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There's no information as to why it's called a draw. Some of my students start to take out a pencil and paper and literally draw in the middle of the game.

Why is it called a draw?

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    Are questions about the etymologies of commom English words such as win, lose, draw, game, etc. on topic here? There is a stack exchange site for questions about the English language. – bof Jun 11 at 19:47
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I do not think that you will ever get a definitive answer. I did find an interesting article of a dedicated etymology site here.

I will quote part of it here:

By the Oxford English Dictionary’s (OED) reckoning, the earliest record of draw, as in a contest that ends with no winner, comes in reference to an 1856 US chess match. Over the next few decades, writers marked off draw with quotes or italics, which shows the word was novel. The word was familiar by the 1870s.

This draw is short for draw-game, which the OED finds for a “tie” by 1825. A draw-game, in turn, is a variation on a drawn battle or drawn match. The OED dates drawn match to a 1610 letter from English diplomat Sir Dudley Carleton: “It concluded, as it is many times in a cock pit, with a drawn match; for nothing was in the end put to the question.” (Before pilots occupied them, game-cocks fought in cockpits.)

Why such a battle or match is characterized as “drawn” is unclear: Indeed, etymology often ends in draws. Drawn may be clipped from withdrawn, as in fighters who have withdrawn from the battlefield. Withdraw, “to take back or away,” features an old and original sense of the preposition with, “against,” even though it now, ironically enough, means “together.” Draw, meanwhile, is related to drag. And withdraw itself might be a calque, or loan translation, of Latin’s retrahere, “to retract.”

That is probably as close as you will get.

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The word is also related to "draught", this disambiguation quite possibly comes from it. Tigran Petrosian once used a metaphor "to find an oasis in the desert" to describe Kasparov's ability to unbalance a drawish position and find a win (in a game against Korchnoi, if memory serves).

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draw (n.)

c. 1400, "act of pulling," from draw (v.). Meaning "game or contest that ends without a winner," is attested first in drawn match (1610s), but the signification is uncertain origin; some speculate it is from withdraw. Hence, as a verb, "to leave (a game, etc.) undecided," from 1837.

From https://www.etymonline.com/word/draw

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    That is all I could find also, but it is still a far cry from telling how it ended up meaning that. Obviously, chess just adopted the English meaning. I wonder if it was something like a tug-of-war, and neither could draw the other over the line. – PhishMaster Feb 25 at 19:21
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draw (v.) "give motion to by the act of pulling," c. 1200, drauen, spelling alteration of Old English dragan "to drag, to draw, protract" (class VI strong verb; past tense drog, past participle dragen), from Proto-Germanic *draganan "to draw, pull" (source also of Old Norse draga "to draw, drag, pull," Old Saxon dragan "to carry," Old Frisian drega, draga, Middle Dutch draghen "to carry, bring, throw," Old High German tragan "carry, bring, lead," German tragen "to carry, bear"), from PIE root *dhregh- (see drag (v.)).

Sense of "make a line or figure" (by "drawing" a pencil across paper) is from c. 1200. Meaning "remove or extract (a weapon) by pulling" is from late 12c., originally of a sword. Sense of "to pull (a bowstring)" is from c. 1200. To draw a criminal (drag him at the tail of a horse to the place of execution) is from c. 1300. Meaning "select one (from a number of lots, etc.)" is from c. 1300. Sense of "bring (a crowd, an audience, etc.) by inducement or attraction" is from 1580s. Of a ship or boat, "to displace (a specified amount) of water," 1550s. In card-playing, "to take or receive (a card)," by 1772; draw-poker is by 1850. To draw out "lengthen, protract" is from 1550s; to draw the line in the figurative sense of "make a limit" is by 1793. To draw blood is from c. 1400.

The difference between [Draw Poker] and Poker is, that the player can draw from the pack as many cards as he may wish,--not exceeding five,--which must be given him by the dealer; but previous to drawing he must take from his original hand the game number as he may wish to draw, and lay them in the centre of the table. ["Bohn's New Hand-Book of Games," Philadelphia, 1850]

draw (n.) c. 1400, "act of pulling," from draw (v.). Meaning "game or contest that ends without a winner," is attested first in drawn match (1610s), but the signification is uncertain origin; some speculate it is from withdraw. Hence, as a verb, "to leave (a game, etc.) undecided," from 1837.

Colloquial sense of "anything that can draw a crowd" is from 1881 (from the verb in the related sense).

Alternatively: Taking out paper and pencil and starting to draw in the middle of the game sounds like they are in kindergarten and bored with the game.

Clearly you should be teaching them to use at least fingerpaint with multicolors to keep them interested.

Or you could tell them it is not a draw but a tie although then they might pull out rope and start making knots.

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