6

Is it unsportsmanlike to underpromote a pawn to improve my chances? Sometimes I reach a won endgame where underpromoting my pawn will result in a slower but easier final checkmate.

Old example, easiest to understand: I was far better practiced at K-R vs K than K-Q vs K so I promoted a lone pawn to a rook. Improvising K-Q vs K would have had too high of stalemate chance for my taste.

Recent example: I deliberately underpromoted a pawn to a rook rather than a queen while having a queen. This makes mate in 9 moves worst case rather than 8 and again reduces the accidental stalemate odds dramatically.

I barely care about my opponent not resigning when he should. Primary reason: I once played out a losing game, sacrificing my last piece to push the ending int B-N endgame. My opponent said I should resign as he had a book endgame. I said, "Yes, but I don't think you can do it." Fifty move rule got him: B-N is tight and he was out of practice.

  • No, it is not unsportsmanlike. – Cleveland Jul 1 '18 at 20:35
  • "I barely care about my opponent not resigning when he should" -- if you really don't care you would not mention it at all. Now you sound like a TV drama character, "I don't care you don't love me anymore!" (tear droppin' =) – lenik Jul 2 '18 at 10:19
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    @lenik: Some people would call failure to resign a lost cause unsportsmanlike and I wanted to discourage answers depending on it. – Joshua Jul 2 '18 at 14:05
  • hahaha love the ending. But in the time you came here to write this you could easily have learned the KQ vs K ending. You shouldn't be too afraid of stalemates, and put your time on learning properly the basic endings. That will save you a lot of points since you will be able to mate faster, avoiding losses/draws on time, and with practice it should be fairly easy to avoid stalemates. For example, in KQ vs K you can always mate in 10 or less moves, in KR vs K you can always mate in 17 or less moves. That could be the difference between winning and losing. – Ivan Lerner Jul 12 '18 at 22:21
  • @IvanLerner: I said old example. It does not represent my current skill level. – Joshua Jul 12 '18 at 23:29
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If, as you say, you are "improving your chances", then it's not unsportsmanlike. Even if your opponent misunderstands, he doesn't really have much to complain about - if he doesn't want to play on he is free to resign.

I barely care about my opponent not resigning when he should.

Good, because demanding that your opponent resign IS unsportsmanlike.

3

It's ok, top players do it too. But be prepared to face the consequence when the underpromotion doesn't work out.

http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1879525

(Move 77... f1=N by Nakamura)

  • 1
    Nice blunder that one. – Joshua Jul 2 '18 at 14:03
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    Hah, I saw that one live. Incredible. – BlindKungFuMaster Jul 5 '18 at 13:42
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Here's a game with pawn promotion to a Knight for checkmate. Nothing unsportsmanlike when one plays to win as far as I am concerned.

Zvonimir Mestrovic vs Svetozar Gligoric

https://lichess.org/RiMAvMwD

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