Offering a draw is the fastest way to lose the possibility to learn. You rate the result higher than the process. And that is definitely not the way to go.
A draw offer usually happens in one of two situations:
- You are better against a stronger opponent, but do not trust yourself enough to actually win the game.
- You are worse/lost against a weaker opponent and hope to get a shortcut to avoid misery.
While the second can occasionally be a smart idea to save some points, the first should never happen. How on earth do you want to beat a higher-rated opponent if you do not trust yourself to do so? You should use every possible opportunity to learn!
Pros And Cons Of A Draw Offer:
- If your opponent accepts, you do not lose the game
- Showing weakness to your opponent AND yourself
- You lose out on a learning opportunity
- You start to think about the perfect draw offer instead of the perfect move
If you think about it, there are really not too many positives in offering the draw!
Play As If Draw Offers Did Not Exist
Luckily, I always had the wish to beat stronger opponents. If you are interested in how to do so, this article is for you.
But, I worked with a student who had a habit of offering draws in better positions. Especially for Kids (he was 11 years old back then) this is a major problem.
I knew I had to do something about it. So, I told him he should simply play as if a draw offer does not exist. Not only should he not offer draws anymore, but he should also not accept them!
After a few losses in good positions, his results and confidence started to improve tremendously. He had no choice but to go through these hard moments. The only thing he could do was focus on the next move.
Then came the moment when I understood he learned a lesson for his whole life: in the last round of an Open tournament, he played on Board 1 and needed a win to catch the leader.
Risking a lot, his position collapsed and his opponent had a mate in 4 on the board.
Instead of delivering the checkmate, his opponent felt sorry for beating this talented kid and offered a generous draw. My student pointed with his finger to me and said “sorry I am not allowed to take the draw, I play on”, and resigned a few seconds later.
Even though this seems a bit extreme, I was very proud of him. He clearly understood the lesson to not offer nor accept draws and was ready to pay for them.
Now, I highly doubt that neglecting a draw was ever as hard as for that 11-year-old. So, you have absolutely no excuse anymore. Forget about draw offers. Focus on your next move and forget everything else!
Please send this article to all your chicken friends so they finally stop offering draws. Thank you. The world will be a better place now.
P.S.: if you liked this article, then you will certainly also like my FREE guide to organize your chess training. Get it HERE.
Haha, diese Anekdote mit Igor ist super! Meine absolute Lieblingspartie;-)) Merci hat das hier Platz gefunden.
Thanks for your great lessons i agree with you . I try to apply that, sorry my english i speak spanish.
Wow, this is very fun to read. Have you ever considered submitting articles to magazines?
Thank you so much! Actually, I haven’t yet, so thanks for the idea. Could be a nice way to spread the word further.
What do you think of offering a draw to save energy in tournaments with 2/3 rounds a day?
It is a valuable strategy if the result is very important. So let’s say some regional/national championship. If not, it can be even quite relieving to play without draw offers. Instead of thinking “is this the right moment for a draw offer?” you will invest all the time you have into your next move.
isn’t there a third common situation for draw offers, namely, the position is equal and objectively drawn against an opponent of similar strength, so there is just not much sense in playing on?
If you only care about the result of a game, there might be such situations. But if you care about learning, playing on has a lot of sense! Once you use this approach you will be surprised how many “totally equal positions” will not end in a draw if you simply keep on playing…