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50-move rule

The 50-move rule is a chess regulation stating that a player can claim a draw if no capture has been made and no pawn has been moved in the last 50 moves (by each player). This rule is designed to prevent games from continuing indefinitely when there is no progress being made.

Related terms: threefold repetition, stalemate, insufficient material, draw, chess rules, FIDE Laws of Chess, endgame, 75-move rule, perpetual check, dead position

Why is the 50-move rule important?

The 50-move rule is crucial for maintaining the balance and fairness of the game. It ensures that players cannot endlessly avoid making progress or forcing a draw by repetition. The rule encourages players to actively seek winning chances or accept a draw when no progress is being made, thus preventing excessively long and unproductive games.

Examples of the 50-move rule

  1. In an endgame with only kings and knights remaining, the players make 50 consecutive moves without any captures or pawn moves. Either player can now claim a draw under the 50-move rule.
  2. A player is trying to win a theoretically drawn position by continuously checking their opponent’s king. After 50 moves without a capture or pawn move, the opponent can claim a draw using the 50-move rule.

How to claim a draw under the 50-move rule

To claim a draw using the 50-move rule, a player must:

  1. Ensure that no capture has been made and no pawn has been moved in the last 50 moves by each player.
  2. On their turn, before making a move, announce their intention to claim a draw to the opponent and, if applicable, the tournament arbiter.
  3. If the claim is valid, the game is declared a draw. If the claim is invalid, the player must make a move.

Famous examples of the 50-move rule

  1. In the 1927 World Chess Championship match between José Raúl Capablanca and Alexander Alekhine, game 21 ended in a draw after 66 moves due to the 50-move rule.
  2. During the 1984 World Chess Championship match between Anatoly Karpov and Garry Kasparov, game 16 was drawn under the 50-move rule after 124 moves, making it one of the longest games in chess history.

The 50-move rule is an essential part of the chess ruleset, ensuring that games do not continue indefinitely without progress and promoting fair and decisive play.

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