# Perpetual Check (Explained & Examples)

Perpetual check refers to a situation in chess where one player can continuously check the opponent’s king without any possibility for the opponent to escape the sequence of checks.

This scenario often results in a draw, as the player delivering the checks can do so indefinitely, preventing the opponent from making any other moves.

## Origins of Perpetual Check

The concept of a draw by perpetual check was introduced to prevent games from continuing indefinitely without a clear path to victory for either side.

## Mechanics and Execution of Perpetual Check

To successfully execute a perpetual check, a player must recognize the following conditions:

1. Repetitive Position: The same board position must occur three times with the same player to move. This is often a result of perpetual check but can also occur in other repetitive situations.
2. No Escape: The opponent’s king cannot escape the sequence of checks. This means there are no available moves that would break the cycle of checks.
3. No Intervening Threats: The player delivering the checks should ensure that there are no threats from the opponent that could interrupt the sequence. For instance, a counter-check or a looming checkmate threat could disrupt the perpetual check.

## Strategic Implications of Perpetual Check

Perpetual check can be a powerful defensive tool, especially when a player is in a losing position.

By recognizing the potential for a perpetual check, a player can salvage a draw from a seemingly lost game.

Conversely, if a player is in a winning position, they must be wary of allowing their opponent the opportunity to execute a perpetual check.

## Example of Perpetual Check

Here, white can force a perpetual check:

White only has one move, which is Kd7:

The white queen can go back to its previous square.

Black’s best move is to simply go back to c8, which would initiate perpetual check.

### Is Perpetual Check Forced?

No, in this case, black could decide to go to e8.

It’s not an optimal move, but if black wants to avoid a draw, the centipawn loss in this case is roughly 0.30, so it’s not a terrible move if black knows how to navigate any complications.

## When Is Perpetual Check Good?

A perpetual check emerges not merely as a tactic but as a strategic lifeline in certain scenarios.

It’s a tool that can be wielded to navigate through the complexities of a match, particularly when a straightforward path to victory is obscured or unattainable.

### The 40-Move Rule and Its Implications

In numerous chess competitions, a rule stipulates that players cannot agree to a draw before reaching the 40-move mark.

This rule, designed to prevent early and potentially collusive draws, can sometimes place players in a predicament.

If both players find themselves in a position where neither has a clear advantage or a viable path to victory, they might prefer to agree to a draw.

However, the 40-move rule precludes this straightforward resolution.

### Perpetual Check as a Strategic Equalizer

In such situations, perpetual check becomes an invaluable tool, enabling players to initiate a three-fold repetition.

The three-fold repetition rule states that a game can be declared a draw if the same position occurs three times, with the same player to move each time.

By deliberately executing a perpetual check, a player can force the repetition of position, thereby satisfying the conditions for a draw under the three-fold repetition rule.

### Balancing Act: Offense and Defense

Perpetual check serves as a double-edged sword, offering both offensive and defensive strategic possibilities.

On the defensive side, a player facing a disadvantageous position might employ perpetual check to stave off defeat, forcing a draw when a loss seems imminent.

Offensively, a player might use perpetual check to secure a draw and avoid risking a potential loss, especially when the position is unclear or precarious.

### Example

Here, the players can get a draw much earlier than the 40-move mark by initiating a perpetual check.

## Conclusion

Perpetual check, while not as decisive as checkmate, plays a role in the strategic aspect of chess.

Recognizing the potential for perpetual check can be the difference between a win, a loss, or a draw.

As with all chess tactics, understanding and mastering this concept requires practice, study, and a keen eye for opportunity.