In chess, a stalemate arises when there is no possible legal move a player can make.
Checkmate arises when a player is in check and there is no possible move he can make on the next turn that would allow him to not be in check. It is not explicit, but the obvious concept here is that if the player did not get out of check his king would be captured on the next move.
I got to thinking, what if a situation arises where there is no possible move a player can make (even if moving into check was allowed) but the player is in check.
Obviously this would require the player’s king to be completely surrounded by his own pieces, and the opponent’s knight instigating the check, because otherwise the king could still theoretically make a move, even if it was into check.
So the question is: Would this still be checkmate? Should it be considered a checkmate?
It is true the knight would presumably capture the king on the next move, but before that could happen one of the players is not capable of making any move.
Even if this is considered a checkmate by definition, I am not sure it should be considered a true checkmate. In the game of chess, each player has to make one (and only one) move. When a player becomes incapable of doing this the game is immediately over.
The only reason moving into check is not allowed is because the king would be captured on the next move. So, the way I see it, the hypothetical move into check is not forbidden in the same sense that, say, moving the king 2 spaces across the board would be against the rules.
If the rules of chess were slightly changed, allowing the king to move into check, the overall game would basically not be any different. Sure, you’re welcome to move into check, but if you do you are pretty much guaranteed to automatically lose. This is what I’m talking about. So supposing we were playing by those rules, if I manage to get into a position where I am still incapable of making any move on my turn, shouldn’t that be considered a stalemate??
If we do not allow the hypothetical situation I described to be considered a stalemate, then the rule about not being allowed to move into check fails to make intuitive sense. The king should be allowed—if only hypothetically—to move into check, and that should count as a hypothetical possible move—thus precluding the condition of a stalemate. In a regular checkmate, we know where the game would inevitably be headed: the king will be captured.
But if the condition of a stalemate arises before the king can be captured, then there is no winner.
I am just thinking maybe the rules of chess should be modified to more carefully define the definitions of checkmate and stalemate.