In one of my last games, I offered a draw. Now for what the rules don't say...

He had quite to chew on the offer. Half an hour he was sitting and pondered whether he could risk to play to win. I, on the other cheek, always have ants in my pants. Technically, there would be nothing wrong with just walking away - it's not my move, the draw offer is marked on both our sheets, he could stop the clock and either wait for me to come back or hand in the result. But I found walking a bit impolite.

Thus: "Sitting on the dock of the bay" or "Runaround Sue"?

  • Surely you must be allowed to go to the bathroom if nature calls . . . Commented Oct 1, 2022 at 20:30
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    @NoamD.Elkies: Well, that's another thing and by $11.2.3 the arbiter can allow you to leave board even if having the move. Still have to see an arbiter who doesn't give OK when nature calls :-) Commented Oct 2, 2022 at 16:49

2 Answers 2


If the opponent ponders for several minutes over your draw offer and neither of you is in zeitnot, I see no offense at all in having a walk while waiting for his answer. I have done that several times, and so have my opponents, without anyone feeling embarassed.

Usually if I accept the draw offer I just stop the clock and wait for the opponent's come back to shake hands, or if I refuse I just play my next move and mutter "I'll continue" (or nothing at all) when they sit back...


There is nothing, either in the rules of the game or in "etiquette", which requires either one of you to remain at the board. Your opponent is required to remain in the playing area and you are required to remain in the playing venue. That is all.

Some years ago in a league match, in a dull endgame with little for either me or my opponent, I offered a draw. Before doing so I checked the other boards. Winning one, better on one and even on the other. My opponent and I both had about 30 minutes on the clock.

Not surprisingly my opponent got up and had a look at the other boards. However he didn't come back and make a decision. Instead he stood and watched the other games for about 20 minutes by which time the win for us had turned into a draw and the other two games had turned in to losses. He came back to the board with ten minutes remaining and accepted my draw offer.

  • That’s an interesting anecdote. I guess there’s no way to withdraw a draw offer once offered…
    – Laska
    Commented Sep 30, 2022 at 12:08
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    @Laska: Indeed, the draw stands. Even more interesting anecdote about it: X: "Draw?" Y: "Move!" (X hasn't offered FIDE-conform, thus Y asks that X conforms and makes a move. The draw offer holds anyway.) X (hammers a brilliant queen sac into the position that mates in three) Y (resigns) Y (afterwards rereads FIDE rules and slaps with trout for two hours) :-) Commented Sep 30, 2022 at 15:10

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