In blitz, I frequently find myself in a position where I'm hopelessly losing on the board but have a good chance of winning on time (and the other way around). Is it generally considered good sportmanship to resign or offer a draw in such positions, or is it fair play to frustrate your opponent until his clock runs out?

Update: I realize this question is very similar to a previous question, although I believe this scenario to be slightly different, which may elicit different answers.

12 Answers 12


No it's not. Your opponent spent more time to reach a winning position and you spent less time to get time advantage. It's quite fair to use your time advantage over your opponents position advantage.

Time control is a part of chess.

  • 1
    This basically answered the question. Extinguish your opponent (by strangling him with time control), or like an ember he will become a deadly fire (in the form of your loss). Commented May 10, 2017 at 19:10
  • I loved your analogy : )
    – ferit
    Commented May 11, 2017 at 20:38

I would never resign a game where the expected outcome is a win on time for me. Of course offering a draw is a gracious thing to do and could be considered good sportmanship, I usually only do this if I have been playing several games with this opponent and maybe chatted a bit.

I would also offer a draw if the position of the game is impossible to ruin, even in blitz, for either side, which is quite different from a "dead draw" in tournament play. I.e. something like KB vs KB, K+a-pawn vs K with the defending king in front of the pawn, etc. It doesn't make much sense to me to find out who can purely physically make irrelevant moves faster.

But in dead drawn positions in which my opponent still has to react to my moves, I would certainly play on. Often you have a situation in which you can instigate a pawn break as soon as your opponent is reduced to making premoves. This pawn break would lose if he were still able to react to it, but, alas, he used up all his time parrying my earlier threats.

That's just what blitz is about, you exchange time for quality moves. If you can't stand to be flagged, play with increment.


Winning a game sometimes gives a bad feeling when you should have lost but won on time. This is true for blitz as well as for a regular game.

Losing on time is part of the blitz game. So playing on is fair in my opinion.

This does not mean that you should not resign in a lost position. But you do not win a tournament this way.


I've always taken the position that it's possible, maybe even likely, that I wouldn't have been in a losing position if I had taken as much time or more than my opponent. You could equally argue that he should resign for getting a great position by using substantially more time than you did. As someone else pointed out already, the clock is part of the game and necessary to put both players on equal footing. Time management is an important component in chess, even if it's an unfortunate one. If this does not appeal to a player, then I would suggest correspondence.

In sum, play for a win by playing within the rules and thereby perhaps you'll both benefit by any lessons gained, whether they be purely chess lessons or lessons about other aspects of the game, like time management.


Your question could be answered either way, which is why the question is so interesting. I have little directly to add to earlier answers. Personally in your place, I would probably resign, but this is because I am too sportsmanlike a loser for my own good. Probably, the best answer is that one need not resign. It's a close call, though.

What earlier answers have not mentioned however is this. The really poor sportsman is the opponent, the one who complains when his flag falls.

The one player may bear an obligation of courtesy to grant that his position is objectively lost. However, more important is this: In Western culture, the other player has no moral right whatsoever to insist that his opponent make gracious concessions. His only right is to play to win under the rules. The player who does insist is just a bad loser on time—and if I am TD, I will sternly warn that each is free to do as he likes with the time on his own clock, without having his conduct called into question thereby.

You may graciously resign, with my thanks. I must not however so much as hint at demanding your resignation.


It is not rude to play to win on time in blitz.

"Time" is one the key variables of blitz. That's somewhat true even in "regular" chess, but time is the whole point of blitz.

If you have a winning position and run out of time, you've lost.

So the reverse is true, that "time" is a legitimate way to win with an otherwise losing position.

A "losing position" is one that is lost, all other things being equal. In your case, all other things are not equal. Your opponent has a time disadvantage that may outweigh your positional disadvantage, meaning that s/he might not be able to win in the allotted time.


I have heard of a Go tournament where one team was up on time, and so they started making fast moves, planning on running down their opponent's clock. I was horrified to read that the referee interceded and declared a victory for the team that was low on time! The ruling was that the moves had been too fast.

I'm much happier to play a chess game where the time controls are respected. Both players should agree on the clock settings before the game, and they shouldn't cry foul when those rules are enforced. Time control is a real part of chess strategy.



Everything is fair in love and war


Suppose you initially had an obviously winning position but your opponent Refused to resign,hoping you'd make an unbelievable blunder(which you eventually do - nature of blitz) and now said opponent has the winning advantage,but you can still win on time...why not go ahead and claim what was yours to begin with.


I think it's rude in time controls that include a delay or increment. There you are playing for your opponent to have a heart attack at the board. In a game without added time, I don't think it's unsportsmanlike if your opponent has less than perhaps 45 seconds. (I strongly prefer delay or increment for this very reason.)

  • 3
    Interesting - my gut says it is the other way round - a time increment would clearly benefit the player with the winning position, so in that case playing on would raise fewer issues of sportsmanship.
    – firtydank
    Commented Jan 13, 2016 at 9:23

As @saibot well said, "Time control is part of chess".

By the way, I'm sure that everyone of you had a game where the enemy played far way better and in this case I'm ok on resigning/offering draw (depend on the game) even if it's won by time because I'm used to think that I really win iff I've played better than my enemy.


I think it's in bad taste. If hopelessly outnumbered like queen down then in such situations winning on time leaves a bitter after taste. But then chess is fiercely competitive so not many would be willing to be gracious

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