Chess Detective PERPETUAL CHECK
by NM Todd Bardwick When your position looks like the game
will end in defeat, it is important to look for a way to somehow salvage a draw. You may also look to draw if you are much lower rated than your opponent or all you need is a draw to win a tournament. Of the different types of draws, perpet-
ual check often offers the best prospect. Perpetual check is a special type of
threefold repetition where the player who is losing can force an unending series of checks. The player forcing the perpetual check normally falls just short of forcing a checkmate (which, of course, would be preferable!). Usually when the player demonstrates
that he can draw by perpetual check, his opponent agrees to the draw. According to the Oxford Encyclopedia
of Chess Games, Volume 1, the earliest known recorded perpetual check was be- tween two unknown players in 1750.
8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
tR-vL-+-+K a b c d e f g h
Position after 14. ... Nxf3 (capturing White’s queen)
White is behind in material and forces a draw by playing 15. Ng6+ Kh7, Draw
r+l+-+-mk zppzp-sNLzp- -+-zp-+-zp +-+-zp-+- -+-+P+-wq +-+P+n+P PzPP+-vlP+
agreed. White can repeat the position by playing 16. Nf8+ Kh8 17. Ng6+. Note that 16. Nxh4 would lose to 16. … Nxh4 because Black would be ahead a knight in material.
Here is an endgame position from 1925 between David Janowski and Ernst Gru- enfeld.
8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
-+-+-+-+ +-+-+-+k -zp-tR-+p+ +-+-+-+p K+-+-+-+ zP-+-+-+- -tr-+-+-+
+-+-+-+- a b c d e f g h
Position after 59. ... Rxb2 (P) White to move
Todd Bardwick is the author of Chess Strategy Workbook: A Blueprint for Developing the Best Plan. He can be reached at www.Co
looks bad for White as he is behind two con- nected passed pawns. He did, however, make a key ob- servation to salvage a draw: He notices that his king cannot move and is blocking his pawn. Without the rook, it would be a stalemate with White to move. Janowski draws by perpetual check by
trying to give away his rook by playing 60. Rd7+ Kh6 61. Rh7+! Kg5 62. Rxh5+ Kf6 63. Rf5+ Kg7 64. Rf7+ Kh6 65. Rh7+ Kg5 66. Rh5+ gxh5 Stalemate Black’s king cannot escape the annoy- ing checks.
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