Aug 172010

Today I’d like to tackle the thorny issue of resignation etiquette. Or, more precisely, the question that all chess players have to consider on a regular basis: “Is it time for me to resign yet?”

It can be a delicate judgement. Clearly it is bad form to insult or irritate our opponents by playing on when they have an enormous material advantage and yet… perhaps there is a potential mating net in one variation that they may have overlooked. Is all hope lost?

In my quest to bring HBCC members interesting and amusing food for thought I have roamed far and wide across the web and selected the choicest chess-related morsels for your delectation. Today I bring you thoughts on today’s subject from Redhotpawn’s (RHP) veteran chess blogger Greenpawn34:


“To resign or not to resign, that is the question.

A regular post this one with some player complaining a player will not resign in a lost position.

Again the camps are split in a healthy 50/50.
The main argument for not resigning is you never win by resigning.
The main argument for resigning is that not to is bad manners, an insult.
A middling bunch state that as long as there is a chance of a win or a draw then do not resign. But what is a chance? How do we judge a chance?

I bet each one of us have lost a game we should have won when our opponent had ‘no chance’ and visa-versa. (In my case a lot of visa-versa). What right does any of us have to say ‘no chance.’ when in the back of minds there lurks that blown game. You cannot force a player to resign. It is their choice.

However, you can still be creative and at the end of this post you will see the tail end of four games played on RHP where the winning player decides; “Well if you won’t resign, I’ll do this…”
Then we are onto who is insulting who? The player for not resigning, or the winner for taking the mickey.”

Here then are the four examples that Greenpawn34 has dug out of the Redhotpawn archives. I’ve taken the liberty of adding some comments of my own…

Exhibit A: “Three Rooks Mate”

Exhibit B: “Four Bishops Mate”

Exhibit C: “Five Queens Mate”

Exhibit D: “Four Knights Mate”

And finally… I’d like to dust off an antiquity of my very own to demonstrate that sometimes, even in the direst of circumstances, you should carry on playing because you just never can tell how stupid your opponent is going to get.

Take a look at the starting position below. Imagine that you are playing white. It is you to move and things are looking promising. As you consider how best to proceed you suddenly notice that you have a killer touch at your disposal. You get all excited as you begin thinking that you can play this move and black will have to resign. You can go to the bar and have a drink with a smug grin on your face. Have you seen the move? Take a look…

This example proves the point of view that “no one ever won a game by resigning”. Although, I must admit, after 1…Qxg5+ I was not playing on in the hopes of swindling my opponent but merely because I was too angry to stop!

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