STOP Ruining Winning Positions! Avoid Nasty Stalemate Tricks
Training & Psychology

STOP Ruining Winning Positions! Avoid Nasty Stalemate Tricks

STOP Ruining Winning Positions! Avoid Nasty Stalemate Tricks

As a chess player, there’s nothing more frustrating than having a completely winning position and then accidentally stalemate your opponent. It’s like being on the verge of victory, only to have it slip away due to a simple oversight.

In this lesson, I’ll share 3 essential tips to help you avoid those nasty stalemate tricks and secure your wins with confidence.

Below, you can find the examples shown in the video:

Tip 1: Keep Delivering Checks

A common mistake in a winning position is trying to force a quick checkmate without considering the consequences. One typical example is attempting a ladder checkmate, where you relentlessly corner the opponent’s king with your queen, hoping for a quick checkmate. However, in some cases, this can lead to an immediate stalemate.

avoid stalemate in chess

In this example, White played 1.Qd6, hoping to play 2.Qe7 and then checkmate Black with 3.Qd8#. However, 1.Qd6 results in an immediate stalemate.

Instead, the key is to keep delivering checks with every move you make. Even if it’s not the most efficient way to checkmate, delivering checks ensures that your opponent’s king has no escape and will eventually lead to a checkmate. Remember, patience and persistence are essential in chess.

Tip 2: Don’t Capture All Your Opponent’s Pawns

Sometimes, in the excitement of a winning position, you might be tempted to capture all your opponent’s pawns to eliminate any potential threats. However, doing so can open up possibilities for a stalemate.

avoid stalemate in chess

Consider this scenario: you have a significant material advantage and only need to checkmate the opponent’s king. Instead of capturing all remaining pawns, leave some on the board. By doing this, you ensure your opponent’s king has some moves left, avoiding any risk of a stalemate.

For an example illustrating this idea, watch the full video lesson here.

Tip 3: Be Aware of Stalemate Patterns

Stalemates often occur due to repeating patterns that lead to a draw rather than a checkmate. Being aware of these patterns can save you from falling into a stalemate trap.

One of the most common stalemate patterns is when you have a queen versus your opponent’s lonely king. The natural instinct might be to push your king forward and corner the enemy king, but doing so can result in a stalemate.

avoid stalemate in chess

In this example, 1.Kd6 results in a stalemate.

Instead, remember that you don’t need to fully corner the opponent’s king. Simply cut it off on the last rank, limiting its movement. Then, advance your own king and approach the enemy king for a checkmate.

avoid stalemate in chess

For example, White can easily win by playingΒ 1.Qa7, and then bring the king forward afterΒ 1…Kd8 2.Kd6, and then deliver a checkmate on the next move with either 3.Qc7# or 3.Qe7# depending on where the Black king moves.

Puzzle of the Day

chess stalemate

Before we wrap up, here’s a puzzle for you to solve. It’s Black to play, and you need to find the best move for Black to capitalize on the position. Share your answers in the comments below this video lesson.


Keep these tips in mind, and you’ll be better equipped to handle those critical moments when victory is within reach. May your future games be filled with successful checkmates and no more stalemates! πŸ™‚

Remember, chess is a game of continuous learning and improvement. Every game provides valuable insights, and even grandmasters still encounter challenging situations. Embrace these opportunities to grow as a player, and with practice, you’ll develop a keen sense of when to apply the tips mentioned in this post.

I hope you found this lesson helpful and informative. If you want to dive deeper into the topic and watch the complete analysis, check out the full video lesson here.

I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.

If you want GM Igor Smirnov to help you get better at chess, watch this Masterclass.

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