This is often stated as being the shortest stalemate ever, however, is it actually the shortest?

I am looking for any brute-force attempts that show that 10 moves is the absolute minimum for a stalemate in the game of chess.

  • impossible to answer, as you don't qualify the answer as "shortest published stalemate". There could always be something that wasn't published.
    – jwenting
    Commented Jun 5, 2011 at 4:11
  • 1
    @jwenting, it may be possible that someone somewhere has brute-forced it.
    – picakhu
    Commented Jun 5, 2011 at 4:15
  • 2
    Brute-forcing this will be difficult. It would be necessary to brute-force everything up to nine full moves long, which is eighteen plays (nine White and nine Black). Assume a rough average of 20 choices per move (which is true of the start of the game, and usually increases some during play) that's 20^18 possible games, which looks to be roughly 10^23 or 2^78. I don't know if that's actually feasible. Commented Jun 5, 2011 at 4:42
  • @David, perhaps there is a non-brute force but still mathematical way of solving it.
    – picakhu
    Commented Jun 5, 2011 at 4:47
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    How is this on-topic? This belongs on boardgames.SE.
    – MrHen
    Commented Jun 6, 2011 at 17:24

1 Answer 1


Yes, it is the shortest stalemate ever found.

It was discovered by Sam Lloyd. [Ref]

Frederick Rhine discovered a similar stalemate, also in 10 moves: 1.d4 c5 2.dxc5 f6 3.Qxd7+ Kf7 4.Qxd8 Bf5 5.Qxb8 h5 6.Qxa8 Rh6 7.Qxb7 a6 8.Qxa6 Bh7 9.h4 Kg6 10.Qe6. [Ref]

Lloyd's contribution continues to be quoted on many sites maintained by experts as the shortest stalemate ever found, despite there being strong competition to beat it.

Note: Some juniors in Sweden actually played out this (pre-arranged) match in 1995. [Ref]

  • 2
    My question was about it being absoluely the shortest. Not if it was the shortest known/found. I.e. have any brute force attacks been made at this puzzle.
    – picakhu
    Commented Jun 5, 2011 at 2:22
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    it's the shortest ever published. Noone can know if something shorter was ever found or is theoretically possible as such would never have been published :)
    – jwenting
    Commented Jun 5, 2011 at 4:10
  • @jwenting, "such would never have been published", why is that?
    – picakhu
    Commented Jun 5, 2011 at 4:27
  • @picakhu, I think @jwenting is being tongue-in-cheek. If someone did a brute-force effort, and found a smaller solution, it is very likely it would have been picked up by the chess-puzzle community. It hasn't been. So, either it has never been performed or it didn't find anything shorter. Either way, I have nothing further I can tell you.
    – Oddthinking
    Commented Jun 5, 2011 at 10:01
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    Link to Geocities, I am skeptical. Commented Jun 5, 2011 at 16:30

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