In a casual blitz game I had with my friend, my last move was to promote a pawn, to ladder mate my opponent (there was already a rook on the 7th). I moved the pawn, but while I was reaching for the queen I ran out of time. Who won?

1 Answer 1


Who won?

Nobody won. It was a draw.

According to the FIDE Laws of Chess:

Except where one of Articles 5.1.1, 5.1.2, 5.2.1, 5.2.2, 5.2.3 applies, if a player does not complete the prescribed number of moves in the allotted time, the game is lost by that player. However, the game is drawn if the position is such that the opponent cannot checkmate the player’s king by any possible series of legal moves.

You haven't completed your move by placing a queen on the board and pressing your clock so this applies to your situation. However you have got far enough through making your move that you are committed the pawn and giving checkmate. That means that your "opponent cannot checkmate the player’s king by any possible series of legal moves". That in turn means that the game is a draw.

  • 1
    Quick question, based on Article 5.1.1, they would have won if they placed the Queen on the board before the clock ran out, even if they did not stop their clock, correct? And how does the fact that it would be legal for the player to promote to a Knight and possibly not deliver checkmate play into this?
    – Nelson O
    Jun 20, 2023 at 16:30
  • @NelsonO Once the queen is on the board it is checkmate whether the clock is pressed or not and checkmate ends the game so the OP would have won. A safer way to guarantee the draw would have been to immediately press the clock after placing the pawn. That would have been an illegal move which would require the arbiter to replace the pawn with a queen (7.5.2). Of course best would have been to immediately pause the clock and call the arbiter requesting a queen. But, since this was a skittles game there was no arbiter to call.
    – Brian Towers
    Jun 20, 2023 at 19:43
  • So in the case where the clock ran out mid-move where the pawn was at the final rank, but had not yet been replaced by a queen, an arbiter would likely consider it as drawn because they would finish the move up as a promotion to queen rather than leaving the board in an illegal state? Then, it doesn't matter that technically the player could promote to a knight or bishop, which could leave the game live and possibly allow the other player to pull off a checkmate via a series of legal (but unlikely) moves.
    – Nelson O
    Jun 20, 2023 at 20:36
  • 5
    I don't think there's enough information to say this answer is correct. Since underpromotion is legal and it doesn't say whether the opponent had material, there could have been a series of legal moves. If the opponent had a bare king this is correct, though.
    – D M
    Jun 21, 2023 at 3:17

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