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My question is mostly about pure rules and not about etiquette. I wonder if during a chess game I am allowed to resign, offer a draw or claim a draw at any time. But I want to ask about two specific situations.

  1. My opponent has just put my king in check. It is not a checkmate though. According to the rules of chess, instead of making a move, do I have the possibility of resigning, offering or claiming a draw? (If I do so, my king will remain in check in final position, but the game will end.)

  2. The game is still in its opening. Suppose my opponent, who is a very strong player, put me in the situation where checkmate is inevitable, for example, he/she captured my queen and both rooks, or activated Légal trap etc. May I resign (it's the opening)? Or must I let my opponent checkmate me?

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You may resign at any point during the game, there are no restrictions at all.

Draws are regulated in article 9 of the FIDE Laws of Chess:

You offer a draw after making your move, before you press the clock (9.1.2.1). The offer stands until the opponent touches a piece to make his move (or he accepts or declines or the game ends some other way).

If you offer it at another time, the offer still stands, but it may be counted as disturbing your opponent and you could get a warning from the arbiter. Besides that, your opponent will just not react to the offer, wait for you to make a move and then make his decision.

So in particular in your case 1), you do not have the option of offering a draw then -- you need to make a move first.

You claim a draw on your own move only, before you touch a piece to move it. Once you do that, you have to move and can't claim anymore (9.2.1 and 9.4).

  • Thanks, @RemcoGerlich. But can I ask for a clarification. For example, let's take the position: white king Kc2, white pawn e4, black king Kf7, black bishop Bh7. I play white, my opponent plays black. It was black's move and he captured my last pawn, playing ...Bxe4+. I am confused because I'm in check, but black has no possibilities of checkmating. A king with a bishop can never checkmate a lone king. So what should I do here (resign, offer a draw, claim a draw or simply make a move)? – Alexander Dec 4 '17 at 12:42
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    @Alexander: in that position neither player can possibly ever checkmate the other. That means the game is over and is a draw, see rule 5.2.2. – RemcoGerlich Dec 4 '17 at 13:18

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