A stalemate is an impasse in a contest, a point where neither player — usually in chess — can win or lose.
Stalemate is from an Old French word, estal, which means “place,” “position,” or “stand.” To be in a stalemate with an opponent is to be in a locked position, or a stalled place, where neither player can make a profitable move. Chess is the most common context for a stalemate, but any contest or negotiation can result in a stalemate: “The discussions about buying their competitor’s waffle house reached a stalemate and the deal died.”
a situation in which no progress can be made or no advancement is possible
drawing position in chess: any of a player’s possible moves would place his king in check
subject to a stalemate