This happened to me yesterday. It was unreasonable for me to play on, so I was going to resign but my opponent was not at the board. They probably left the board to watch another game, waiting for my next move.

Question: What is the correct way to resign if my opponent is not at the board?

I stopped the clock, wrote 1-0 on my scoresheet (I was black), and started resetting the pieces. But this doesn't strike me as an officially correct thing to do.

4 Answers 4


I agree with Cleveland that what you did is probably sufficient. One other thing you can always do if you can't find the opponent and are concerned that you might be seen as doing something suspicious is to call the arbiter and announce your resignation to them.


That's an acceptable way to do it. If you want a more official record, sign your scoresheet after writing 1-0. I usually motion for them to come back to the board and then offer a handshake.

  • 2
    Perhaps place the signed score sheet in the middle of the board with the winner's king on top, and the loser's king toppled over beside it? I think that would be pretty clear, and using the winner's king as a paperweight should make it clear that the score sheet was put in the board deliberately.
    – supercat
    Commented Sep 2, 2019 at 17:23

When my opponent is at the board, I signal my resignation by handing him/her/it my King. When my opponent is not at the board, I signal my resignation by placing both King on the center squares. The dark squares if I played White, and the light squares if I played Black. I do stop and try to shut off the clock. I consider it bad etiquette to pick up his/her/its personal property, the chess case. Normally, I have plenty of time and can wait for my opponent to return and help put away the set.

It is good practice to have both players mark the score on the wall chart and to analyse the game, whatever the outcome of the game. "People who want to improve should take their defeats as lessons, and endeavor to learn what to avoid in the future." Capablanca.

  • 2
    The kings in the middle thing is confusing. I am more used to placing only the king of the winner in the middle, and both in case of a draw. The convention you use comes from electronic boards, I think. Commented May 27, 2016 at 10:37
  • 2
    I've never heard of the kings in the middle before. I've always tipped my king over when I wish to resign.
    – Herb
    Commented May 28, 2016 at 3:32

find the TD and give them your scoresheet and say your opponent is MIA.

  • cowardly fanboyz downvoting CORRECT answers again. Commented Feb 14, 2020 at 17:41

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