I'm new to chess and I don't have much knowledge. But I was playing a game as Black, and I was up by a lot of material and played Nxc4 to capture White's last bishop. The game ended in a stalemate, even though the king was trapped, I think.

[FEN "2qk1b2/4n2p/1n3p2/3p4/b1BK4/5r2/7r/8 b - - 0 1"]

1... Nxc4

Can anyone explain to me please why this happened and why I didn't win?

  • 4
    It's not "even tho" the king is trapped. That's what stalemate means: you've "trapped" him so he has no moves, without putting him in check. That's called a stalemate; don't do that if you want to win.
    – bof
    Commented Dec 16, 2020 at 11:29
  • 2
    that was an unfortunate move, as Qxc4 is mate :)
    – njzk2
    Commented Dec 16, 2020 at 20:04
  • 1
    With that much of a material advantage, you have no need of capturing every last piece, and as you discovered, leaving at least one piece can actually be useful, as it can help avoid stalemate. If you ever find yourself in such a situation again, you should try to deliver check with every move if you can do so without losing pieces, since there's never a stalemate if the king is in check. Commented Dec 16, 2020 at 22:00
  • @njzk2 So is ... n - f5 is it not? Commented Dec 16, 2020 at 22:08
  • 1
    Rh5 is also mate. Commented Dec 17, 2020 at 3:11

2 Answers 2



Stalemate is a situation in the game of chess where the player whose turn it is to move is not in check but has no legal move. ... In popular usage, the word stalemate refers to a conflict that has reached an impasse, and in which resolution or further action seems highly difficult or unlikely.

In the above position, your opponent had no legal moves but was not on check hence stalement. The objective of chess is to;

The object of the game is to checkmate the opponent; this occurs when the opponent's king is in check, and there is no legal way to remove it from attack. It is never legal for a player to make a move that puts or leaves the player's own king in check.

So if this is not achieved there is no winner unlike in checkers where you can win if your opponent has no legal move


According to the rules of chess, a stalemate (draw) occurs when the player whose turn it is to move has no legal move. That's the situation here where upon your capturing the bishop, the White king cannot move without placing itself in check, which is illegal. Accordingly, the result is a draw by stalemate.

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