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David Janowski vs Ernst Gruenfeld
"Checks and Balances" (game of the day Dec-04-2006)
Marienbad (1925), Marianske Lazne CSR, rd 9, May-31
Indian Game: Capablanca Variation (A47)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Dec-04-06  soughzin: That's what I meant by basically. Think of in war: The medival armies march into battle and finally the victorious force surrounds the king, but don't kill him, they just announce that the next step they get to take the king will die and the war is over(checkmate). Doesn't make as much sense as capturing/killing the king. Now stalemate would be like the army goes Near the king and since the king can't step into the opposing force's path, its a tie, and they have a nice feast together, very realistic lol.
Dec-04-06  artemis: If stalemate were taken away as a drawing resource, then first of all, chess would have to be radically re-evaluated. White begins the game with advantage, and by decreasing the drawing resources for the inferior side, one would logically make the advantage of having the white pieces even greater. I think that this is the last thing that chess needs. Obviously white could benefit from the drawing opportunities (see this game as an example!), but all and all, white typically gains an edge, so most favorable endgames will be white's (indeed, the variations of exchange slavs, exchange ruy lopez etc will become much more fearsome!). Kramnik's playing style will become even stronger, which for the general observer would make chess much more boring.

A counter to <soughzin>'s very intriguing argument could be formed as follows. Since the goal of chess is to checkmate the opposing king, if the game was stopped from reaching this conclusion, then it would logically be a null result. Or in a more chess-like manner, a stalemate shows the advantage of piece location and piece harmony over mere numbers. This game's drawing tool is very aesthetically appealling. Just as Adolf Andersson's Immortal Game is aestetically pleasing since he has sacrifced everything besides three pieces, and a handful of pawns, while his opponent has only lost a couple of his own pawns, yet Andersson deliver's checkmate. Since Andersson delivered the checkmate, he is considered the winner, even though he would be crushed if the remaining pieces on the board were put in their initial positions and the game was played out from there.

In this game in particular, black should have had an easy win (up two pawns, which are connected passers!, but instead his king came under an attack. Stalemates and draws by repetition force the superior side to be accurate and to have shown a clear superiority over their opponent. The drawing rule which I find to be absurd is the 50 move rule, as it has been shown that ignoring this rule, there are endgames which are forced wins, but beyond 50 moves. I can see a similar argument for it to the one I just gave in support of stalemates, but I still think that if a checkmate can be forced with no unnatural break (i.e. passing a move), that it should be allowed.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: <euripides: <soughzin> An interesting point; I had thought that the existing rules of chess were equivalent to the 'capturing the king' objective and I think you're right that stalemate is the only major exception. > Another major exception is that a move that puts (or leaves) ones own King in check is illegal.
Dec-04-06  soughzin: Yes I know what the literal actual rules are. I'm talking about the spirit of the rules and if they were to be changed. Maybe more realistic than stalemate would be that you could "pass" on your turn. Except this would probably just lead to more draws with any sort of zugzwang position both sides having to pass or give up the advantage.

I don't deny the beauty of this unique king chase though!

Dec-04-06  asip87: oh no... hide n seek..
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: <Honza Cervenka> <How ridiculous the idea of considering stalemate to be anything else than draw can be demonstrated on a small example.> That's a marvelous example. But one still might be inclined to suggest that stalemate should be a win... for the side being stalemated! I've heard it said that in some parts of the world, a long time ago, that was the fashion.

By the way, for more games involving "crazy rooks" see my game collection Game Collection: Crazy Rooks

Dec-04-06  norami: How about having stalemate between a win and a draw? To avoid fractions, checkmate is worth 4 points, stalemate 3, draw 2, stalemated 1, checkmated 0.
Dec-04-06  euripides: <Another major exception is that a move that puts (or leaves) ones own King in check is illegal.> Of course, but if the players are capable of seeing mates in one and king captures then this makes no difference to the result of the game as such moves will lose anyway and won't usually be played. The fact that stalemate is a draw makes a big difference to the character of many endgames.
Dec-04-06  ajile: lol

Great game. White chases the Black king forever. TAKE ME! TAKE ME!

Dec-04-06  Whack8888: <artemis> I agree with you about the 50 move rule. Does anyone know when the 50 move rule came into existence?

I personally dont see any problem with the stalemate rule. With checkmate, the attacking army attacks the King, and he has no escape. With a stalemate, the opposing army has not attacked the King, but the one player has no legal moves. It might make sense to not have a stalemate be a draw, but the stalemater should not be given any bonus. Perhaps to simply cancel the game would be more appropriate, since an illegal situation was set up on the board.

Premium Chessgames Member
  WannaBe: <Whack8888> It says, in 1561 Mr. Ruy Lopez wrote something on it.
Dec-04-06  hucknoog: <4daluvofchess> <Also, I am surprised few people have pointed out that it is impossible to "force stalemate" in a lost position.> For all you chess historians out there - as <Sneaky> alluded - once upon a time (in England) the stalemated player was awarded a WIN! Apparently Philip Stamma published a book in 1745 with a chess problem looking for a forced stalemate to steal the win. If anybody knows the board position, please share!
Dec-04-06  GrandPatzerSCL: I am very sure that this game was a GOTD once before... Am I right?
Apr-20-07  Themofro: For the record, in the very fascinating game of chinese chess (not to be confused with chinese checkers), if one side has no legal move, then the opponent wins the game. There is no such thing as checkmate, yet there is no argument by the players that they feel that this gives the first side to move too big of an advantage.
Aug-15-07  zaxcvd: I have tried chinese chess, and there are HUGE differences between that and regular chess. The way this game plays out stalemate needs to be a win - the palace is surrounded etc.

Chess just feels like a bigger and more complex game.

The stalemate is the most beautiful AND LOGICAL part of chess - I am disapointed that so many here are so ignorant of basic chess principles.

It was also an IMPROVEMENT of the old rules that stalemate was a loss.

I explained this to a kid the other day - makes perfect sense: the objective is to kill the opposing side's king. You NEVER make a move to allow your own king to be killed. So, if you can't move , you kill your own king. This war is about capturing (or killing )the opponent's king not about invasion. So obvious draw - you failed your objective to checkmate (or put more simplistic: to kill) your opp king.

Take the 'war' that everyone talks about. Its a draw. US vs bin laden.. he can kill himself or die by disease but if he is captured that is a win.

Jan-05-09  WhiteRook48: what an extraordinary rook and king dance at the end!
Feb-06-09  WhiteRook48: that a3 pawn was so useful... *sigh*
Mar-18-09  WhiteRook48: musical chairs
Jul-26-09  WhiteRook48: or a merry-go-round
Dec-25-09  Eduardo Leon: Oh, my f***ing God! From moves 61 to 65, the ♖ and the ♔ were playing musical chairs! (The g6 ♙ was the chair, of course!)
Jan-01-11  redorc19: this game shows in Grunfeld notable games even though it shows Janoski's skill... ironic, isn't it?
Jan-02-11  BobCrisp: Only if you don't understand what <Notable Games> signify.

Chessgames Help

Sep-18-12  ZeejDonnelly: Wonderful save by Janowski!
Nov-02-12  Conrad93: An opponent that can't avoid stalemate deserves it. There is no reason to make the task of mating easier.
Premium Chessgames Member
  NM JRousselle: 39 ... Rd2 has to be a better way to victory. White will be driven into passivity and Black wins another pawn.
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