In the latest FIDE Laws of Chess the arbiter is supposed to step in and declare the game drawn if 75 moves are played by both sides with no captures and no pawn moves.

It would be understandable if this happened in blitz or rapid where the players are not recording the moves. It would also be understandable in games played by weaker player who may not know the rules.

Has it ever happened in a game of standard chess with a 30 second increment where the players have to record the moves and where at least one of the players is a GM?

  • 1
    Wait, isn't it 50 moves?
    – Pedro A
    Oct 23 '19 at 23:48


[Event "Northumbria Masters"]
[Site "Newcastle"]
[Date "2018.02.18"]
[Round "8"]
[White "Britton, Richard L"]
[Black "Hebden GM, Mark L"]
[ECO "C89"]
[WhiteElo "2255"]
[BlackElo "2454"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[fen ""]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 O-O 8. c3 d6 9. h3 Nb8 10. d4 Nbd7 11. Nbd2 Bb7 12. Bc2 Re8 13. Nf1 Bf8 14. Ng3 g6 15. a4 c5 16. d5 c4 17. Bg5 Nc5 18. Qd2 Be7 19. Be3 Qc7 20. Rf1 bxa4 21. Bxc5 Qxc5 22. Rxa4 a5 23. Rfa1 Nd7 24. h4 Qc7 25. h5 Nc5 26. R4a3 Reb8 27. Qc1 Bc8 28. Nf1 Bg4 29. N1h2 Bd7 30. Nf1 a4 31. Ne3 Bb5 32. g3 Qd8 33. Kg2 Rb7 34. Qd2 Rab8 35. Rh1 Qc8 36. Raa1 Bd7 37. hxg6 fxg6 38. Nxc4 Bg4 39. Ne1 Nxe4 40. Bxe4 Qxc4 41. Qd3 Qxd3 42. Nxd3 Bd7 43. Nb4 Rxb4 44. cxb4 Rxb4 45. Bc2 Rxb2 46. Bxa4 Bf5 47. Rhe1 Bg5 48. Bd1 Bd2 49. Ra8+ Kg7 50. Ra7+ Kf6 51. Re2 Bd3 52. Rxh7 Bxe2 53. Bxe2 e4 54. Rh4 Ke5 55. f3 exf3+ 56. Kxf3 Kxd5 57. Bc4+ Kc5 58. Bd3 Be1 59. Rc4+ Kd5 60. Rc2 Rb3 61. Ke2 Ke5 62. Bxg6 Bxg3 63. Rd2 Bf4 64. Rd5+ Ke6 65. Rd3 Rb8 66. Be4 Rf8 67. Bd5+ Ke5 68. Kd1 Rc8 69. Ke2 Rc2+ 70. Kd1 Rh2 71. Bc6 Kf5 72. Bd5 Rb2 73. Bf3 Be5 74. Bd5 Rb4 75. Rf3+ Kg4 76. Rd3 Bd4 77. Rf3 Bc5 78. Kc2 Ra4 79. Rf1 Ra3 80. Bb3 Be3 81. Bd5 Bf4 82. Rd1 Kf5 83. Rd3 Ra5 84. Bf3 Ra1 85. Kb2 Re1 86. Kb3 Rc1 87. Kb2 Rc5 88. Kb3 Be5 89. Bd5 Bf6 90. Bg2 Ke5 91. Bh1 Rc1 92. Bg2 Bd8 93. Bf3 Bb6 94. Rd1 Rc5 95. Bg2 Ra5 96. Kb4 Ra2 97. Bh1 Re2 98. Rd5+ Ke6 99. Rd1 Be3 100. Kc4 Bf2 101. Bf3 Ra2 102. Bh1 Ra4+ 103. Kb5 Rh4 104. Bd5+ Ke5 105. Bg2 Rh8 106. Rd5+ Ke6 107. Rd2 Bg3 108. Rd3 Bf4 109. Bf3 Rb8+ 110. Kc4 Rc8+ 111. Kb3 Rc5 112. Bg2 Ke5 113. Bf3 Bh2 114. Bg2 Bg1 115. Rd1 Bd4 116. Re1+ Kf6 117. Rd1 Be5 118. Rd3 Rc1 119. Bd5 Rg1 120. Rf3+ Kg5 121. Rd3 Rg4 122. Bf3 Rh4 123. Bd5 Bd4 124. Rf3 Bc5 125. Rd3 Kf5 126. Bg2 Bd4 127. Rd1 Ke6 128. Re1+ Kd7 129. Rh1 Rf4 130. Rh7+ Ke6 131. Rh6+ Bf6 132. Rh5 Rd4 133. Bh3+ Kf7 134. Rh7+ Kf8 135. Be6 Be5 136. Kc2 Bg7 137. Rh3 Ke7 138. Bb3 Rg4 139. Bd5 Kd7 140. Rb3 Rg5 141. Rb7+ Kc8 142. Rb5 Rg3 143. Rb3 1/2-1/2

The last capture was 62...Bxg3. The game ended on move 143. Rb3 after the Chief Arbiter asked one of the Deputy Chief arbiters, who knew both players well, to step in and stop the game. A few moves late but they were blitzing out the moves. Fortunately nothing untoward happened in the extra 5 moves, like mate or a resignation, and the arbiter wasn't called upon to make a tricky decision ;-)

  • 11
    Wow, that begs two questions: One is how on Earth did you find that? And two, why the heck didn't Hebden claim a draw if they were keeping score (since he was supposed to be)? Oct 22 '19 at 21:13
  • 4
    As to finding it - my guess was Brian was in the room when it happened
    – Ian Bush
    Oct 23 '19 at 12:03
  • 9
    @IanBush Quite right. More clues as to who was in the room here - ratings.fide.com/tournament_details.phtml?event=181252.
    – Brian Towers
    Oct 23 '19 at 12:16
  • 2
    The game is shown here and at other sites as going through move 143. According to the FIDE laws of chess, didn't the game actually end in a draw on move 137?
    – DanTilkin
    Oct 23 '19 at 19:04

I tried a search using ChessBase for players over 2400, and then sorted the result by length, but there were too many games because you cannot filter out blitz and rapid. The overwhelming majority of the games were blitz. I sent them a suggestion regarding adding a title filter and changing the filter for time control.

Looking down the sorted list at the non-blitz games, the games I did look at manually, despite many being almost 200 moves long, continued to have pawn moves until they drew for other reasons. They were not just moving and moving with no progress.

That said, it will be hard to prove either way unless someone happened to witness it, but I tend to doubt it. If a GM game goes that long, it is because one side is pressing, and the other side is probably experienced enough to be looking for the 50th move, and well-aware of what move number is the drawing move number at least roughly. If the player were that much weaker that he does not know the rules (at least the 50-move rule), it is doubtful he would be holding a GM for 75 moves anyway.

Not a perfect answer, but if it has not happened, it is hard to prove a negative.

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