A draw is a tie … neither player wins. Though a draw against a very strong player can feel very much like a win. You will often hear chess player’s brag of their draws … (“I got a draw against such and such grandmaster”).
INSUFFICIENT MATERIAL TO MATE
In order to win the game, one side must have at least two minor pieces (the Bishop and the Knight are referred to as “minor” pieces; the Queen and Rooks are called “major” pieces), a Rook, or a Queen. Keep in mind, however, that if there is a Pawn on the board, there is always sufficient material for a mate because the Pawn could be promoted to a Queen. Bare Kings, King and Bishop against King, or King and Knight against King is a draw because there is not sufficient mating material. The stronger side must have at least King and Queen; King and Rook; King and two Bishops; or King, Bishop, and Knight. (King and two Knights against King is not enough to force mate, but that subject is beyond the scope of this article.)
The game is a draw if either King is stalemated. A stalemate occurs when the King is not in check, but has no legal moves. In the diagram below, if it is Black’s move, he has no legal move; Black is stalemated and the game is a draw. If it is White’s move, however, the game is not a draw, because Qe2 would be checkmate.
THREEFOLD REPETITION OF POSITION
If the same position occurs three times on the chessboard with the same player to move (and the same castling and capturing privileges [the en passant capture might be a factor]), the game is a draw. “Perpetual check,” where one side repeatedly checks the enemy king over and over in an endless cycle, is a draw because of the threefold repetition rule.
THE FIFTY MOVE RULE
If the players have made 50 moves without moving a Pawn, capturing a piece, or either side delivering checkmate, the game is a draw. This might occur in the more difficult checkmates (Bishop and Knight against King or King and Queen against King and Rook). It doesn’t occur very often.
BY AGREEMENT OF THE PLAYERS
By far the most common way of drawing a game is where the players agree to a draw. This occurs because the players foresee that the game will inevitably end in a draw by one of the other methods. In such a situation the rules allow the players to end the game as a draw by agreement.