Draws are not boring! (Game #38)

Draw in chess

A draw in chess can occur for the following reasons:

Draw by insufficient material. Neither side has enough pieces to checkmate the other.
Draw by agreement. Both players agree that the position is equal and that there are no winning chances.
Draw by repetition. Both players make the same move three times in a row.
Draw by stalemate. One side is forced to move their king but cannot because his opponent has blocked all possible squares.

Draws in chess are very common at the world class levels. Both players strive to outplay the other but in the end neither player has enough piece power to force a win. Playing over grandmaster games that end in a draw may not be as exciting as Magnus Carlsen crushing another grandmaster but there is still a lot you can learn. Try to understand the plans and ideas from each player and what their intentions were. How did the other player defend? Were there any mistakes that allowed the draw?

For amateur players, draws are less common, particularly in blitz chess. The main reason for this is that amateurs tend to make enough mistakes that make a draw nearly impossible. But that’s just the nature of amateur chess. Draws are not always bad, though they can invoke different emotions: frustration, surprise and sometimes shock. But more often than not, you wind up respecting your opponent for a game well played. In this game, mistakes on both sides allowed the game to drift into calm seas where neither side could force a win. This is an example where a draw in chess was the result of blunders on both sides.

Game#38 – Getting a draw in chess, sometimes you have to tip your hat

nairoprado. – Paul H.
Sicilian Defense Hyper-Accelerated Dragon [B50]
3 minutes 2 seconds

Post-game analysis

Pawns are the souls of chess. That is a famous quote from Philidor. What he meant was that pawns are what keeps the attacking army at bay. They are the front lines of the chess conflict, useful in both attack and defense. As such, pawn structures have to be built very carefully. Strong players need to understand when to trade, advance or keep the tension. My crazy 10…c4? is an example of miscalculation and recklessness. Yes, it’s a blitz game but that’s not a good excuse. Pawns move in only one direction so calculating the right move is that much more important.

Avoid tunnel vision. Obsessing over an idea is something we are all guilty of. In chess however, being so singularly focused on a single plan can lead to a loss. My 34…e3? is a terrible move on many fronts. First, it simply allows the opening of the f-file and White threatens Qf7+ with mate to follow. Second, it fails to provide Black with any advantage. I think I mistakenly thought my queen was on c6 and that fe3 would lead to Qg2 mate. Flexible thinking is mandatory in chess. If one idea doesn’t work for you, switch to another plan. Don’t try to force a square peg through a round hole.

How many blitz games have you played that ended in both sides being equal? Getting a draw in chess is nothing to be ashamed of. Please share below!

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