This rule also is intended to prevent players from wasting time by playing random moves that lead nowhere. Under the fifty-move rule, if no pawns are moved and no captures are made in fifty consecutive moves, the game is declared a draw. Fifty moves in this rule is defined as fifty moves by White and fifty moves by Black, so that is still a lot of moves.
Throughout the 1990s there was a push to expand the fifty-move rule to a seventy-five-move rule or a hundred-move rule. This was to accommodate certain positions where computer programs found ways to force checkmate that required more than fifty moves of maneuvering without moving a nonexistent pawn or making a capture. Positions such as king, rook, and bishop against king and rook are susceptible to this extension of the fifty-move rule. There is as yet no consensus on whether or not these rule changes should be made universal. Sometimes the changed rules are in effect, and other times the old fifty-move rule is in effect. A tournament director should therefore make clear which rules are in effect for his event.
In a way this is a very exciting time to be a chess player. It has been hundreds of years since the last big changes in the rules began. Today, thanks to the influence of computers, it is possible we may be seeing another set of rule changes.