In some of the tournaments I've been to, there were pretty indecent people (some of whose licenses were revoked).

One of my friends had a terrible incident. At the end of the game, he was dominating and his opponent looked at him, told him that he resigned, they shook hands and reset the pieces. When the referee came, their opponent claimed that they agreed for a draw.

Even though the referees asked the other players, they just said they shook hands and reset the pieces together. Naturally, cameras showed the very same thing. At the end of the day, he was not able to prove the fraud and lost half a point from an already won game.

A similar thing might be observed at the end of Carlsen's defeat against Anand in Dubai. What prevents Carlsen from claiming that they agreed to a draw?

Moreover, unfortunately, these types of frauds do not only occur in local tournaments. For instance, there was the game Tal vs. Adamski where Tal's wife saved the day.

Thus, my question is somewhat two-folded. How should one resign properly, and proceed when the opponent tells that they resign?

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    If the thing with your friend happened on camera, why couldn't the game be continued from the last known (and presumably "won") position? – Annatar Aug 28 '17 at 12:50
  • Also, you should probably cut the episode with the color-changing bishop (it doesn't have anything to do with the actual question of how to resign, and apparently it was mainly caused by your carelessness - I assume the game was recorded, if you were able to analyze it the day after -, not a gap in the rules). – Annatar Aug 28 '17 at 12:55
  • I was not there, but my friend told me that his opponent said it was a mistake to accept the draw and he'd lose if the game continues. So, he refused to continue. – padawan Aug 28 '17 at 13:01
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    Then I think the referees screwed up heavily. A draw by mutual consent is not a draw without the consent of one player (your friend). Yes, the opponent could claim the same about the resignation, but then the game HAS to continue. And if the opponent refuses, well, that's why we play chess with time limits. – Annatar Aug 28 '17 at 13:18
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    Notice that generally one signs the result sheet first and only afterwards does one re-set the pieces back (if at all). – gented Aug 29 '17 at 9:06

In the USA, we have to notate our games. This would likely prevent issues where an opponent claimed a draw fraudulently.

I played tournament chess for years and never knew of a single instance of the sort of fraud and cheating that you mention. (My point is that I have not had to deal with it so others may have more germane experience.)

EDIT - good observation by @ghotir. If you agree to a result, write the result, sign the scoresheets, and do not reset the board until this has been done. Even so you both have the scoresheets. That's how it happens at tournaments.

  • After we shook our hands and reset the boards, I might write "draw" on my scoresheet. Then who's right? – padawan Aug 28 '17 at 12:12
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    @padawan If both player disagree about the meaning of the handshake, the referee will have the board settled again and the game will continue from the last known position. The problem would be more serious in rapid when you have no notation at all to refer to, but I've never witnessed any such cheating. If someone does it, I suppose he'll be well spotted after the second or third occurence. – Evargalo Aug 28 '17 at 12:40
  • @OlivierPucher Whan if I just see a move after accepting the draw and claim that my opponent has resigned? – padawan Aug 28 '17 at 13:12
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    @padawan : then you are a cheater... – Evargalo Aug 28 '17 at 13:14
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    (Also in the U.S.) In addition to keeping notation, you sign both sheets; traditionally, you write a big result (e.g., 1-0 or 1/2-1/2) on the lower part of the sheet, and/or circle the winning color. Since both players sign, it's easy to see right then whether one has changed the result. – Ghotir Aug 28 '17 at 14:38

I can't imagine making additional actions to avoid something so ridiculous. Defending against something that never happens won't help you make chess friends. The probability of this happening is 0% and the probability of this happening to you is even bigger 0%. How many times do you think player can repeat such a behavior unpunished? What sense does it make for the player? Who is going to risk his career / good name this way? People capable of that will use engine assistance in the first place. It's just half a point at risk...

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    I don't think that answers my question. In addition, your answer needs strong reference since you give numerical arguments. After all, "bigger zero" has no meaning. – padawan Aug 29 '17 at 16:46
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    Fully agree with hoacin's sentiment. What is next? Protective gear in case your opponent is throwing pieces at you? – user1583209 Aug 29 '17 at 23:28
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    @user1583209 Do you really think cheating in a tournament and physical assault are under the same category? – padawan Aug 30 '17 at 19:32
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    @padavan I just have a hard time believing that either of these is a common situation in chess one should worry about. – user1583209 Aug 30 '17 at 23:12

1) When I resign, I usually do all of these: drop my king, say 'I resign', and stop the clocks, and offer a handshake.

2) When my opponent says he resigns, I will not shake hands immediately, rather, I will stop the clocks and call the arbiter. After the arbiter comes, I will ask my opponent to state his resignation to the arbiter.

Quod Erat Demonstrandum.

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    I would not want to be your opponent in case of "2".... Would really only recommend to act like this in case of suspected cheaters. – user1583209 Aug 30 '17 at 23:18

The real question here does not seem to be how to resign, but how to deal with cheaters. There are ways of dealing with cheaters which are not specific to chess.

After the fact, some might suggest a fistfight, :-) while others might suggest social shaming (i.e., making sure everybody in the club/tournament learns that the person is a cheater). You can also request not to be paired against the cheater in the future. Tournament directors are not required to accommodate your request, but they can consider it. Finally, you can file a formal complaint, although there better be evidence.

Before the fact, you can either be "paranoid" about it (for example, by demanding that the director witness the resignation as someone else suggested), or you can relax and assume good faith knowing that cheating is very rare (unless you play in an environment very different from what I know!). Up to you.

In any case, keeping score is always advisable, for a variety of reasons.

Back to the incident in question: the tournament director has a lot of discretion when dealing with "ambiguous resignations" (ambiguous is how they look to a TD in a "he said, she said" situation). Here's what Tim Just, editor of the USCF rulebook, had to say about it in his book, Just Law:

If an ambiguous resignation is disputed promptly enough, then the game can simply continue. If the unclear resignation is not discovered until much later, then the waters get muddy. Some TDs like to award one point to the player who says they won the game and a half-point to the player who says they drew the same game—I am not a fan of this method, but it is widely used. TDs may be able to go over the game score and adjudicate the result based on the final position. If the TD cannot determine what happened, they may declare the game a draw or let the reported score stand. The worst option is for the TD to declare the game a double forfeit. I cannot recommend that. But players who get tied up in disputed resignations may want to be prepared for any of these TD decisions.

(This is all in the context of USCF rules, of course. Your mileage may vary under other jurisdictions.)

  • That is an extensive and great answer. But I don't still see a question about dealing with chess cheaters is not about chess – padawan Aug 30 '17 at 19:16
  • What I was trying to say was that there are general ways of dealing with cheaters which are not chess-specific. I didn't mean that I thought the question off-topic, and there are certainly some chess-specific aspects of dealing with chess cheaters, such as the kinds of claims one could make to a tournament director or chess federation. – itub Aug 30 '17 at 19:27

If you keep a written record of games, the ending position can be reconstructed. Then the referee can reason from the board position whether a resignation or a draw is the more equitable result from the position.

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