Are there examples of high-level games which were resigned or drawn before any captures were made? Along similar lines, what game had the most moves before a capture was made?

Edit: I'm especially interested in longer games without captures (I'd like to see the strategies, etc); I'm not necessarily looking for the shortest game without captures.

5 Answers 5


Per Wikipedia:

Shortest Game with no captures

The shortest decisive game ever played in master play that was decided because of the position on the board (i.e. not because of a forfeit or protest) is Z. Đorđević – M. Kovačević, Bela Crkva 1984. It lasted only three moves (1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5 c6 3.e3?? Qa5+ winning the bishop), and White resigned.

[Fen ""]
1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5 c6 3.e3?? Qa5+

There have been many forfeited games (which could technically be regarded as losses in zero moves), the most notable examples being Game 2 of the 1972 world championship match between Boris Spassky and Bobby Fischer, which Fischer defaulted, and Game 5 of the 2006 world championship match between Vladimir Kramnik and Veselin Topalov, which Kramnik defaulted. A game between Fischer and Oscar Panno, played at the Palma de Mallorca Interzonal 1970, went 1. c4 resigns. Panno refused to play to protest the organizers' rescheduling of the game to accommodate Fischer's desire not to play on his religion's Sabbath. Panno was not present when the game was to begin. Fischer waited ten minutes before making his move and went to get Panno to convince him to play. Fifty-two minutes had elapsed on Panno's clock before he came to the board and resigned.

Most moves without a capture

In Rogoff-Williams, World Junior Championship, Stockholm 1969, the first capture (94.bxc5) occurred on White's 94th move.

  • Could you link? That article sounds interesting. BTW, I wasn't asking for the shortest game - in fact, I was more interested in the longest game without captures. I edited the question. Also, what about draws? Is there an example of a drawn game without captures?
    – Daniel
    May 25, 2012 at 15:01
  • Re the shortest game: I'm pretty sure this game is at least a contender for shortest-draw-with-no-captures.
    – Kevin
    Feb 18, 2022 at 17:23

Wikipedia says that the longest decisive game without a capture is:

Nuber-Keckeisen, Mengen 1994 lasted 31 moves without a single capture. In the end Keckeisen, facing imminent checkmate, resigned:

[Fen ""]

1.e4 b6 2.d4 e6 3.Bd3 Bb7 4.Nf3 g6 5.O-O Bg7 6.Nbd2 Ne7 7.Re1 O-O 8.Nf1 d6 9.Qe2 Nd7 10.Bg5 Qe8 11.Rad1 a5 12.c3 Rc8 13.Ng3 Kh8 14.Qd2 Ng8 15.h3 e5 16.Bc2 h6 17.Be3 Rd8 18.Nh2 Kh7 19.f4 f6 20.Qf2 Ne7 21.Rd2 Rh8 22.f5 g5 23.Bd1 Rb8 24.Bh5 Qf8 25.Ng4 Ba6 26.Red1 b5 27.b4 a4 28.a3 Bb7 29.Rd3 Nc6 30.Bg6+ Kg8 31.Qa2+ 1-0

For a drawn game:

Filipowicz-Smederevac, Polanica Zdroj 1966 was drawn in 70 moves under the fifty-move rule, without any piece or pawn having been captured (Whyld 1986, p. 124).

[fen ""]
[Event "Rubinstein Memorial 4th"]
[Site "Polanica Zdroj (Poland)"]
[Date "1966.08.25"]
[Round "14"]
[White "Filipowicz Andrzej (POL)"]
[Black "Smederevac Petar (YUG)"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "C00"]
[WhiteElo "2330"]
[BlackElo "2450"]
[Annotator ""]
[Source ""]
[Remark ""]

1.e4 e6 2.d3 Ne7 3.g3 c5 4.Bg2 Nbc6 5.Be3 b6 6.Ne2 d5 7.O-O d4
8.Bc1 g6 9.Nd2 Bg7 10.f4 f5 11.a3 O-O 12.e5 a5 13.a4 Ba6 14.b3
Rb8 15.Nc4 Qc7 16.Kh1 Nd5 17.Bd2 Rfd8 18.Ng1 Bf8 19.Nf3 Be7 20.h4
h5 21.Qe2 Ncb4 22.Rfc1 Bb7 23.Kh2 Bc6 24.Na3 Ra8 25.Qe1 Rdb8
26.Qg1 Qb7 27.Qf1 Kg7 28.Qh1 Qd7 29.Ne1 Ra7 30.Nf3 Rba8 31.Ne1
Bd8 32.Nf3 Rb8 33.Ne1 Bc7 34.Nf3 Rh8 35.Ng5 Bd8 36.Nf3 Be7 37.Qg1
Bb7 38.Nb5 Raa8 39.Na3 Ba6 40.Qf1 Rab8 41.Nc4 Bd8 42.Qd1 Ne7
43.Nd6 Bc7 44.Qe2 Ng8 45.Ng5 Nh6 46.Bf3 Bd8 47.Nh3 Ng4+ 48.Kg1
Be7 49.Nc4 Nd5 50.Nf2 Bb7 51.Nh3 Bc6 52.Qg2 Rhc8 53.Re1 Rc7 54.Re2
Ra7 55.Ree1 Ra6 56.Re2 Rba8 57.Ree1 R8a7 58.Na3 Ra8 59.Nc4 Nh6
60.Na3 Nf7 61.Nf2 Rd8 62.Nc4 Rb8 63.Nh3 Bd8 64.Na3 Ra7 65.Qh1
Bc7 66.Qg2 Rd8 67.Qh1 Nh6 68.Ng5 Qe8 69.Kh2 Rd7 1/2-1/2

There is a drawing line in the Zaitsev variation of the Ruy Lopez that shows up from time to time I would think.

[FEN ""]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 O-O 9.h3 Bb7 10.d4 Re8 11.Ng5 Rf8 12.Nf3

If allow the longest game without a capture based on losing on time, you can bump it up to 71 moves. The source is the page '"Chess Records." on Tim Krabbe's site.

[Title "Meijfroidt B.-Lenoir A., Veurne, 2000"]
[FEN ""]

1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 e5 3. g3 d6 4. Bg2 Nbd7 5. e3 c6 6. Nge2 Qc7 7. O-O Be7 8. d3 O-O 9. b3 h6 10. Bb2 Nh7 11. d4 f5 12. e4 f4 13. f3 g5 14. Kh1 Ndf6 15. d5 c5 16. Qd3 Bd7 17. Nd1 Qc8 18. Nf2 Nh5 19. g4 Ng7 20. h3 Nf6 21. Kh2 Kf7 22. Rh1 Rh8 23. Kg1 h5 24. Bc3 Rh6 25. Kf1 Qe8 26. Ke1 b5 27. Kd2 a5 28. Kc2 Rh8 29. Qd2 Qb8 30. Kd3 Rc8 31. Nc1 Bd8 32. Ke2 Qa7 33. Qc2 Qa6 34. Bd2 Bb6 35. Ncd3 Qa7 36. Nb2 Rf8 37. Qd3 Rac8 38. Rac1 b4 39. Ra1 Kg6 40. Qc2 Rf7 41. Nbd3 Rcf8 42. Ne1 Qa8 43. Bc1 Qc8 44. Bb2 Qa6 45. Qd3 Ra8 46. Qc2 Nge8 47. Ned3 Qc8 48. Ne1 Ra6 49. Qd3 Qa8 50. Nc2 Rh7 51. Qd1 Ng7 52. Bc1 Qh8 53. Bb2 Ra7 54. Rb1 Bc8 55. Ra1 Rf7 56. Qd3 Nge8 57. Rag1 Nc7 58. Rd1 Kg7 59. Ra1 Qe8 60. Kd2 Kg8 61. Rae1 Re7 62. Ba1 Qg6 63. Bb2 Rh6 64. Ba1 Reh7 65. Bb2 Qg7 66. Na1 Bd7 67. Qe2 Qf7 68. Qd3 Qe8 69. Nc2 a4 70. Ke2 Qa8 71. Rd1 Qa6

Just have a look at this game : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_world_records_in_chess#Latest_first_capture

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