I am losing a game. My only option is to check my opponent non stop. I have no chance to checkmate him. I am only hoping to force a draw. Is this proper chess etiquette?

  • 9
    It's never bad etiquette to play for the win, or play for the draw if you think you can't win. Bad etiquette would be refusing your opponent's offer of a draw and forcing them to actually play out 50 moves of perpetual check.
    – Dan Staley
    Oct 10, 2014 at 23:17
  • @DanStaley: if they are low on time, drag it to 50 moves so you can win on time
    – jimjim
    Oct 12, 2014 at 11:08
  • 4
    @Arjang: That would indeed be bad sportsmanship. Moreover, there is a rule that a player low on time can claim a draw if his opponent does not try to win.
    – user332
    Oct 12, 2014 at 17:02
  • If he's that superior, he ought to be able to eventually stop the checks. Or perhaps he never should have let them begin.
    – Tony Ennis
    Oct 14, 2016 at 3:33
  • 1
    Usually triple repetition kicks in long before the 50 move rule. Oct 15, 2016 at 1:29

5 Answers 5


What you are describing is Perpetual Check: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perpetual_check

It is covered in the rules of chess and the result of such a game is a draw. It is up to your opponent to try and avoid this situation if he thinks he can win. Conversely, if you might lose you should try to get into some kind of draw situation to avoid a loss.

Anecdote: A queen vs. queen, knight, and bishop did the same thing at the club quick tournament last night.

  • 7
    To clarify: The exact rules that cover perpetual check are threefold repetition (the same position occurring three times in a game) and 50 move rule (50 consecutive moves by both players, that is, 100 half-moves, without a pawn move or a capture). Perpetual check obviously results to either one of those eventually.
    – JiK
    Oct 10, 2014 at 13:28

Yes, it is proper chess etiquette. You are not obliged to resign if you have an inferior position. If you can force a 3-move repetition draw by non-stop checks (called "perpetual checks") you definitely should. Players at the highest level have done this.

In fact, we even celebrate some games which have ended with perpetual check by the side with the weaker material. Consider the famous "Immortal Draw" game -

Carl Hamppe vs Philipp Meitner 1872, 1/2-1/2

  [Event "Vienna"]
  [Site "Vienna"]
  [Date "1872"]
  [Result "1/2-1/2"]
  [White "Carl Hamppe"]
  [Black "Philipp Meitner"]
  [FEN ""]

  1. e4 e5 2. Nc3 Bc5 3. Na4 Bxf2+ 4. Kxf2 Qh4+ 5. Ke3 Qf4+ 
  6. Kd3 d5 7. Kc3 Qxe4 8. Kb3 Na6 9. a3 Qxa4+ 10. Kxa4 Nc5+
  11. Kb4 a5+ 12. Kxc5 Ne7 13. Bb5+ Kd8 14. Bc6 b6+ 15. Kb5 Nxc6
  16. Kxc6 Bb7+ 17. Kb5 Ba6+ 18. Kc6 Bb7+ 1/2-1/2
  • 4
    It may also be worth noting a famous computer-vs-GM game (I think Deep Blue v. Kasparov) where Kasparov resigned in a situation where other people soon realized he could have salvaged a draw by perpetual check. The sequence of moves that would lead to the repeating position (with a major material sacrifice, IIRC) was sufficiently long that Deep Blue didn't analyze it fully, but Kasparov thought that if the perpetual check would work Deep Blue would have acted to prevent it.
    – supercat
    Oct 10, 2014 at 19:07
  • @supercat, ya, I am aware of that example. However, I didn't want to mention it because latest analysis shows that there was no perpetual. Anyway, it would have been a good example to show that perpetual check is accepted as a valid way of ending a game. Oct 10, 2014 at 19:15
  • There wasn't a perpetual? Really? Is there some escape for Deep Blue which contemporary analysts hadn't seen?
    – supercat
    Oct 10, 2014 at 19:28
  • 1
    Wes, and @supercat I'm a total chess novice so I was wondering what I'm missing in the game above. Why could white not do Ka4 as move 18 instead of the move he did Kc6?
    – Ryan
    Oct 10, 2014 at 20:57
  • 1
    @ryan: After 18. Ka4 Bc4, White would not be in check and would have many legal moves he could make, but none would prevent 19...b5++.
    – supercat
    Oct 10, 2014 at 21:21

Yes, this is good sportsmanship. In fact, the perpetual check is the most important defensive tactic in the Queen+pawn vs Queen endgame.

I can add the following to the previous answers. Other variants of chess have a different opinion about this question. For example, in Chinese Chess, it is forbidden to make perpetual check. See, for example, this resource.

I hope that my contribution is not too far from the topic.


There are several "forced" drawing conditions (other than an agreed draw). In most of these situations, someone is usually behind in material.Basically, a draw occurs when one player can prevent the other from checkmating him, using force.

One is "insufficient material to win." That is, someone has a king and bishop or knight against a lone king, and can't force a win. Another is "stalemate, whereby one player can't make a legal move, but is not in check (and is therefore not "checkmated").

Your situation covers two more categories of draw. The "classic" description of your situation is called perpetual check. That is, you keep the other side so "busy" dodging your checks that your opponent never gets a chance to checkmate you. This also leads to another drawing condition called "repetition of position." That is, if the same position is repeated three times, with the same player to move, it is a draw.


If the chess opponent is not good, then he could lose a queen, then all you now need to do is do a Queen-as-Rook+King checkmate.

However, if he is good, then perpetual check is not an option. You will lose your queen, and get mated by the double Queen mate.

Unfortunately, the only way you will get a queen is by a skewer attack and luck. Keep your Queen close to your King, and guarantee at least a Queen loss for the opponent.

He can perpetually check you. There is no denying it. If he does decide to do so, do the same to him.

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