I played against a bot as a White and had this position. The computer claimed that it's a draw.

[FEN "2Q/k/3QP/8/3K/8/8/1N - - - 0 1"]

I thought it would be a checkmate because wherever the Black king moves, he will be captured. So, how this position is a draw?

  • I would have played Qfb8 instead of Qc8 here for the checkmate
    – ZenLogic
    Commented Nov 5, 2016 at 4:01

6 Answers 6


Two conditions must apply for a position to be checkmate:

  1. The player to move has no legal moves.
  2. His king is in check.

The first is true here, but the second isn't, so it's not checkmate.

When a player to move has no legal moves but isn't in check, it's called stalemate, and it's an immediate draw.


This is stalemate; you're right that Black can't move, but (unfortunately for you) in Chess this means it's a draw.


Just to add Black can't move their king anywhere without being in check. When you have a few pieces and your opponent only has the king left you have to be careful to always leave your opponent somewhere to move unless you have them in check.


This is a draw by Stalemate, which is just like Checkmate, except that:

  • Black's King is not in check.

if you had a Rook on A2 for example, the King would have no squares to go to, thus Stalemate,
but he would be in check as well, Thus, Checkmate!

In general, the best way to avoid stalemates is to look before every move, and ask yourself
Can black move anywhere? Is he in check?

That is a surefire way to avoid this unfortunate occurrence.

P.S. if you are really losing, a good idea is to try to fool your opponent into Stalemating you...

More reading:

Hope this helped!


To elaborate a bit on

I thought it would be checkmate, because anywhere the king goes he'll be captured.

This will never happen, though. A player must never oppose his king to attack, so he just has not a single move he can make. If it was ok to play an illegal move (moving into check), then he could just make any other illegal move at well, like capturing your king with his king, or capturing your queen - there is really no difference.

And as he's neither attacked, nor the game can advance any further, the game is drawn per the rules, which seems a natural choice.

Note that other chess variants (also Chinese Chess) might treat stalemate differently.


I know that this specific question has been thoroughly answered, but it's also a good idea to know all of the different ways to draw, of which a stalemate is just one. Repeating the same position three times with the same player to move is another. Perpetual check is a third. Exceeding 50 moves without a pawn move or piece capture is yet another. And a draw by agreement would also be another. Finally a draw also occurs when neither player has sufficient material to checkmate the opponent.

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