Armageddon Game in Chess: Explained

When the best of the best chess players face each-other in tournaments, draws are a common occurence. The almost mistake-free play of grandmasters makes it hard for either player to gain a lasting advantage. Unfortunately, the abundance of draws in high-level chess can lead to very long matches that exhaust both players. Luckily, we have a solution to that. Today, we’ll look at the armageddon game in chess!

What Are Armageddon Games?

Armageddon games are a special type of chess game, which is most often used as a tiebreak in a tournament. They are useful has they ensure a decisive result in a relatively short time frame. But how exactly do they work?

The rules of chess stay the same within an armageddon game. There are just two additional rules in armageddon:

  1. If Black manages to draw the game, the draw is counted as a win in the context of the tournament. So by nature, an armageddon game cannot end in a draw.
  2. Black starts with less time on the clock than White.

Common time controls are 4 minutes for Black, and 5 minutes for White. However, the rules are not completely decisive in this regard, so you might see armageddon games with different time controls.

Usually, one player is given the choice to play as Black or White. Which player is given the choice is generally decided by drawing lots.

Who is Favored in Armageddon Tiebreaks?

Now, one question remains: “Should you play as Black or White in armageddon tie-breaks?” Unfortunately, the data is not very clear on that. There have only been a couple of armageddon games in high-level tournaments, which is not enough data to come to a conclusive decision on which side is favored.

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