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I really don't know if I am correct when I ask my opponent to resign when I am at a 1800-1900 ELO level. I have an Asperger disorder. To me ,endgames are more clear to play than middlegames, and the game looses interest when I think a newbie would win it. I sometimes ask my opponent to resign and play a rematch. Sometimes it has an effect, and they resign. At other times, I feel myself uncouth.

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Is it unfair to ask for a resignation in these kinds positions in an online chess game?

  • 16
    I feel that someone else to resign is a little rude, though it might not be a big deal. You should absolutely respect their decision if they don't - it is their choice after all. – konsolas Sep 1 at 19:53
  • 39
    Your opponent has every right to play on if they wish. You should never ask your opponent to resign. – Qudit Sep 1 at 20:20
  • 1
    You might be interested: boardgames.stackexchange.com/questions/48318/… (although this is for another game, the concepts are the same). – Allure Sep 2 at 2:00
  • 10
    Please note that your opponent may not be aware that his position is lost – David Sep 2 at 7:55
  • 3
    As @David said, in the position shown it's quite plausible for a relative beginner to think that he can stop the white h pawn from queening, and somehow manage to get a draw by stalemate or else queen one of his own pawns. And if the OP makes some blunders, he might be right! – alephzero Sep 2 at 14:13
47

Is it rude to ask my opponent to resign an online game when they have a lost endgame?

Yes, it is rude, although you are in good company. In one Olympiad Victor Korchnoi is alleged to have asked his opponent - "Do you speak English?" When they said "Yes" he replied "Then please resign". I may be misquoting. He may not have said "please" :-)

Strictly speaking today what Korchnoi did is not allowed in over the board chess because it is disturbing the opponent. In online chess, however, trash talking is more acceptable because the opponent can always mute by switching off chat.

  • 3
    I sometimes discuse on correpondance eg at move 20 oh my last move on 18th move was a mistake and we discuse it. It is not the same as on board with time control. But I think I should not ask for resign more. Just if I feel boring to end the game I will be quiet and I will accept my oponnent liberty of playing it – Leukocyte Sep 1 at 21:45
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    @Brian Towers Korchnoi was one of the greatest ever but I wouldn't call him "good company" for treating your opponent with sportsmanship. – Inertial Ignorance Sep 2 at 6:46
  • @BrianTowers: "Victor Korchnoi is alleged" *** it's wrong to simply repeat this kind of pseudo-information, there is no excuse for doing so. – Wlod AA Sep 5 at 0:33
34

Brian Towers answered the question, but to help you understand why people don't resign, I recommend you watch this lecture by GM Finegold Blunders, with GM Ben Finegold. The gist of it is:

Never resign, and look for resources no matter how bad your position is. And when you are winning, don't let your guard down.

  • 1
    I was just seeing the titles of his youtube videos and I got the feeling that he might be a jerk (never watched anything because of this). If I am correct I would doubt his advise from a sportsmanshit standpoint.Detached from this I have to say a never resign philosophy is bad sportsmanship, depending on the circumstance. – Kami Kaze Sep 2 at 6:31
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    It should be pointed out that Finegold's lecture is aimed at beginners. For example, at 1:54, he asks the audience what move Black should play and explicitly reminds them that the move White just made attacks Black's queen with a knight. It takes the audience 20 seconds to figure out that the correct reply is to take the knight. The advice to never resign definitely doesn't apply to more advanced players. – David Richerby Sep 2 at 11:27
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    He makes a great point in the video about how you can be losing the entire time and then the opponent makes the one move that gives the game away. You don't win a game because you played 20 good moves and the opponent played 20 bad ones, but you win because the game was even until your opponent blundered. – Phil Patterson Sep 2 at 18:17
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    Not resigning in a lost case can mean to spoil your (mental) resources and waste everybody's time. Also, assuming your opponent could make a very dumb mistake at any time shows disrespect. Yes, it might be correct, sure, in one of a thousand times. but the 999 other times you might be appearing to be a jerk. – Alfe Sep 3 at 13:38
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    @Alfe GM Finegold's point is that, if you're a beginner playing another beginner, there's no such thing as a lost cause, because your opponent could blunder their queen at any moment, or fall for a silly checkmate. But, for players beyond that stage in their chess development, I fully agree with what you say. – David Richerby Sep 3 at 16:01
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It's always rude to ask your opponent to resign. They should resign of their own accord once they're convinced that you're overwhelmingly likely to win the game. In my case, that always meant you'd have to convince me that you knew how to play the endgame in question and that both of us knew how you would win it.

If your opponent hasn't resigned yet, it might mean that they don't know that it's a lost position for them, or that they're not yet convinced you know how to win it. In any case, in the position shown, it shouldn't take more than a few more moves for you to checkmate your opponent, so it's really not something you should be worrying about.

  • Another possibility is that the other player knows it's a losing endgame, but still wants to play it out as an exercise. – N4v Sep 4 at 19:10
  • @N4v Or for that matter, they might have a long-shot novel approach they think might work even to just draw the game. It might fail 100% of the time, but you might not know for sure until you try (or have seen it before), and hopefully both players learned something in the process. – Michael Sep 5 at 0:32
19

Honestly it's rude to ask your opponent to resign in any position. The one exception may be them deliberately letting their clock run to 0 in a completely lost position, but in this case they're being deliberately malicious and you can't really hope to reason with them.

Even though you're absolutely justified in thinking your opponent should resign, that doesn't mean you should tell them to.

  • Also in correspondance master? I think answers may have differed if I clarified it was correspondance. – Leukocyte Sep 3 at 18:51
  • In correspondence you're even more justified in thinking your opponent should resign, but that still doesn't mean it's nice to ask them to. They have the right to play on for whatever reason. – Inertial Ignorance Sep 3 at 19:06
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    Ok, I won't do it more. – Leukocyte Sep 3 at 19:15
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You might know that you are playing a game that is already decided, but your opponent might not.

  • Your opponent might not realize that the position you now have is a won endgame.
  • Even if your opponent realizes it, she might not be convinced that you know that you already won and that you know what mistakes you need to avoid in order to win. So they believe that there is still a small chance that you slip up and they can get a draw or even win after all.

Usually it is considered bad etiquette to discuss the game you are playing with your opponent, but if you really want them to be aware that they are wasting your and their time by continuing this match, then you could use this as a teaching opportunity.

Use chat to tell them (politely!) that they can not win. You could also give them a link which explains how to win that endgame to show them you know exactly how to beat them and that they can't do anything about it. Don't write "You lost, resign already!". Write "I think you can no longer win this game because..." and let them come to the conclusion to resign on their own.

But it is possible that your opponent can not be convinced that they lost no matter what you write. In that case the only way to convince them is by playing the game to the end and win.

  • 4
    I can't agree with the advice to discuss the game with the opponent while it's in progress. Telling somebody that they're in a lost position, even using polite words, is still basically telling them that you think they should resign, and that's still grossly inappropriate. – David Richerby Sep 2 at 11:22
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    Not the best way to go, but still incrementally better than asking for a resignation. If the OP can't stand just playing the game without saying anything, this might be a viable alternative. And if OP ever gives away the win by explaining the position, then they'll learn to keep quiet and just play :-). – Jeffrey supports Monica Sep 2 at 13:05
  • @Jeffrey This is correspondance. In blitz or quick games I agree to talk can disturb, but on correspondance there is no clock. – Leukocyte Sep 3 at 17:04
8

Why don't you resign instead?

It's a question that looks like it has an obvious answer: because I'm winning! But that begs the question "who cares?"

Let the game end. What happens? Your record goes up by 1 win, and you get some rating points. In the end, other than the sheer enjoyment of the game, that's the only real consequence. A few bits in a computer tracking your record.

Now if you were merely bored with the game, and convinced it is utterly over, nothing stops you from just resigning a winning position and going on with your life. Perhaps you might play another game in the saved time.

Which means, when you really get down to the tradeoff, you are pairing the points you might lose by resigning yourself (to solve your interest issues) against any sheer enjoyment of the game the other party may have.

Which leads to the human question: do you have a sense of how much enjoyment they have left in the game? Clearly they're not already at the point of saying the game was no longer worth playing, or they would have resigned already. So you are asking them to truncate that enjoyment for your sake. You are really telling them that they are no longer worth your time and they are not worth the points it'd take to break free of the game of your own accord. Whether they agree is really a people problem, and you may get some clues from their move choices and/or their chat.

Maybe they've been looking to try out that difficult endgame to see what they might be able to pull off. They'll never find out if they resign. But now they know that any fun they might have trying out that end game is paining you.

There's a few alternatives I might suggest. One is to do what Allure did in the comments:

Black is completely busted. 39. Kxe6 Kg8 40. Ke7 and the pawn promotes, or 39...Ke8 40. f7+ Kf8 41. Bxc5+ and 42. f8=Q+

Rather than telling them to resign, because they are no longer worth your time, help them see what you see. Practice teaching people how to analyze the endings. Then they can decide whether that means its time to resign or if they want to play out a line you didn't analyze.

Alternatively, realize that those bytes in some computer's memory banks somewhere are not really all that important. Make your own game. If a position seems totally won, look for a challenge instead. See what non-optimal play you might be able to bring into the game to make the endgame interesting again. Maybe you need to hang a bishop, or promote a pawn to a funny piece. If you have a text-to-speech engine that can call out moves, consider playing the ending blindfolded, just for the challenge. We teach games to be all about winning and losing, but at the heart of it they're games. Find ways to have fun with them!

  • 1
    I'm not sure if "Make your own game" is good advice, I don't think it is polite to toy with a defeated opponent. – PStag Sep 3 at 12:04
  • Truely I have resigned in some cases, and refused to play a rematch. I play correspondance, and in some cases my oponnent took me a week mating him in endgames that are lost as K+R vs K that can take 15 or 20 moves to win. I don't care about points on the net, well I want to have my rating at my level to play with people of my level. – Leukocyte Sep 3 at 12:33
  • I hate when it happens on federated 90+30 games. There I cannot resign, to me to play a middlegame with plus rook and no counterplay is also boring (and it can take one or two hours to win), and I would also win that to Magnus Carlsen. – Leukocyte Sep 3 at 12:35
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    Winning and increasing your rating often does have consequences. It can determine who wants to play with you next, and in general I like playing against somewhat stronger opponents. – Dennis Jaheruddin Sep 3 at 14:38
  • "See what non-optimal play you might be able to bring into the game to make the endgame interesting again" that would be unfair with my oponnent. I know it since I continued playing a loosed game on an International Tourney at age 8, and my oponnent gave me some chances to think I could draw it or win it. He also told me I should have resigned. The GM that was with me stayed quiet, but told me after the game "What he has done is neither a fair behaviour" – Leukocyte Sep 3 at 15:50
5

The answer I am about to give is not directly related to Chess (a game I'm far from mastering), but any skill based PvP game (opposed to stats-based games).

(Yes, I know that in some cases, the loss is inevitable since you cannot win with one King vs two promoted Queens.)

The other player/team might be losing for now, but the game is not over and the tables may turn.

In my opinion, keep playing a game in the losing position is really important to get better (not only because I feel sympathy for underdogs). As you have no room for mistakes you have to keep a cool head, play on the edge, take the absolute best decisions if you want to keep a chance of reducing the advantage and, finally, overturning the opponent.

In the other hand, in the winning position, you may have more room for mistakes but you need maintain your best level to keep the lead and widen the gap.

Not wanting to play a game until it's conclusion is either :

  • a proof of lack of respect for your opponent, as you believe he has no chance (ie : is not skilled enough) of getting back.
  • a vulgar display of vanity of your part, since you're assuming you cannot be overtaken in any way and that you won't learn from the rest of the game.
  • wishing neither of you get better at the game, because not playing said game will not help any of you improving at it.
  • showing you are not having fun playing the game anymore, wich is... kind of sad.

Yes, asking your opponent to resign is rude, no matter the game/sport if you are playing a competitive ELO (or other system) matchmade game.

1

I would never ask an opponent to resign over the board (live chess), although someone else brought up a good point about an opponent letting the clock run to zero on purpose.

Online, I think it's different.

Online chess, especially at a beginner-intermediate level, is a lot less formal. When sites give you the preset option to request that your opponent resign, I think it's fine to do so once. Chess is different from other sports; resignation is acceptable, obviously, and some argue refusal to resign in a lost position is disrespectful. But regardless, sometimes things come up. I might ask an opponent to resign if I had a dominating position but didn't have the time (in real life, not on the game clock) to finish the game. Or if I had to finish doing the laundry. Or I wanted to go to sleep. I wouldn't actually expect that to work every time, and if you do this you should not take any offense if the opponent refuses to resign and plays out the game. I think it's akin to a draw offer, in that your opponent has every right to continue, but your suggestion might be more convenient.

Asking for resignation in online chess is an agreement, just like asking for a draw.

  • 1
    I might ask an opponent to resign if I had a dominating position but didn't have the time This reminds me of an online game I used to play where opponents were clearly going to lose, but they were aware that my team had a tournament game coming up and couldn't stay to the end. So they kept playing, and we wound up resigning instead ... – Allure Sep 3 at 1:45
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    I want to emphatize the game is correspondance chess. Close to mark this as the correct answer, but I respeted the votes system. – Leukocyte Sep 3 at 12:38

protected by Brian Towers Sep 2 at 13:52

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