Here is a quote from Davidson's "A short history of chess" (Link), chapter 8, which I used in an answer to an earlier question.

[...] In Italy, however, from the very beginning, players could not accept stalemate as a victory for anybody. They argued that since no legal move was possible, the game simply stopped. Consequently in medieval Europe four different stalemate rules were simultaneously in effect, and travelling players had to agree in advance as to whether they were playing by the Spanish (victory for White), French (forfeited move for Black), British (victory for Black), or Italian (drawn game) rules. The Italian practice eventually spread throughout the Continent, partly because of the tremendous influence which Italy exercised on all European culture, partly because of the fame of Italian chess players, and partly because the rule seemed inherently logical. By the end of the eighteenth century every part of Europe (except Britain) had agreed that stalemate was a drawn game.

So in Britain for a long time stalemate was actually a win for the stalemated player.

Question: Are there any records of historical chess games from Britain ending with a win by stalemate for the stalemated player?

Here is a bit more context from Wikipedia:

The rule in England from about 1600 to 1800 was that stalemate was a loss for the player administering it, a rule that the eminent chess historian H. J. R. Murray believes may have been adopted from Russian chess (Murray 1913:60–61,466). That rule disappeared in England before 1820, being replaced by the French and Italian rule that a stalemate was a drawn game (Murray 1913:391).

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    The first thing I think of is an armageddon game, but that's arguably recent and probably not what you are looking for. Commented Jun 23, 2020 at 22:46
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    Under that rule nobody is going to give stalemate voluntarily, so you're looking for games that end with a combination forcing the opponent to give stalemate. That happens only rarely in modern chess (as a drawing tactic of course); good luck finding one among the relatively small number of recorded games from the early days of chess when the paradoxical stalemate rule was in force.
    – bof
    Commented Jun 24, 2020 at 3:26
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    @bof Your comment shows that this rule does not change gameplay much compared to the standard draw rule of today. One exception I can think of is that Kh8 and h6 vs Kf8 would be a win for white after 1. h7!. Commented Jun 24, 2020 at 6:04
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    @DagOskarMadsen Then maybe we should go back to the old stalemate rule and improve the lot of the sorely oppressed rook's pawns.
    – bof
    Commented Jun 24, 2020 at 6:17

2 Answers 2


You can search up Armageddon games on chessgames.com or any other database. Black always has drawing odds in those games, so there's bound to be games where black wins by getting stalemated.


It seems strange that stalemated games may be won, but there is another case.

White stalemates Black but neglects to stop the clock. Black 'stares in bewilderment' at the position. White is happy that he managed to draw. Suddenly, the chess clock starts beeping. White jumps up in surprise, to see that he hadn't completed his move! His time had run out just before the end of the game.

Thus, we see that the stalemated player may win.

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    This isn't correct; stalemate, like mate, immediately ends the game (§5.2a in the Laws of Chess). Stopping the clock is not necessary.
    – Glorfindel
    Commented Aug 5, 2020 at 7:45

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