Draw by Infinite Pursuit

Infinite pursuit means that one player’s King is being chased (pursued) around the board with an “infinite” number of checks (i.e. perpetual check). Infinite pursuit is not an official rule of chess, but is a type of draw because nobody can win. Strictly speaking, an infinite pursuit draw would actually only be drawn by the triple repetition rule or the 50-move rule, but in practice will be drawn by agreement or drawn by an official referee declaring a draw by “no progress” or “not attempting to win by normal methods” (i.e. trying just to win on the clock).

Not All Checks are Infinite

It should be noted that not all games with lots of checks are infinite pursuit draws. There are many valid sequences where a player may issue a lot of checks chasing a King across the board. One practical example is a game with a Fischer Time Control, where a player may play a lot of checks to gain time on the clock. Assuming the player then starts thinking about how to win, it’s not necessarily a draw.

Queen Endgames

And a very common endgame, the “Queen endgames” (Queen vs Queen, with pawns) always have many sequences of checks. They are excruciation to play or to defend.

A common example is “Queen and 2 Pawns vs Queen” endgame, which is a win, but it’s a painful win. The player with the two pawns has to give lots of checks, then move a pawn one square (towards queening), then the opponent gets lots of checks with their Queen until they eventually run out, then there is a time to make one more pawn move. The whole game can take over 100 moves, or many more. But it can be won and that’s not infinite pursuit. It’s also not the 50-move rule if there is the occasional pawn move. And it’s not “no progress” if the pawns are gradually progressing down the board. Eventually a pawn will Queen and then the win with two Queens is easy.

Related Chess Rules Topics

Read more about these related chess rules, chess puzzles, and other chess tactics and strategies: