opponent in x moves problem than the 35-move one below?

  • Do you require the solution to be unique? Would your first diagram be acceptable (albeit much too short to be a record) if Black still had all the other stalemating moves but not the Bxh7 draw? – Noam D. Elkies Oct 4 '16 at 2:58
  • No it doesn't have to be a unique solution. – user11382 Oct 4 '16 at 3:02
  • 1
    That's what I guessed though "all other moves would lose" suggests you didn't even allow alternative stalemating moves. – Noam D. Elkies Oct 4 '16 at 12:49
  • Yes I didn't consider the possibility of other draws or even stalemates of equal length. They can be allowed. I believe the constraints I'm looking for are 1. The position forces Stalemate 2. The stalemating side has no winning strategy available and 3. There are no faster draws – user11382 Oct 4 '16 at 16:44
  • It is also assumed the opponent will not play moves that lose or draw faster. – user11382 Oct 4 '16 at 17:14

I can't speak to whether this satisfies the (rather awkward) constraints you've put upon the problem, but the longest I was able to find with a rather cursory search was 201 moves:

[fen "6K1/pn5n/2p3Q1/P1P5/Bp5p/p5p1/pbP3pr/rk5b w - - 0 1"]

White plays c4+, then continually checks the black king (who alternates between shuttling back and forth between b1 and c1 with the bishop on b2, and shuttling between b1 and b2 with the bishop on c1) while maneuvering the WQ from g6 first to capture the Nh7, then the Pb4, then the Nb7, then eventually to check black at g1 and force 29...Bc1. Play then goes 30. Pa6 Kb2 and White executes a zigzag up to g7, then checks on b7 (forcing 38...Bb2 once again), then checks on h7 and zigzags back to play 47. Qg1+ and force Bc1 again, taking another 'free move' to play 48. Kf8.

This same maneuver (zigzag up to g7, check on b7 inducing Bb2, zigzag to check on g1, forcing Bc1, then take a 'free move' when Black's best play is Kb2) repeats as White plays 66. Ke8, 84. Kd8, 102. Kc8, 120. Kb8, 138. Kxa7, 156. Kb8, 174. Pa7, and 192. Pa8Q; play concludes with Qd4+, Q-b7-h7-h6+, Qg1+, and 198. Qd2 Rh3 199. Bxc6 Rg3, 200. Bd7 Rh3 201. Bxh3 stalemate.

(This problem comes out of The Problemist, by CJ Morse.)

  • 3
    Can't White just win by 1. c4 Kc1 2. Qc2#? – Glorfindel Oct 2 '16 at 16:57
  • The stalemating side should not have a winning move available. – user11382 Oct 2 '16 at 17:35

The following thirty five move position is the longest position I could create.

White basically checks with four knights on c2 before blocking the black pawns with the king and knight on h1 while keeping the black king boxed in on a1. I tried extending this by adding another white knight on a3 to check on c2 but a black queen or black bishop cannot be added to capture on c2 since black still has eight pawns and there would be no square to place a black knight on to capture on c2.

[FEN "8/p1p2p1p/5pbp/8/qN1N4/4N2p/pr1r4/k1K1N2N w - - 0 1"]

  1. Nbc2 Bc2 2. N4c2 Rbc2 3. N3c2 Rc2 4. Nc2 Qc2 5. Kc2 h2 6. Nf2 h5 7. Nh1 h4 8. Nf2 h3 9. Nh1 h6 10. Nf2 h5 11. Nh1 h4 12. Nf2 f5 13. Nh1 f4 14. Nf2 f3 15. Nh1 f6 16. Nf2 f5 17. Nh1 f4 18. Nf2 a6 19. Nh1 a5 20. Nf2 a4 21. Nh1 a3 22. Nf2 c6 23. Nh1 c5 24. Nf2 c4 25. Nh1 c3 26. Nf2 h1=Q 27. Nh1 h2 28. Nf2 h3 29. Nh1 f2 30. Nf2 f3 31. Nh1 f2 32. Nf2 h1=Q 33. Nh1 h2 34. Nf2 h1=Q 35. Nh1

I'm sure this problem has been posed before, but let's see how far we can get. I assume White will try to stalemate Black as quickly as possible, and Black tries to stave it off as long as possible.

[FEN "8/p1p1p1p1/2p5/2p5/2p5/2K5/p3P1P1/k7 w - - 0 1"]

1. Kc2 e6 2. e4 e5 3. g4 g6 4. g5 c3 5. Kc1 c2 6. Kxc2 c4 7. Kc1 c3 8. Kc2 c5 9. Kc1 c2 10. Kxc2 c4 11. Kc1 c3 12. Kc2 c6 13. Kc1 c2 14. Kxc2 c5 15. Kc1 c4 16. Kc2 c3 17. Kc1 c2 18. Kxc2 a6 19. Kc1 a5 20. Kc2 a4 21. Kc1 a3 22. Kc2

White needs to go back and forth between c2 and c1 with his King, but can try to move his pawns forward to speed up the process. Black just pushes his pawns one step at a time.

  • Yes this is the kind of position I'm looking for. Here is another one [FEN "8/ppp1p3/4p3/4p3/8/8/1pp5/brk1K3 w - - 0 1"] – user11382 Oct 2 '16 at 17:38
  • 1
    Where did you find the verb "pendle"? I can guess the meaning from context but I couldn't find it in my desk dictionary or the OED. Is this chess jargon? – bof Oct 3 '16 at 6:34
  • 1
    @bof taken from my native language. As it is derived from the Latin pendulum I thought it made sense in English as well. – Glorfindel Oct 3 '16 at 6:40
  • 3
    Is a legal position required? Black has 8 pawns on the board; which is the pawn that started on h7 – bof Jan 26 '17 at 6:10
  • 1
    You're right, I overlooked that. It was intended to be a legal position. – Glorfindel Jan 26 '17 at 6:20

Thanks for the answers. The last position in the question is the record per The Problemist book mentioned. It is 26 moves.

Update: It is the record if white only has a king as noted below.

  • 3
    It's the record for a stalemate problem with White having no material other than his King. It's easy to extend by a couple of moves if we give White a bit more material. eg. add wNf1 and bQe8: 1 Ng3 Qb5(h5) 2 Ne2+ Qxe2+ 3 Kxe2 etc. – Noam D. Elkies Oct 4 '16 at 2:14
  • 1
    Adding the knight is an interesting idea. I was wondering if adding a white bishop on h1 and moving some pawns over to the h-file so they could be taken on h1 would help but adding the bishop helps block or capture pawns faster. – user11382 Oct 4 '16 at 2:22
  • Also hard to stop White from stalemating faster by shifting the Bishop to h3. – Noam D. Elkies Oct 4 '16 at 2:51

Here is a correction of Glorfindel’s position to make it legal, but at the unfortunate cost of one move. The h7 pawn is on f6. This sets it up one move ahead, costing us a move.

[FEN "8/p1p4p/2p2p2/2p5/2p5/8/p1K2P1P/k7 w KQkq - 0 1"]

1. f4 f5 2. h4 h6 3. h5 c3 4. Kc1 c2 5. Kxc2 c4 6. Kc1 a6 7. Kc2 c3 8. Kc1 a5 9. Kc2 a4 10. Kc1 a3 11. Kc2 c5 12. Kc1 c6 13. Kc2 c4 14. Kc1 c2 15. Kxc2 c3 16. Kc1 c5 17. Kc2 c4 18. Kc1 c2 19. Kxc2 c3 20. Kc1 c2 21. Kxc2

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