Having been inspired by a recent question here, here is another.

FIDE §E11.5 prohibits "unreasonable offers of a draw". Some specific cases which might get frowned upon by your opponent, even if perfectly legal by the rules:

  • Repeated draw offers are a relatively easy case for the arbiter, since (which is the whole point of that rule) you have to mark them on your game sheet. (Rule of thumb: No repeat unless the position has changed significantly.)
  • Draw offer in a worse position: I would recklessly offer a draw against a GM e.g. in KNN/KRN, since I only have to survive 50 moves, and >200 are needed for the win, so "standing worse" or "lost" is a nontrivial case.
  • Finally, offering a draw against a much stronger player. I read about an actual case in a chess magazine (the stronger player did not complain to the arbiter, but to the public - a clear ?! move :-).

Please note that all these cases are judgmental, so don't bother to discuss where you would draw the line. They fall under the Preface catch-em-all "the laws can't rule everything, leave it to the tact of the arbiter". Thus, instead:

Can you link me to actual reports of such cases (chess magazines, websites), and how the arbiter ruled? (Since GM know the rules by heart...or so I hope..., I don't expect this to happen in a higher league. Also, you can always answer the frivolous offer silently by a move and a go-fly-a-kite face...)

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    Offering a draw against a much stronger player is prohibited? Didn't know that.
    – d4zed
    Commented Jan 10, 2022 at 10:02
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    I don't believe it's against the rules to offer a much stronger player a draw, but it's very bad manners, like asking one's opponent to resign (which I believe is against the rules).
    – bof
    Commented Jan 10, 2022 at 11:31
  • 2
    The third game in en.chessbase.com/post/how-to-lose-to-a-9-year-old-at-chess mentions "he had offered me six draws by this stage, much to my extreme annoyance", but doesn't say anything about what you are asking about.
    – Allure
    Commented Jan 10, 2022 at 15:08
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    GM know the rules by heart -> citation needed !
    – Evargalo
    Commented Jan 10, 2022 at 16:02
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    Not exactly what you ask, but recently there was this draw: chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=2180364 . Ridiculous by any standards. This draw also proved that Fabiano Caruana did not know the rules, since it automatically left him out of contention for the title. Commented Jan 10, 2022 at 17:12

1 Answer 1


Let's start by debunking some of the false assumptions in your post.

Draw offer in worse position

The idea that this could be regarded as an "unreasonable draw offer" is nonsensical. Even when there is a material imbalance, which position is worse is often a subjective matter.

Certainly at the level of expertise of the average arbiter you don't want arbiters making subjective judgements about the position. They are there not because they are good chess players who can make such decisions but because they know the laws of chess and have (or are supposed to have) the judgement to apply them.

Just a reminder: some years ago there was a proposal that FAs and IAs should be required at some stage in their playing career to have reached a FIDE rating of at least 1800. This was rejected. Few of them are actually strong enough players to have this level of chess judgement.

Finally, offering a draw against a much stronger player

Some years ago I beat an IM level player (FIDE rating about 2400) when my rating was a humble 1900+. Is a 500 point rating difference enough for you? He would have ripped my hand off if I'd offered a draw in the 5 or 10 moves leading up to his resignation. Of course weaker players are allowed to offer draws to stronger players.

Can you link me to actual reports of such cases (chess mags, websites), and how the arbiter ruled?

Of course not! Such a case would have attracted a warning at most. Even repeated infractions are unlikely to result in any action serious enough to make the news.

  • 2
    Not my assumptions! Perhaps I was too unclear - I will edit my post. Commented Jan 10, 2022 at 16:09

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