My friend played this game as white and wants to know how this is a stalemate. I do not know much about chess and both of us would like to know more about this rule.

k7/2Q5/8/P2P4/1R6/8/2P3PP/6K1 w - - 0 1

1.Rb6 1/2-1/2

3 Answers 3


Stalemate is defined as the player's whose turn it is to not be in check, & cannot make a legal move (black's only piece, the king, can only move to squares where it will be in check, which is illegal).

By playing Rb6 (or possibly Rxb6), your friend walked into that exact situation. Essentially, she blocked off all the squares the King could move to, which is stalemate (& the result is a draw). It might have been a mistake, or it could have been the best move given the situation.

Additional discussion beyond the original question

If there was a black queen on b6, your friend capturing (Rxb6) was the best move, because they would have to get out of check. They can capture with the queen, the rook, or the pawn, but all three lead to stalemate (a draw is all they can hope for here). If they try to move the king out of check, black takes their queen and has a tiny advantage going into the endgame.

Interestingly, if there was a black bishop on b6 threatening the king, the best move would be to move the king and give up the queen. A rook plus several pawns will eventually overpower a lone bishop in the endgame.

If your friend captured anything other than a queen or bishop on b6, that was a blunder that forced stalemate from a winning position.

If there was no black piece on b6, your friend also had the game basically won. They could have finished it with:

1.Rb8# (Rook moves to the dark square up and to the left of the Queen, and checkmate)

Another option:

1.Qb8# (Queen moves to the same square, and checkmate) among other moves.

The last two cases are perfect examples of how chess can punish or reward you in one move; you can be totally winning and then end up with what is essentially a tie because you messed up.

  • 1
    Strange answer. There are two possibilities here. 1) It's white turn to move : then it's not stalemate, and white can mate with Rb8 or Qb8 2) It's black turn, then it's stalemate. This answer assumes 2) , but it does not make that clear, and, further, under that assumption it makes little sense to say that he "could have finished it... " because you don't know which was previous White move. It might be that there was a Black Queen in c7 which the white just captured, for example.
    – leonbloy
    Commented Mar 17, 2018 at 2:49
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    @JossieCalderon: When this answer was posted, the question had a screenshot showing white's last move, Rb4b6. It was later replaced by a FEN which unfortunately doesn't have that information. Look at the edit history.
    – itub
    Commented Mar 17, 2018 at 19:37
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    @leonbloy: the original version of the question had a screenshot showing White's last move, Rb4b6.
    – itub
    Commented Mar 17, 2018 at 19:43
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    @itub THen it would be nice to add that info to the question.
    – leonbloy
    Commented Mar 17, 2018 at 20:12
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    @leonbloy, good point. I edited the diagram to show the last move. I hope it's clearer...
    – itub
    Commented Mar 17, 2018 at 20:17

Stalemate is a checkmate without check. The king is not being attacked but it cannot go anywhere. It is a draw.

If Black had other pieces (or pawns), he may move them - passing the move to you - and then checkmate is surely imminent by 1. Qb7#. If all of Black's pieces cannot move anywhere, the game is a draw.


Well, Black's king only has the squares a7, b7, and b8 available to it. Since the queen is guarding all three squares and black doesn't have any other pieces, it's stalemate.

If you don't know what stalemate means, either read desertdogv's comment or go to here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stalemate

  • 1
    This is not an answer
    – ericw31415
    Commented Mar 17, 2018 at 17:33

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