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I was reading thenarticle at http://www.chess.com/forum/view/general/benjamin-franklin-on-the-morals-of-chess, and in the last paragraph, Ben Franklin says "Snatch not eagerly at every advantage offered by his unskilfulness or inattention; but point out to him kindly, that by such a move he places or leaves a piece in danger and unsupported; that by another he will put his king in a perilous situation, etc."

But he also says "If you touch a piece, you must move it somewhere; if you set it down, you must let it stand." So if my opponent moves their queen to a spot where I could capture her, what would be the advantage of pointing out that his queen is in danger, since he cannot move his queen back to a safe spot (because once they set it down, and therefore must let it stand)?

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You hold yourself to a higher standard than your opponent, for politeness' sake.

So you let him play an alternative move after you kindly point out that it was perhaps not the best available, but you are acquiring a habit of caution by adhering strictly to the laws of the game for your own moves.

The point is to be moral, polite and extremely smug at the same time.

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That sentence is taken out of context. I copy here the text of the full paragraph, which answers your question:

If the game is not to be played rigorously, according to the rules above mentioned, then moderate your desire of victory over your adversary, and be pleased with one over yourself. Snatch not eagerly at every advantage offered by his unskilfulness or inattention; but point out to him kindly that by such a move he places or leaves a piece in danger and unsupported; that by another he will put his king in a dangerous situation, &c. By this generous civility (so opposite to the unfairness above forbidden) you may indeed happen to lose the game to your opponent, but you will win what is better, his esteem, his respect, and his affection; together with the silent approbation and good will of impartial spectators.

In fact Franklin, distinguishes two ways of playing the game, with strict observance to the laws of chess or not observing them exactly. Whether you play one way or the other should be agreed by both players, and both players should be treated in the same way.

In the first case, with strict observation of the rules, a piece touched should be moved, a piece moved should stand. And you shouldn't point out the opponent's errors.

However, in the second case, where you play a more informal game, he recommends pointing out the other player's errors out of politeness and good will. This might be applicable when playing against a beginner player who is still learning the game, or a much lower rated one, during an informal game. But also when studying a position/opening/endgame with a colleague.

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