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pascalbercker ♡ 93 ( +1 | -1 )
CHESS ETIQUETTE - or chess ETHICS Dear all,

Generally speaking many (perhaps most) of my opponents often resign an otherwise hopelessly lost game. But some do not. Some continue fighting to the bitter but completely obvious end - even when the possibility of a stalemate is out of the question. It seems to be there is something *morally* suspect about such behavior. But much worse is when a few of my opponents have *postponed* an otherwise absolutely hopeless position where material advantage is so overwhelming that even a beginner could win. Postponing such games seem to me to be even more morally suspect - it seems designed simply to *annoy* and *frustrate* the winner out of sheer meanness and spite. There is of course almost *nothing* that can be done about this. But it seems to me that we - as a chess community - might be able to develop a short statement of chess *ethics* that everyone should do the best they can to abide by.

far1ey ♡ 13 ( +1 | -1 )
Here we go.... AGAIN

This has been discussed many times, although it is bad etiquette to not resign, it is not against the rules so tough...
coyotefan ♡ 16 ( +1 | -1 )
Conditional moves Is your only way to speed up jerks who do not resign. That and adding them to your igonre list. Other than that far1ey is 100% correct.
ccmcacollister ♡ 124 ( +1 | -1 )
pascalberker And yet it may be just the opposite of appearances when someone holds onto a hopeless position ... for I have found that in some countries or cultures they would be considered poor sports for 'giving up' when behind, and/or for depriving you of the opportunity to checkmate them! Also, such an attitude is more commonly found among beginners to the game, where a Queen or a piece or two does not necessarily add up to a Win. Among tournament players tho, I think it is almost universally understood that Resignation is a proper and usually gracious act when it is obvious that the win is within the opponents skill level.
I just wanted to point out that in some cases, it is not malice when an opponent plays on. Besides cultural outlooks being different, or simply being unknowlegable to the acceptability of resignation it may also be that someone is letting you show them how to win a position that they do not know how to, or where they want to see the superior technique that they hope you will display for them. Others may delay awhile if they have a Highest Rating coming or a Win Streak going. Although those are not things that I ever counted myself, for some players those can be important factors I've noted.
ganstaman ♡ 113 ( +1 | -1 )
Do these players have only one game going at a time? My guess is no, so to say that they postpone the game to make it last forever is clearly just emotions and not logic talking. They take a postponement on all their games for whatever reason they please. That one game is lost does not affect when they are too busy to play or on vacation or what not.

If you never play on in a losing position, you are missing out on a lot of defensive practice. You can learn things that you can later apply in another game to avoid getting into these lost positions.

Plus, don't you just enjoy playing chess anyway? Why does it matter what the position is -- just play the game and enjoy it. Is it really that difficult to finish off a won game? Is it that much trouble to find a good move if your position is that strong? I really fail to see the negatives of these games continuing.

Personally, I love playing in an absolutely crushing position. Every move makes me think I'm a good chess player, which is a great boost to the self-esteem.
muppyman ♡ 39 ( +1 | -1 )
interesting, If a player postpones a game simply to "annoy" and "frustrate" his opponent, and the opponent gets annoyed and frustrated about it, then I would say the player who postponed the game has had at least some measure of success in the game, even if it is hopelessly lost. It always makes me smile to observe how consistently we require other people to do things the same way we do things, whether they want to or not. :)
kewms ♡ 52 ( +1 | -1 )
I had an opponent refuse to resign when I had two bishops against a lone king. Once I had chased the king into a corner, I set up a six move conditional sequence leading to mate, and never looked at the board again.

Obviously not all overwhelming wins have such clear forcing lines. Then, the best solution is to just ignore the "problem" game until it is your turn to move. If he wants to spend a month or two looking at a dead lost position, that's fine with me.

zenbum ♡ 109 ( +1 | -1 )
Sore winners This is one of those rare occasions when ganstaman and I are in complete agreement. :)

Playing chess online is a "conversation" of sorts, even if the players never actually chat with each other. And on the Internet it's always dangerous to infer emotions or motives about the other side of a conversation, unless they just flat out tell you. That's why we invented emoticons, after all.

If it seems like your opponent is trying to be annoying or frustrating, chances are you're just being paranoid. Not everything your opponent does is about you. Get over it. If you truly have a winning game (and don't blunder) then you'll eventually win. Stop being a sore winner.

Furthermore, some of the etiquette worked out over centuries of OTB chess doesn't necessarily make sense for online (especially turn-based) games. In an OTB game, it's rude to continue a hopeless position because it forces your opponent to waste a lot of valuable time and mental energy. On GK, that's much less of an issue.
grimmond ♡ 60 ( +1 | -1 )
Sore losers? I can't say I've ever felt angry at my opponent because he beat me. Usually, if I'm mad at anyone, it's myself for playing a bad move. Although, once I was angry at an opponent because he demanded I resign a position (multiple times) that was not yet totally lost. I still resigned when the time was right. Maybe I'm just not good enough to realize the position was lost, but to me he was not a strong enough player to guarantee victory. In that situation, I felt somewhat justified in annoying him.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I can't see anyone getting angry at their opponent just because they lost.

jevgeni ♡ 19 ( +1 | -1 )
marcus133 my opponent, marcus133, doesn't want to resign although one move has been left and he'll be checkmated then. the position is more than hopeless. why people do that? it's above of my understanding...
ccmcacollister ♡ 60 ( +1 | -1 )
jevgeni haha, what a perfect example of how expectations vary from one place to another; one person to another! :)
Most people I hear from say something like "my opponent was such a bad sport he played to one move of Mate, THEN RESIGNED! And deprived me of the pleasure of checkmate!!"
And maybe they want them to resign much sooner, or to play it to mate, but the VeRY LAST thing they want to see is Resignation if there is a Mate-in-one! }8-)
I'm not being critical of your position about it; just pointing out How Different we all see things at times~! Regards, Craig
PS G/L in your game, chessfriend :-))
ionadowman ♡ 189 ( +1 | -1 )
I agree with ccmcacollister... ... and I've played a losing game to mate myself. The reason? Well, I guess I can only show you...
Black is dead lost. I had what looked like an active position, but had brusquely been made aware a few moves previous that I was completely busted. But the final sequence looked so nice, I thought it worth placing "on record".
36.Qxa7+ Kh8 37.Ne7! Rxe7 38.Rg8+ Kh7 39.Qxe7+ Bxe7 40.R2g7#
A 50-50 call whether or not to resign at move 35 or 36, it would have been just mean to resign at move 39 - unless of course I had only just spotted the mate!
I recall an annotation by Peter Clarke concerning a game between Petrosian and Trifunovic in which the latter, busted, played a Knight to fork Petrosian's pair of rooks.
Clarke described this in this way. "A friendly gesture by Trifunovic, and one which the spectators no doubt appreciated. It is mate in three." The mate in three was duly played out.
But when all is said and done, no one has any right to demand how his opponent plays the game. I recall playing a K+B+N vs K ending (a pickup game played a zillion years ago, on Christchurch's Cathedral Square giant chessboard, as it happened) that my opponent kept insisting was a draw. Distracted by this constant buzzing in my ears, I realised only after several moves I was driving the enemy K towards the wrong corner, but the win came reasonably quickly once I corrected my play. I don't know whether the guy was convinced afterwards... If there's anything I do find annoying, it is lengthy postponements in hopeless positions, especially those that time out at the expiry of the postponement. Now that is just plain rude.
stivb_99 ♡ 5 ( +1 | -1 )
ionadowman What a crushing sequence, thanks for sharing!
fsud ♡ 136 ( +1 | -1 )
My 2 cents I think this thread is the best discussion of this subject that I have seen in the forums since joining GK.
I have recently been rethinking my position on resigning what would appear to be a hopeless situation. I have come to the conclusion that, in general, I will play to the mate.
Why? All of the reasons listed above, basically. I don't think it is unreasonable to expect one's opponent to take the game to it's conclusion (especially considering zenbum's points). When someone does not resign against me, I, like ganstaman, enjoy playing out a winning position.
Also, I am a casual player. And playing is the reason for the game. I have had an opponent resign at move 8 because they lost 2 points in material. Why bother to start the game at all?
I had one specific game where I realized that my opponent had mate-in-two. I decided to play it out. He failed to see the correct move and I eventually won.
One other example: I reviewed a game between 2 other players in a mini-t that I was in. Black was down to only the King. White had Queen and 2 pawns, about to promote one of them. And what happened upon promotion? Stalemate! As ganstaman pointed out, something can be learned from playing out a won or lost situation.
Again, I can see that this would apply more to the casual player than the serious, but, that is where I am.
Thanks for a great discussion.

kewms ♡ 21 ( +1 | -1 )
If your opponents routinely miss one-move mates and stalemates, then of course you don't want to resign. Just be aware that stronger players will find your attitude annoying.

ionadowman ♡ 81 ( +1 | -1 )
True enough: they will... ... but that's their problem, methinks. I have had a few opponents that have continued past the "proper time" to resign, and it has been irritating (actually because these were pretty strong players), but that had been my problem had I chosen to make it so.
I think strong players who do find this behaviour annoying ought to remind themselves that they were once beginners, and I have no doubt that at that stage of their development carried on to mate as well.
Besides, who doesn't remember, as schoolkids, promoting as many pawns as they could to see if they could win with 4 queens, or 5 knights... The opponent's resignation in those circumstances would have spoiled the fun.
Be annoyed if you must. Just don't make a song and dance about it.
rallyvincent ♡ 188 ( +1 | -1 )
All personal... I usually don't care if my opponent does play out a lost game or not. I admit that I do find it annoying, too, but I never ask anyone to speed up. That would be, in my opinion, much more impolite. After all, the opponent has all the rights to play on. (It's not helpful if he/she wants a rematch, but anyway...)

And the opponent can have various reasons for playing the game to the mate, be it practicing to avoid the mate as long as possible (could be helpful in an OTB Blitz tournament), or considering it a lesson in endgaming (for the next match, where he/she could remember that lost game as a valuable help). Or whatever legitimate reason else. I can't see how playing on would show disrespect to the opponent, as long as the losing players doesn't do it just for the purpose of hoping for a time-out win.

Now, if I am in a hopeless situation, I usually resign, but that is just because I don't like playing on a lost game for another four weeks. But I don't expect my opponents to share my attitude. And I don't have a problem with mating someone, if he forces me to. Just take it as an exercise in concentration.

On the subject of postponing... I fail to imagine that a player will stop playing all his other games to avoid one single defeat. I mean, come on... the [cancel postponement] option should provide safety.

Hmm... the following may or may not apply to this situation - decide for yourself. Here (in Germany) the numbers of drivers not stopping at traffic lights even if it turned to red longer then one second has increased over the last years (numbers are up 30-40%, if I remember correctly). They are not willing to wait just even a single minute! This (I assume) arises from this point of view "I (!) am losing time", while the correct point of view would be "I should respect the rights of others."
If we are talking about etiquette, we should at first strive to respect the decision of our opponent before complaining.

Enough now. Greetings,
Rally V.
stevetodd ♡ 87 ( +1 | -1 )
There is nothing you can do about other player's morals, the important thing is to maintain your own. Yes it can be annoying if your opponent does not resign, but most of the time it's actually amusing (don't you think) but that depends on your particular frame of mind at the time. I was playing otb in a league match last week when my opponent's mobile started ringing and he actually answered it! (but quickly walked away from the table) our captain asked why I didn't claim the game. I told him I was outgraded but doing ok and would rather get something from the game on merit than take a cheap default win. I did actually draw (which I was pleased with). But I would like to think that whatever my opponent does I would always maintain my own moral stance and that includes trying not to get annoyed because you may end up saying (typing a message) something that you regret
cep2eu ♡ 104 ( +1 | -1 )
I always resign when, according to me (given the skill of my opponent), I do not have any chance to save the game, and I kind of expect the same from my opponent. If they want to continue playing in a hopelessly lost position, I won't say a word (asking your opponent to resign is quite rude, IMO) and will keep on playing till the checkmate if necessary, but if the guy combines it with postponements and making moves at the very last moment, he'll probably make it to my ignore list. I do not enjoy playing when there's no challenge for me any more and all I have to do is to promote my pawn(s), which cannot possibly be stopped, to the last rank and then start checkmating the King. In an OTB game, it's ok, as it does not take that much time, but in CC it may take weeks or months. I am pretty sure that I am not the only one for who all the fun is gone when the outcome of the game is more than obvious. It's no chess any more, just moving the wooden pieces around the board. I think people who like to play till the checkmate should also take it into consideration.
cajela ♡ 55 ( +1 | -1 )
It's sometimes a problem in tournaments I'm quite a n00b and still learning my ettiquette. The one thing that has annoyed me so far is when people drag out lost games in mini-Ts. There's a limit on how many mini-Ts you can play, and having just one remaining game dragging ever so slowly in a couple of different mini-Ts means you can't join a new one. I do use conditional moves, but in one game my opponent had only a bishop free to move, while I inched my K across the board to protect a rookxpawn checkmate. There are so many squares a B can move to that it wasn't feasible to do conditional moves.
barry ♡ 15 ( +1 | -1 )
Don't Resign so quickly If your opponent is not a strong player and miss one or two opportunities, then I wouldn't recommend that you quickly just may have a chance..
ccmcacollister ♡ 189 ( +1 | -1 )
cajela It looks like your opponent there simply plays to Checkmate in all his games (that I saw of his, which he lost anyway). But I noticed in that game, for instance that you could have mated sooner by 52.Be4 BxRe5 53.Bc6# for instance, sacking your Rook outright. (Or 52.Bf5 or 52.Bg6 would also have mated next move.) Or even saving your Rook first then playing the mate in two Bishop maneuver, if you preferred.
I just mention that with the point being that often an opponent WILL play on longer if they feel that you have missed opportunities, or are engaging in the wrong plan. So here if someone saw you playing for K&R to mate by Rxh#, or even was not sure what approach you were taking; but that you were Not going for the shortest mating method of a Bishop check, then often they will be inclined to play on ... whether due to believing you are giving them chances, or just to find out what you are playing for that they may not have seen.
That's why I try to be as precise (and forceful, yet while producing minimal counterplay) as possible if wishing to induce someone to Resign; besides the fact that it shortens the game in itself even if they do not Resign.
Another thing that can induce Resignation, without breaching ettiquette by asking for resignation outright, is that when you have a forced winning procedure you can enter in a number of conditional move lines; but can also send a comment showing those lines. Like "IF 52 ... Bxe5 THEN 53.Bc6 #mate".
So that they can see you are aware of the forced win. An opponent would usually Resign a postal Chess game once shown that you knew the winning procedure. Tho online corr is a bit different, being quicker and lacking postage charges, still many will not want to continue if proven to be lost.
Regards }8-)
perfessor ♡ 32 ( +1 | -1 )
Too many postponements I'm having a similar problem in one of my tournament games - we are only at move 28, and I've lost count of the times my opp has postponed. I know he's not doing it to ME - he has over 100 games going. It may be within the rules, but I think it's a bit inconsiderate to take on more games than you can handle. Just now, he has postponed for the third time without making a move.
interstate8 ♡ 39 ( +1 | -1 )
wow Perfessor, it appears you might have a long game on your hands there. I was checking through your opponent's active games and (unless I am mistaken) noticed he still has a game going from the 9th GK Tournament. Thats March 2004!! So take comfort in the fact that compared to that game, your game is moving along at a blistering pace. :-)

nottop ♡ 64 ( +1 | -1 )
dead man's defense It's a strategy many people use (especially in the iccf). The idea is that -

if you delay the game long enough one of you might die -

If you should be the one to die - then it doesn't matter either way.
But if you should get lucky, and your opponent dies, then you gain.

Many people use this - and in one iccf game I had an oppeonet take over 130 days on a single move while he prayed something bad would happen to me.

I understand the logic of dead man - I don't use it myself - I resign bad games when it is apparent that the game is lost - I feel I can use the lesson and self-amger to play better in my other games.

But there is no denying that the system has merit.

kradak ♡ 62 ( +1 | -1 )
Prolonging Games As each case can differ, I was happy to read an article in the New Yorker about Fritz and other chess programs. In it, the article detailed how the study of high-rated software has given rise to examples where positions previously thought to be lost were at least recoverable to the level of a draw. In light of this, it would make sense to study a 'lost' position for some insight.

As far as anticipated mates are concerned, if you see that you are about to be mated, you could resign as a way of showing that you're not so dumb that you don't see the mate, or you could allow your opponent the viceral satisfaction of achieving the mate.
bill42164 ♡ 16 ( +1 | -1 )
CHESS ETIQUETTE If playing an opponent who refuses to resign a hopeless game why not just play along and make needless moves moves for totally unnesessary gains?
ionadowman ♡ 157 ( +1 | -1 )
kradak... ... we have to admit, I think, that when we speak of "lost" or losing, or "won" or winning, games, it is for a given value of "lost", "losing", "won" or "winning". What do we do about K+B+N vs K endgames? Nearly all of us know it is a winning game for the stronger side, but how many would resign the game on those grounds, even in correspondence play? I'd play it out - at least until I could see the forced mate.
Suppose you blunder away a piece in the middlegame. The position is probably lost. But it sometimes happens that for the piece, one obtains nebulous chances, probably insufficient to save the game, but enough to set the opponent problems. Do you give up because by any objective measure the game is lost, or do you continue on the basis that first the opponent "has to prove it"?
Here's an example from the absolute top-flight play - if a World Championship match game can be so described:
Botvinnik-Bronstein, 1951
Bronstein had just played 14...Bc5-a7? and lost a rook:
15.b6! Bxa4 16.b7 Bxb3 17.bxa8=Q Bb6 18.axb3 ...
A whole rook down, Bronstein continued 'as if nothing had happened', as the saying is: 18...Qb5 19.Nc3 Qxb3 ... whereupon Botvinnik thought things might be a bit simpler if he returned a little of the material won: 20.Rxa6? (I seem to recall some commentator's mordant remark: "Cerberus wasn't even growling...")
After 20...Nxa6 21.Qxa6 Nxd5 22.Qxa4? (22.Nxd5) Black was back in the game, and eventually drew.
It's a judgment call, but that implies, of course, that one is genuinely using one's judgment!
far1ey ♡ 42 ( +1 | -1 )
Just on that game Bronstein actually had a good plan up his sleeve. The idea was that after 14...Ba7? 15.b6 Bxa4 16.b7 Bxb3 and after 17.... Bb6 bxa8=Q Bxd5! the new queen is trapped. Unfortunately after Bxb3 it is whites turn! and after the winning of the rook he made the position crazy-like to make Bottvinik uncertain. He was in the end rewarded with the dubious move 20.Rxa6?! and because of this he eventually drew.