Here's my scenario, White has pawns on c2 and a2, and a king on c1, while Black has a queen on b4 and a king on d1.

[FEN "4k3/8/8/8/1q6/8/P1P5/2K5 b - - 0 1 "]

1...Qe1+ 2.Kb2 Qb4+ 3.Ka1 Qe1+ 4.Kb2 Qb4+.

Why isn't this threefold repetition? I'm the player with Black, we've been going back and forth for 30 moves. I've offered a draw and the guy won't accept. I have the weaker position on the board, which is why I want a draw. Is this just bad chess ethics on my part?


There is no such thing as "3 move repetition". To claim a draw, the position must be repeated three times (although it does not have to be in a row). In your example, the position with a Black queen and b4 and a White king on b2 has only occurred twice so far. You can claim a draw by repetition of position the next time that you can cause that position to appear.

If you make such a valid claim and your opponent refuses to honor it, he or she is not playing by the rules of chess. If you are playing on some computer service that does not recognize a valid claim of threefold repetition, the service does not implement the full rules of chess.

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  • I'm playing in a tournament on chess.com. The white player is moving in a triangular motion between a1, b2, and a3, all to get out of check. I move back and forth between e1 and b4. I tried contacting chess.com support and they said it doesn't automatically end the game by threefold repition, only that when it's recognized, I have to go "claim draw". It never shows I can claim it which is why I'm confused. – ganders Apr 27 '15 at 18:14
  • do you know if my situation qualify as threefold repitition? – ganders Apr 27 '15 at 18:29
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    If the same position occurs three or more times, then yes, you may claim a draw by threefold repetition. If chess.com is not allowing you to claim a draw, then either it has a bug or your description of the situation is not 100% accurate. Note that once the position has changed again, you cannot claim a draw until it returns to a repeated position. – dfan Apr 27 '15 at 18:35
  • Ok, so if I understand correctly, the fact that the white player uses a3, b2, and a1 to escape check (3 different locations) instead of just a3 and b2, OR a1 and b2) is the reason why the threefold repetition option is not available (and thus not repeating the position). Does that sound accurate? – ganders Apr 27 '15 at 18:54
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    No, it doesn't matter what squares he has used as long as you return to the position with your queen on b4 and his king on b2 for the third time. – dfan Apr 27 '15 at 18:58

For a draw in chess any one of the following rules should satisfy :

  • stalemate
  • threefold repetition of a position (with the same player to move)
  • if there has been no capture or a pawn being moved in the last fifty moves
  • if checkmate is impossible
  • or if the players agree to a draw.

The threefold repetition rule (also known as repetition of position) states that a player can claim a draw if the same position occurs three times, or will occur after their next move, with the same player to move and the same possible moves. The last means that the first time and the third time have both the same castling and en passant moves possible.

The repeated positions do not need to occur in succession.

The rule applies to positions, not moves.

Now, analyze the moves on a board once again and see if it really was a draw.

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