A friend of mine recently told me that once, he checkmated his opponent and then immediately resigned because he thought his win was unfair. This happened in a FIDE-rated tournament.

Searching the FIDE Laws of Chess, I found (emphasis mine):

1.2 The objective of each player is to place the opponent's king 'under attack' in such a way that the opponent has no legal move. The player who achieves this goal is said to have 'checkmated' the opponent's king and to have won the game. [...] The opponent whose king has been checkmated has lost the game.

5.1 The game is won by the player who has checkmated his opponent's king. This immediately ends the game, provided that the move producing the checkmate position was legal.

Is this possible in any way, for example, move the piece, don't press the clock, and then resign?

  • 5
    Out of interest, why was the win through unfair?
    – user21794
    Commented Jun 1, 2020 at 3:55
  • 32
    If I refused to accept wins when my opponents blundered I'd never win.
    – user21794
    Commented Jun 1, 2020 at 5:01
  • 2
    If he planned to resign he should not have played the last moves... Commented Jun 2, 2020 at 10:22
  • I listen to a chess GM who teaches kids' classes and he describes all sorts of strange events, like no kings on the board because the beginners had traded them already. So I am certain in a large event without event officials to watch every game, probably every single tournament has a game in which the winner resigns, etc. Maybe not legal but it must happen.
    – releseabe
    Commented Jun 14, 2023 at 4:54

3 Answers 3


No, this is not possible.

for example move the piece, don't press the clock and then resign?

In particular, that loophole is explicitly covered by the rules:

6.2.1 During the game each player, having made his move on the chessboard, shall stop his own clock and start his opponent’s clock (that is to say, he shall press his clock). This “completes” the move. A move is also completed if: the move ends the game (see Articles 5.1.1, 5.2.1, 5.2.2, 9.6.1 and 9.6.2)

and 5.1.1 is 5.1 in the version of the rules you quoted, so checkmate ends the game before the clock is pressed.

I guess both players could pretend the checkmating move wasn't made (or pretend they don't see it's checkmate), but this is considered cheating, and when discovered may result in both players losing the game and even being expelled from the tournament.

  • Exactly. Mate already stops the game, the clock is no longer relevant at that point. Resigning also immediately stops the game (5.1.2 in my copy), but you can't stop what's already stopped. Also note that the definition of resigns here is "Where a player gives up, rather than play on until mated".
    – Mast
    Commented Jun 1, 2020 at 5:48
  • 9
    I imagine it would be legal for a player to announce "Rook to e8 is checkmate. I resign." without touching the pieces. Commented Jun 1, 2020 at 8:24
  • 2
    @FedericoPoloni I think so, yes. I didn't mention it because technically it's not the same as "checkmating".
    – Glorfindel
    Commented Jun 1, 2020 at 11:30
  • Couldn't the player move the piece to the square causing a checkmate, and announce resignation - while still holding the piece in the hand and thus not completing the move. Commented Jun 1, 2020 at 12:05
  • 3
    @HansOlsson: If the piece could move to a square that wouldn't yield checkmate, then until the player's hand leaves the piece, it wouldn't be clear that the player would in fact checkmate his opponent. If there were only one legal move for the piece, however, then the act of touching the piece would imply that one was committed to making the move. Not sure about cases where a piece would have two legal moves, but both would result in checkmate. Another fun wrinkle would be if a player captured a piece by pushing it most of the way onto the border of the chessboard.
    – supercat
    Commented Jun 1, 2020 at 16:33

He could try, but in a real FIDE tournament it would be illegal and not allowed.

In a small local club with amateurs who knows how they would rule if nobody knew the real rules.

If this were not a FIDE tournament their rules might allow some loophole which might permit it. No way to guess what oddball rules soem other group or club might use; so could not answer the question for that case.


Resigning immediately after a checkmate is not possible. HOWEVER, the FIDE rules do allow for a player to do another action, namely withdraw. Withdrawal can be done outside a match and for the most part has the same result, namely that the player is no longer part of the tournament. However, there are penalties involved with this action if the FIDE arbiter judges the reason for the withdrawal to be insufficient, or during a world championship tournament, which can be anything up to and including exclusion from the rest of the championship series for that year.

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