Originally posted by Al Green
OK, Sorry, and thanks for the update. I was reading a book published by Milton Hanauer, M.S., J.D. in 1957 (Then director of NYC Interscholastic Chess League, former N.Y. State Champion and member U.S. International Team.)
Yes - It was a silly rule because chess theorists then decided it was great fun to find loads of obscure combinations of pieces that would lead to a win in huge numbers of moves.
All these obscure combinations, and the max moves, had to be listed somewhere so tournament directors could refer to them and the list had to be updated constantly, driving everyone mad.
Also it made games with those combinations of pieces really long and boring as the players had to make loads of moves, and didn't want to agree a draw to a theoretically won game, but unless they were chess theorists, they had no chance of finding the winning moves.
It could also be argued that (as players had to be told what their max moves were) they would then get have extra information about their winning chances, so the rule would affect their play.
All in all - a fine example of the principle that things are always more complicated than you think.