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helenlupset 86 ( +1 | -1 )
Misuse of the tearm "Stalemate" I get anoyed by people (who are most probably not chess players) who use the tearm stalemate
when refering to situations in life where all things are equal and there is no outcome. I often
hear people refer to football matches as stalemates when both teams cancel each other out and
nobody scores, this is not what happens when a stalemate occours in chess. In chess stalemate
is what a player looks for in an unwinnable position and the only way to get somthing from the
game is to play for a stalemate and draw, therefore the way the word is used by most people is
wrong in my opinion because the word should be used when somebody achieves a draw when it
looks like they will loose.
Does anyone share in my anoyance? Am I wrong? Are there any other misuses of chess tearms
going around?
ganstaman 56 ( +1 | -1 )
In chess, a stalemate is simply a position where one side can not move (and so both sides have to just sit there since no move is legal). It has nothing to do with being in a losing position to begin with, even though that is how it often occurs.

A definition I found online: "A situation in which further action is blocked; a deadlock." This describes it well both in chess and in other situations. But really, the important point is that a stalemate does not have to come from an unwinnable position swindling a draw.
tugger 53 ( +1 | -1 )
stale·mate (stāl'māt') pronunciation

1. A situation in which further action is blocked; a deadlock.
2. A drawing position in chess in which the king, although not in check, can move only into check and no other piece can move.

stalemate isn't exclusive to chess. since the term "break the deadlock" is used widely in football, failing to do so could be a stalemate, though since i associate this word with chess, i would prefer to use the word deadlock for football instead...

annoying? maybe
wrong? technically not
ccmcacollister 106 ( +1 | -1 )
Just this month ... I had a game of K&R vs K+R+N and couple pawns. First the pawns came off, to my king when he had to abandon them or stalemate.
It came to the ending of pieces only with his extra knight. Sometimes winnable depending on the start position etc.
But imagine my King on a4 and Rh5 (NOT where you usually want your King in these things either!)
His Kc6 , Nc4 and Rb8
I get to move Rc5+! and he can take the Rook to allow the Stalemate or give the N away ... which he did. And went on to Lose! with R vs R some 30+ moves later.
Stalemate can be a tactical weapon for winning too! :)
When your opponent has an unrealistic concept of the position ... you usually win.
Tho not deserving to lose at that point, my main reason for playing it on Rvs R (as He chose to) just to see if the old "luck of he who understands the position" would prove out. Even Fischer has been on the wrong end of that one, during a couple flights of overestimating his own position in the heat of a game, and lost some drawn ones. :)
There have been some stalemates too that were really brilliant saves. One by GM Larry Evans of sac'g a Rook (who was the 2nd player - maybe Reshevsky?!) And a number I've seen.
ionadowman 147 ( +1 | -1 )
Stalemate... purely a situation in which one side is not in check, but has no legal move available. It is unresolveable, and hence a draw (This is unlike Draughts or Checkers, in which one side wins by creating a situation in which the other can not move. Usually, this is achieved by taking all of the opponent's men, but locking them up so no move is possible also wins).
I've known many beginning players who think any draw is a stalemate in chess (e.g. bare kings).
Since a stalemate is unresolveable by definition, my attitude is similar to that of helenlupset. How often do you find situations in which a deadlock is finally resolved? Very frequent. Deadlocks are resolveable. It is a good and correct word to describe a situation in which a resolution - or a compromise - is proving difficult to achieve.
I've also seen 'checkmate' used when one achieves some temporary success against an adversary. Checkmates are of course, terminal.
The word 'check' is frequently seen to describe a temporary setback. It seems to convey very well the idea that an undesirable pause has been imposed on one's progress. In chess, though, checks aren't always undesirable, and any pause they might impose are often barely noticed. On the other hand, a check betimes can put a serious crimp in one's plans. So 'check' is probably a deal less objectionable in general use than are the more prescriptive 'checkmate' and 'stalemate'.
Now, what shall we do with politicians who use the expression 'quantum leap'...? Bring back the rack, I say...
helenlupset 31 ( +1 | -1 )
Interesting idea iona... Good point on check, and it made me realise that I often hear people saying that they are
"keeping someone in check", possibly refering to every move keeping an opponents king in
check. Ime not sure how close to chess terminology this saying actually is as well.
ionadowman 45 ( +1 | -1 )
A point I hadn't considered... ... though maybe context is important. To 'keep someone in check" meaning to prevent their undertaking, or continuing, some action does seem to be fairly similar to the context I mentioned.
Could your expression also mean to "keep someone under observation, or surveillance"? Probably not, originally, but I can well imagine someone using it in this way... If it were so used, it seems far removed from chess, though!
bonsai 13 ( +1 | -1 )
Far removed? Surely it's a way of saying "I managed to keep him in a perpetual check" = "I managed to keep him from doing anything himself".