One of my opponents at chess.com just stopped moving after falling into objectively losing position, refused to resign, and made me wait for 20 minutes to claim a win by time.

I've recently resumed my online chess activity and I have experienced this childish behavior of some online chess players several times already.

Does chess.com's engine detect such unsportsmanlike behavior? Or is there a way to flag such users, so that they could be punished? What is the proper etiquette for us to proceed in such cases?

Here's the game position when my opponent stopped moving and refused to resign:

[Title "Me vs Malicious Player"]
[FEN "8/7P/2k1p3/p3P3/Pp1K2P1/1P6/8/8 w - - 0 44"]
  • 11
    I usually block them and move on. Not much that you can do except to make sure you never meet them again.
    – firtydank
    Commented Mar 29, 2018 at 7:14
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    actually, chess.com should make them forfeit the match after 4 or 5 minutes in a live game. Just wait. That's how it worked a few years ago.
    – user14104
    Commented Mar 29, 2018 at 21:47
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    They should offer a game mode where individual moves have a time limit (in addition to the overall game timer) Commented Mar 31, 2018 at 23:40
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    If you don't like your opponent having time on the clock to burn, play shorter games! I Commented Apr 2, 2018 at 7:33
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    @touchmybody I feel like that might punish a few people genuinely trying to think a while on a move. I guess if you both agree to it, that's fine; it just changes the game a fair amount (players would need to avoid being in complicated positions or they'd either get the boot or be forced to make a move prematurely). Commented Apr 2, 2018 at 13:20

6 Answers 6


The behavior you describe is bad sportsmanship and goes against the policies of chess.com. See the chess.com fair play policy and this blog post about the new abuse report system which includes an option specifically for "poor sportsmanship / stalling in games".

  • 2
    Thanks for the suggestion. I have submitted the abuse report. What particularly drove me nuts was the fact that if you look at that user's profile page, everyone was complaining about his unsportsmanlike behavior.
    – gdrt
    Commented Mar 29, 2018 at 11:17
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    But there is no way to prove the player isn’t legimately using those 20 minutes to make a move. They have been given that time and in my opinion rightfully should be allowed to use it. If it bothers the OP, just get away from the keyboard or take a break on another webpage which the other answer suggests. Commented Mar 30, 2018 at 17:03
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    The standard of proof is up to chess.com since it's a private website and not a court of law, but let's just say that it is highly suspicious that someone who managed to make 40 moves in 10 min suddenly needs 20 min to ponder one move, especially in such an obviously lost position (there's a mate in 5). And it's not the first time.
    – itub
    Commented Mar 31, 2018 at 12:16
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    @user1997744 - I'd agree, other than the fact that it doesn't take 20 minutes to realise that black has no chance of winning in this position. In fact, it doesn't even take 20 seconds.
    – Jules
    Commented Mar 31, 2018 at 13:40
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    @Jules Yes but my point is - like the law itself - having black and white (no pun intended) rules mot subject to interpretation or some human judgement while not always ideal, works fairest in most circumstances. And in this case the opponent has 20 minutes. This case might be obvious but sets a bad precedent for cases where it may not be so obvious. Commented Mar 31, 2018 at 13:49

Assuming you also have plenty of time on your clock, make a break: have a drink, or check your mail, or pay a visit to the bathroom, or grab a book (even if it's an openings book, it doesn't count as cheating in that position ;) ), or go verify if your baby hasn't hurt herself with that knife she was trying to grab when you were too busy calculating your Bxh6! sacrifice to stop her.
Meanwhile, check every five minutes that the opponent hasn't played (the worst trick would be if he plays a meaningless move at some point and ends up winning on time). After your well-deserved 20' pause, collect your point, block this undelicate opponent to make sure you never play against him anymore, and look for another partner. You will win the next game as well thanks to your fresh mind after the 20' break.

In case you're a real chess lover who doesn't care about his virtual Elo rating, and really just want to start a new game as soon as possible, the alternative is to resign yourself. I almost never do that because I do care about my little rating points (vanitas vanitatum, omnia vanitas) and because the pueril opponent might believe he has been smart when he gets gifted that pseudo-win, which might even encourage him to continue his misbehavour. But objectively, we shouldn't care at all what the abusing, unfair player is thinking - It's not our job to educate him, and we don't have the means to do it anyway.

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    All good but the game took place very late during the night and I wanted to go to sleep.
    – gdrt
    Commented Mar 29, 2018 at 11:13
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    @gdrt : annoying indeed. Well, go brush your teeth, wear pajamas, and check just before falling asleep that the opponent still hasn't played...
    – Evargalo
    Commented Mar 29, 2018 at 12:22
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    Since you care so much about your fake internet points, here, have 10 more :) (although, full disclosure, the upvote was more for the rest of the answer than that line)
    – anon
    Commented Mar 30, 2018 at 19:01
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    I believe resigning in a won position is against Chess.com rules, and I would strongly advice against that. I wouldn't want to play against someone who's actually a lot stronger than me but happens to be underrated because they like resigning to be able to start the next game faster.
    – JiK
    Commented Apr 1, 2018 at 13:31

I followed @itub's suggestion and filed a report against the particular user. Here's the answer I got from Chess.com support:


Certainly, this is not what we want on our site! I have sent this member to our investigative department for a close watch on this account. They will be monitored and if they continue this behavior, we will have to close their account!

Thank you so much for reporting! We appreciate it so much!!


Chess.com Member Support Staff

Since Chess.com also takes it seriously, I do suggest to report malicious users instead of not doing anything, so that in future they don't ruin online chess experience of your fellow mates as well.




and go to sleep. Then file a complaint in the morning.

  • 1
    You can do that many premoves at once?
    – D M
    Commented Mar 29, 2018 at 16:55
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    support.chess.com/customer/portal/articles/… says there's a limit of 5.
    – D M
    Commented Mar 29, 2018 at 16:56
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    Hmm, I guess I shouldn't trust random people on the internet: lichess.org/forum/lichess-feedback/multiple-premoves Would it be wrong to write a bot for the sole purpose of implementing infinite pre-moves? Commented Mar 29, 2018 at 17:00
  • @Acccumulation Possibly. You'd have to look at chess.com's TOS.
    – anon
    Commented Mar 30, 2018 at 19:03
  • While it is still two premoves over the limit, I just want to point out that if g8Q in the sequence above is not checkmate then following with Qxe6 instead of Qhf7 definitely will be. Slightly closer!
    – Will
    Commented Apr 2, 2018 at 14:45

Time for an update: Chess.com has just released a new formular for reporting abusing players.

It includes a category "poor sportsmanship / stalling in games" that totally fits your situation.

  • 1
    Thank you! I've upvoted this answer of yours and suggested this as an update to the previously accepted answer.
    – gdrt
    Commented May 7, 2018 at 14:57

Unfortunately there isn't much you can do to make the game end immediately. If you care about your online rating and don't want to do something like offer a draw, you'll have to wait. I'd suggest doing something else that you need to do with that time.

After the game though, there is plenty you can do. The best course of action would be reporting the user to Chess.com, explaining how they made you wait 20 mins. For proof, you could take a screenshot of your game when your opponent has 15 minutes, and another screenshot when he runs out of time. This will show Chess.com it is the same position, and that your opponent just let the clock run down.

Additionally, you can block the user so that you never play them again. This will save you some time in the future, if you get paired again.

Here's Chess.com's link on how to deal with unfair players. They give instructions on how to report a player, as well as other things:


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