6

I think this is a very noob mistake, but bear with me.

Sometimes I run into a situation where my opponent and I "chase" each other around, repeatedly checking the king and escaping the check by moving the king.

Let's say I'm the one getting checked. My opponent checks me, I then move my king to escape the check, my opponent checks me again, I move my king, etc.

The only way to get out of this repetitive cycle is for my opponent to choose not to check my king, but that's probably not going to happen.

What should I do in such a situation?

4

It's not entirely clear what you mean by "chase each other around", since in the scenario you describe, only one player is doing the chasing, and the other is being chased.

There are a few options normally available, depending on the position and what you believe to be the goal of the other player.

If you are about to win, and he is "nuisance checking" you to avoid giving you the time you need to make progress, then you can:

  1. Shelter your king. Ways to do this include taking refuge behind a line piece like a bishop or rook, and waiting for him to swing the piece he's checking with (assume it's a queen) onto that piece's line type. So, if you have a rook as the defender, he can't use a file or a rank to attack you, or you'll interpose. You could also try to make sure you have a couple of pawns in a short chain near the edge of the board as you transition into an endgame if the queens are still on the board; if you can reach them, you can often hide behind them, so he has few or no checks available.
  2. Set up a barricade. Find a square that two of your pieces control, and put that square between your king and his queen. When he checks you on a line through that square, put one of your pieces on it to interpose, as long as that piece won't be threatened by more of his pieces immediately. You can sometimes use another tempo to get the king off that line, so the piece is no longer pinned.

If you think he's actually trying to trap your king, make a mental note of a position that you think you can recreate by returning to it after one "loop" of the chase. If so, make a note of the 2nd time you return to that position. If all of the pieces are in the same positions (plus, the same castling moves are still possible), then you have a draw claim, due to 3 occurrences of the same position.

When you choose squares on this "loop", try to stay away from squares that would allow him to move a pawn to check your king. That would immediately reset the loop "counter". But once it happens, just calculate a new/updated loop, and keep trying.

Even if your king will have to wander far and wide for this loop to be completed, it's still worth doing, because if he genuinely doesn't have a win, it will end the game in a draw, rather than a loss.

Just for fun, here's the tail end of a game I played when I was rated 1264, and my opponent was rated 1841. I had to hold on for dear life for 76 moves but eventually swindled a draw, to the amazement of the entire club which was looking on while they waited for us to finish the last game of the round. The game was mentioned in the state chess newsletter, since although it was only a draw, I was the underdog by nearly 800 points, which made the odds of a draw practically microscopic.

I present the game here precisely because I was chasing the other guy around, and though he was up a piece, he couldn't find shelter. A perfectly legitimate ruse strategy to draw, I think.

[FEN "8/8/7p/6p1/1k1p2P1/3Bb3/2K5/8 b - - 0 58"]
[Event "WCC Quick"]
[Date "2004.03.19"]
[White "jaxter"]
[Black "Goldowsky, H."]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "E60"]
[WhiteElo "1264"]
[BlackElo "1841"]

1... h5 (1... Bf2 $142 $5 $17) 2. gxh5 $11 g4 3. Be2 (3. Bf1 $142 $5 $11 {should not be overlooked}) 3... g3 $17 4. Bf3 Kc4 5. Be2+ Kd5 6. Bf3+ {setting a trap} Ke5 7. Kd3 $5 Kf4 $4 {into which Black falls} (7... Kf6 $142 $5 $17) 8. h6 $1 $11 {This secures the draw} Kxf3 9. h7 g2 10. h8=Q {Attacking the isolated pawn on d4} g1=Q 11. Qa8+ Kf2 12. Qa2+ Kg3 13. Qg8+ Kh2 14. Qh8+ Kg2 15. Qa8+ $8 Kf1 16. Qa1+ Kf2 17. Qa2+ $8 {The queen has to navigate around the black pawn on d4, but because of the awkward placement of Black's other pieces, perpetual is inevitable.} Kf3 18. Qa8+ Kf2 (18... Kf4 19. Qf8+ Kg5 20. Qg7+ Kf5 21. Qf7+ Ke5 22. Qe7+ Kd5 23. Qd7+ Kc5 24. Qc7+ Kb4 25. Qb6+ Ka4 26. Qa6+ Kb3 27. Qb5+ Ka3 28. Qa6+ Kb2 29. Qb6+ Kc1 30. Qc6+ {and because of the position of the white king, black cannot enter the escape tunnel because of the threat of immediate mate.} Kb1 (30... Kd1 $4 31. Qc2+ Ke1 32. Qe2#) 31. Qb6+ Ka1 32. Qa7+ Kb1 33. Qb6+ Ka2 34. Qa6+ Kb2 35. Qb6+ Kc1 36. Qc6+ Kb1 37. Qb6+=) 19. Qa2+= 1/2-1/2
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7

What should I do in such a situation?

Shake hands and agree a draw.

If it is a serious game where you are writing down the moves and your opponent doesn't agree to a draw then mark the move on your scoresheet where the last time a pawn was moved or a capture was made, mark the move 50 moves on from that and when you reach that move make a draw claim under the "50 move rule".

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  • 1
    More likely a triple repetition will arise long before the 50th move. – Noam D. Elkies Oct 9 '16 at 17:29
  • This answer is incorrect, because you can claim a draw based on the threefold repetition rule. – wvdz Oct 12 '16 at 11:58

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