Talk:Fifty-move rule

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move 70[edit]

"Drawn on move 70" Does this mean the 70th move of the game or 20 moves after the 50 move rule could have been invoked? Rmhermen 15:07 3 Jul 2003 (UTC)

Of the game. I'll make it explicit. --Camembert
I added a link to a page that contains the moves of the game. Oddly enough, there are two versions of the moves. The one in the page I linked to (Mad Aussie's) and the one found from Chess records. doesn't have either of the games, which is a pity. However, I found the game from the database of the Chessmaster 9000 program and the moves were as in Mad Aussie's page: ending at 69. Kh2 Rd7 ½-½. --ZeroOne 13:28, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

I changed the maximal number of moves needed in the rook+bishop vs. rook endgame from 115 to 59, which is the maximal number of moves needed until mate or capture. I also changed in the third exceptional position from "and a bishop on the opposite color as the opponent's pawn" to "and a bishop on the same color as the opponent's pawn".—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Good. Yes, the number of moves to a capture is what matters, since it restarts the 50-move counter. Good edits. Bubba73 (talk), 02:04, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

Priority (importance)[edit]

Should this perhaps be importance=Highrather than Mid? I was marking pages on specific aspects of the official rules as High importance if they are something that the average club player or beginning tournament player would or should know. I don't have a strong opinion on it but want to see what other people think rather than just changing it. Quale 15:05, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

I'm the one that put in Mid importance. i notice that in many cases you have rated things as being more important than I would. However, I have no objections to changing it to High importance. I didn't think it was very important because it rarely comes up - probably easily the least common form of a draw. However, you are right in that it is something the club or tournament player should know. Bubba73 (talk), 15:20, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

...can continue forever...[edit]

no game can continue in perpetuity. there are a finite number of possible positions in the game, and once each one has been repeated twice, it's a draw, right? i think!? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 15 June 2007

The point is that the draw must be claimed by either player. So the same position may be repeated more than three times if no player claims the draw, which usually happens though. --ZeroOne (talk | @) 11:49, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

Black could claim draw in example game[edit]

The article states, "The last capture occurred on White's 63rd move (and the last pawn move occurred before that). Black could have written his 112th move on his scoresheet and claimed a draw." But if Black were to make his 112th move, it would be Black's 50th without a pawn move or capture (Black's 63rd through 112th), but White would only have moved 49 times with no pawn move or capture (White's 64th through 112th). So the first opportunity to claim a draw under the 50-move rule would have been White's 113th move. Am I missing something here, or should this be changed? Holy 18:59, 8 October 2007 (UTC)

I believe you are correct. I'll fix it a little later. Bubba73 (talk), 21:34, 8 October 2007 (UTC)
Actually, it is correct to say that the draw can be claimed after White's 112th move. Black can write down his 112th move, and if it is not a capture or pawn move, he can claim a draw. (That would be the 50th consecutive move.) Similarly for White on his 113th move. Bubba73 (talk), 01:03, 9 October 2007 (UTC)
That was still not right, but the article is correct now. White can claim it after black's 112th move by writing down a move that would be his 50th move w/o a capture or pawn move. Bubba73 (talk), 05:32, 9 October 2007 (UTC)

Bubba73, good job. It's right on the money now. Plus, that's a good point, that either player can claim the draw without writing down his intended move after White's first opportunity to claim the draw. Holy 15:57, 9 October 2007 (UTC)

I think I was the one that got it somewhat wrong to begin with. Bubba73 (talk), 18:56, 9 October 2007 (UTC)

PS, I like the example because:

  1. It is an actual example of when both 9.3.a and 9.3.b would apply
  2. it is between two very famous players
  3. it ties into stalemante and the two knights endgame. Bubba73 (talk), 22:42, 9 October 2007 (UTC)

Omission of Castling from 50 Move Draw Rule should be Mentioned as Inconsistent[edit]

Both captures and pawn moves are irreversible, so they are part of the 50 move draw rule. Well, castling is also irreversible (as is acknowledged by its inclusion in the Third Repetition of a Position draw rule. Therefore, castling should be added to the 50 move draw rule, by FIDE and the USCF. This wiki article would be slightly better if it mentioned the inconsistency of excluding castling from the 50 move draw rule. - GeneM —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:47, 28 December 2007 (UTC)

I think that the reason that captures and pawn moves reset the 50-move counter is that they indicate that progress is being made, not that they are irreversible per se. Castling counts as a regular move in the 50-move count. Bubba73 (talk), 02:15, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
Secondly, that should not be mentioned unless there is a WP:reliable source saying that, otherwise it is original research or the editor's opinion. That is, the article is about the way the rules are, not what some people think they should be. Bubba73 (talk), 02:17, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
I was just wondering about that, i.e., whether there was some historical justification for castling not resetting the fifty-move counter. Finding nothing in the article, I had to look here. I do think that a mention of the philosophical inconsistency would not be out of place in the article. WHPratt (talk) 14:43, 7 December 2012 (UTC)
It could be included if there is a reliable source. Otherwise it is the editor's opinion and should not be included. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 17:05, 7 December 2012 (UTC)
A while back I said that castling is not reversible, but it doesn't reset the move count. It isn't reversible in one move, but you could take three moves to undo it. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 00:23, 8 December 2012 (UTC)
But, after castling you lose the right to castle, so it is irreversible in that sense. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 00:24, 8 December 2012 (UTC)

And I checked several books for the reason for the count starting after the last capture or pawn move and for castling not resetting it, but I didn't find anything. The capture/pawn move started in 1851. But it seems to me that the conditions are more about making progress towards winning the game rather than being irreversible, per se. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 00:45, 8 December 2012 (UTC)

The rationale within the Third-Repetition-of-Position rule was that even if the static piece placement were identical in two positions, the right to castle (or perhaps to make an en passant capture) affected the dynamics of the position, and had to be taken into consideration. We're testing for zero progress in this case.
The fifty-move rule isn't looking at a particular position, but rather long-term prospects. Different philosophies in play at diffrerent times, I'd say. WHPratt (talk) 15:04, 8 December 2012 (UTC)
I'm thinking now that if castling did indeed reset the fifty-move-count, it would be of little import. Try to imagine someone attempting to execute a difficult checkmate, say K + B + N vs K. So he's going to castle midway through the process and buy himself 50 more moves? Ridiculous! If he's got an extra rook just sitting around waiting to castle, he should instead be using it to assist in an easy checkmate. Can anyone come up with a scenario in which such a rule change would make any difference WHPratt (talk) 01:54, 10 December 2012 (UTC)
That means that he would go through 49 moves of just moving the bishop! Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 02:55, 10 December 2012 (UTC)
There is one thing. If a player starts without a particular rook as a means of giving "odds" (handicap), he can still castle as if that rook were there. So, at a critical juncture, said player could move his king two squares towards the nonexistant rook and reset the counter in the course of a difficult checkmate, and with no rooks involved. But odds games would have other eccentricities in general, and shouldn't be discussed. They aren't standard chess. WHPratt (talk) 13:52, 10 December 2012 (UTC)

Reason for the rule[edit]

One should add some reasons as to whythis rule was adopted, e.g. by giving a list of endgames "typically" or always winnable within 50 moves.-- (talk) 03:33, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

I don't know of a reference to why there is the rule, but it is obviously to keep a game from going on indefinitely. The basic checkmates all require well under 50 moves - K+Q: 9 moves, K+R: 16 moves, K+2B: 19 moves, K+B+N: 33 moves - with perfect play by both sides. K+Q vs. K+R, etc takes fewer than 50 moves to win. The part about no capture or no pawn move is a pretty good indication of no progress being made otherwise. But now there are quite a few rare endgames that require more than 50 moves (see pawnless chess endgames) - some require 66, some require hundreds. Bubba73 (talk), 03:47, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
Maybe all 4-pieces endgames require less than 50 moves? It would be a somewhat "natural" limit then. --Roentgenium111 (talk) 21:06, 4 November 2013 (UTC)
All four-piece endgames without pawns require fewer than 50 moves to win, if a win can be forced. But most endgames have more than four pieces. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 21:20, 4 November 2013 (UTC)
And with pawns, each pawn move resets the count. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 21:23, 5 November 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for the info; then I don't know a good explanation either.... --Roentgenium111 (talk) 20:11, 5 November 2013 (UTC)
I thought that K+R vs K+B could take more than 50 moves to resolve. WHPratt (talk) 21:07, 5 November 2013 (UTC)
King and rook versus king and bishop is almost always a draw. The rook can win if it can quickly win the bishop (a fork or skewer within a couple of moves) or in some cases if the king and bishop are cornered in the wrong corner (the bishop is on the same color as the corner square). Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 21:23, 5 November 2013 (UTC)
The rook and bishop versus rook endgame often bumps up against the 50-move rule. Most positions are a theoretical draw with optimal play. But it is difficult to defend, and the superior side often keeps playing. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 23:31, 5 November 2013 (UTC)
Maybe that's the one that I had in mind. Thanks. WHPratt (talk) 04:12, 6 November 2013 (UTC)

Change from high to mid importance[edit]

I changed this from High importance to Mid importance. Although similar rules such as threefold repetition are High (I think), the fifty move rule is rarely used, compared to threefold repetition. If you think it should be high, change it back. Bubba73 (talk), 20:01, 1 February 2009 (UTC)

It is viewed about 100 times per day, though. Bubba73 (talk), 21:08, 1 February 2009 (UTC)
Hey! I won a game in 233 moves against a computer you know! (sacarstic) Anyway I disabled the 50-move rule on it so I could win (CHEAT!) 23191Pa (chat me, but mind the alphas!) 11:25, 18 October 2009 (UTC)
(This sort of thing can be done if you manage to get into a pawnless endgame that may need more than 50 moves. I think the reason is that the winning and losing moves are both considered by the program as draws, because it takes over 50 moves to convert. So once the computer plays the first losing move, you can follow the tablebases, although this compounds cheating onto cheating.) Double sharp (talk) 12:31, 8 July 2014 (UTC) (Protactinium-231 with a new username)

75 moves in the late 1980s[edit]

There are some references for the rule for some positions being 75 moves in the late 1980s. However, I now have the 1985 and 1989 rulebooks (there are none in between) and they don't say anything about 75 moves. The 100 move rule for some positions existed in 1985 but in 1989 it was changed to 50 moves for all positions. Bubba73 (You talkin' to me?), 18:12, 5 April 2010 (UTC)

I'm still trying to sort out the history of when the rule was extended past 50 moves. I'm getting rulebooks to try to fill in the history. Books other than rulebooks conflict with what official rulebooks say. Bubba73 (You talkin' to me?), 17:55, 13 April 2010 (UTC)

paragraph removed[edit]

I removed the paragraph about the irreversible moves - it has been unreferenced since December, 2011. I checked several rulebooks and books about the history of chess, and none of them said anything about irreversible moves. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 16:07, 4 March 2012 (UTC)

New 75 move rule[edit]

It seems the "Statement of rule" section needs to be edited. It currently states "Theoretically, a game could continue indefinitely this way..." but this is what the new rule 9.6b (added in 2014) is targeting: any consecutive series of 75 moves have been completed by each player without the movement of any pawn and without any capture. If the last move resulted in checkmate, that shall take precedence. (FIDE Handbook) so that no game is even allowed to continue indefinitely, even if neither player is claiming. -Håkan (talk) 07:57, 15 September 2015 (UTC)

You're right. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 19:28, 15 September 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for pointing this out. I tried to explain the 2014 rule, feel free to improve it if you find a better wording. Rule 9.6a might deserve mention in three-fold repetition. Quale (talk) 04:11, 16 September 2015 (UTC)
That's better. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 04:47, 16 September 2015 (UTC)

Intermediate “double amount” rule[edit]

When I started playing chess, I read through the FIDE rules in the back of my chess textbook (in a Norwegian translation, but I don't think it matters). I clearly remember them discussing the 50-move rule, but they had a variation I haven't seen in the history section here: It stated that if “the experts” (without further qualifications; probably meant as “prevailing endgame theory” or something) had determined a position to require more than 50 moves to mate, the player would be given twice the amount of moves said experts deemed necessary to mate.

Does anyone else remember such a rule? If so, can it be inserted at its right place in the history? Sesse (talk) 20:38, 25 January 2016 (UTC)

Yes, that was the rule for several years. I think this is discussed in the history section. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 21:02, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
Oh, I see now; they're just older than I thought: “In 1928 FIDE enacted rules that if an endgame theoretically requires more than 50 moves to force checkmate, twice that number of moves were allowed.”- Sesse (talk) 13:58, 26 January 2016 (UTC) 
The rule was still in effect when I started playing in the late 1960s. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 15:04, 26 January 2016 (UTC)