In a USCF tournament game, after I moved and hit my clock, my opponent said "Is that stalemate?", reaching out his hand to shake on the result. I said "I think so," and shook his hand. A few seconds later, I noticed he actually did have a legal move. I pointed it out, and he made the move. (His clock continued to run during this conversation.) We continued the game and I checkmated him in two more moves.

We asked the TD if the agreed stalemate takes precedence, and he said my opponent should not have played on, but since we did, the subsequent checkmate stands. I assume the TD is correct, but I don't understand why. I'm looking at the USCF rule book and I don't see anyting about playing on nullifying a result. One thing it does say is "every draw claim is a draw offer", which makes me think maybe I accidentally accepted that draw offer by saying "I think so" and shaking hands. Why does it matter what happened after that?

I see that these FIDE rules have arbiter advice that says

Particularly in junior tournaments it can be discovered that one player accepts he was mated to discover later that he could prevent the mate. If a result is reported by both players that can be accepted. Where a player announces mate and immediately shakes hands only for it to be discovered seconds later that the move played was not mate he should not be given the win despite any handshake.

But I don't see anything like that in the USCF rules.

  • 1
    The other Q is FIDE. USCF is different.
    – Laska
    Commented Aug 1, 2023 at 7:09
  • 1
    @Laska USCF rule 14B is so similar to the FIDE rule I quoted that I'm not convinced there's any relevant difference here.
    – D M
    Commented Aug 1, 2023 at 11:50
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    @D M USCF 14B is about draw by agreement. I don't see anything in it about agreeing to a draw that turns out to be incorrect, or agreeing to a result and then continuing to play. Commented Aug 1, 2023 at 12:53
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    1C2 grants the tournament director discretion over trivial rules violations, and I think this would qualify. The fact that both of you continued playing indicates that you both realized that the stalemate declaration was incorrect and decided among yourselves to continue playing. Your opponent made a move indicating that they accepted that the game was still live, and you made a move indicating that you also accepted that the game was live. As far as the arbiter is concerned, there is no dispute, so there is no need to strictly enforce the rules.
    – Nelson O
    Commented Aug 1, 2023 at 18:47
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    @Laska Claims being offers is not unique to USCF; FIDE rule says "A claim of a draw under Article 9.2 or 9.3 shall be considered to be an offer of a draw."
    – D M
    Commented Aug 2, 2023 at 0:53


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