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I often hear professional chess players use the phrase "to make a draw" where I would simply use "to draw" or replace "to make" with "to bring about" (or any of its synonyms) if we really had to use "draw" as a noun here.

For example, here's (time: 0:57) Fabiano Caruana (a native English speaker, mind you) using this phrase as below:

"...I don't know if White has real winning chances, but I felt I should be able to make a draw."

Is this phrase correct?

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Also keep in mind that sometimes in chess, a draw is something that you aim for. Unlike most other games/sports, there are cases where a player will want and try hard to achieve a draw. –  terdon Aug 25 '13 at 15:31

2 Answers 2

The word make can mean "to achieve or attain" (see Definition 10 in this dictionary).

So, the quote could be paraphrased as:

I don't believe that White can win the game, but all is not lost: it seems White can still achieve a draw.

In other words, I don't think there's anything wrong with this quote.

More importantly, many sports have their own way to commonly phrase things. In chess, make a draw is an oft-used way to describe the tactic of playing for a draw, particularly when you are at a disadvantage. For example:

“I made a mistake and I had to sacrifice a piece. After that I had to make a draw,” said Grandmaster Valentin Yotov.1

In reality though, we sometimes find ourselves in a situation in which we need to make a draw.2

If White doesn't risk anything, he cannot lose! Controlling the game, he can always make a draw from a position of strength.3

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‘Make’ has various meanings in the context of games, and one is to secure a certain score. This seems to be the meaning here.

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