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I've only played in one tournament before and resigned most of my games when they seemed hopelessly lost. When I do resign, I:

  1. Make my move.
  2. Record it.
  3. Say "I resign" and offer to shake my opponent's hand.

I just want to confirm that this is the correct procedure. (I know the handshake is not necessary) Also, would it be legal to skip the first step, i.e. offer resignation without first making a move?

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    It occurs the correct procedure for resignation is to play better than your opponent, so he resigns. – Tony Ennis Jan 16 '14 at 13:31
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You can resign at any point, as long as the game is still ongoing. You can resign during your opponent's move, for instance. In fact I'd say it's unusual to make a move before resigning -- most people resign because they don't see a good move anymore.

If it's already ended some other way, you can't resign any more. Some people don't want to win on time in a clearly lost position, for instance, but then they should resign before a flag fall is noticed. And if you resigned but later find out that you actually checkmated your opponent earlier in the game (but didn't notice at the time), then you actually won because checkmate ends the game immediately. Yes that happens, mostly in youth tournaments. (Edit: that's FIDE rules. This sort of thing may well be different under USCF rules, I don't know).

There is nothing about the exact procedure in the rules, probably because resigning ends the game and usually makes the opponent happy regardless, so there's never been a need to regulate it. A good way is to stop the clock, say you resign, and shake hands. Write down the result on your score sheet. The important thing is to make sure that the opponent understands your intention.

Official tournaments usually need a signature somewhere (on the score sheet, or on separate little result forms). Make sure the result is recorded correctly on it, that both players sign, and that the arbiter gets the signed form.

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When you want to resign, just resign. In informal play, some people just knock down their king.

"I resign" is a move. And recorded as such on the scoresheets of tournaments. That is to say that you don't need to make a move before resigning.

It's a bit gauche to resign during your opponent's move, but very few opponents will mind.

You offer your hand when resigning.

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I resign by

  1. Waiting until the opponent makes a move.

  2. Stretching my hand forward and nodding a bit and shaking hands with the opponent.

  3. Stopping the clock and signing my score sheet.

This can be compared to offering a draw:

  1. Making my move and then saying "I offer draw" directly after pressing the clock.

  2. The draw can be refused by either saying "No thanks" or simply making the next move.

  3. The draw can be accepted by stretching the hand forward, shaking hands, stopping the clock and signing the score sheet.

Look out! If the opponent "resigns" by entering a check with their own king or opening up their own king for a check, do Not grab the king! In blitz, this is considered an illegal move and will cost you the game. In classical chess, this is considered an illegal move and there will be a time penalty (or extra time for the opponent, I am not sure). If this happens (or any other illegal move happens) then stop the clock and call the arbiter. Happy hunting!

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