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I just had a game of blitz in which I reached a very positive end game, (up two queens and a bishop) but by the time I got there I had very little time left on the clock. In this particular instance I managed to get the checkmate I required, but he must have known that I was going to win when his situation was so obviously bleak and yet he continued anyway, a tactic i'm dubbing 'the survival technique' - the mindset that rationalises: "Is it possible to just stay alive on the board until your oppenent runs out of time?"
Isn't there something a little unethical about knowing you are going to lose a game, but hanging on in the hope that you'll be "saved by the bell"??
Thoughts on this anyone?
Absolutely not. If you have all that extra material, but are out of time, you lose. Sure, you could have won if you had a little more time, but if the time control were longer your opponent would have made better moves and you wouldn't have that extra material.
You benefitted from the time control earlier in the game when it induced poor moves from your opponent and your asking your opponent not to benefit from it now that you are out of time.
Interesting, I suppose there is that way of looking at it - seems fair.
But he could have used the time as I did earlier in making more sound moves, rather than losing position etc, effectively opening up the board, and then simply trying to survive instead of win.
Maybe the question I'm really asking is, is it ok to play a timed game aiming not to win through choice of moves (ergo 'skill'), but instead trying to win by simply surviving the time limit at your opponents expense?
Those are surely two different mindsets? 1) I will position my pieces to attack, knowing that I only have a few minutes to checkmate my opponent. 2) I will position my pieces to defend, not expecting to checkmate my oppenent, but hoping that he will run out of time trying to attack me.
Its not simply a question of aggressive or defensive style, its a question of attitudes. For instance, mind set 2 would not enable you to win an otb game.
I think I need to be clear that in the example I gave, we weren't close to the end of the game, there was a minute or two left on the clock, and yet there was no hope of winning through skill left for my oppenent - why the decision to play on?
Sorry to bombard the questions, thanks for the thoughtful answers.
(ps. as an aside, I mentioned style earlier...I once read that if you are below 1600 you don't have a "style" - is that generally considered true?)
I agree with Loomis. Time control is an inseparable part of any timed game. Exploiting a time advantage is no more unethical than exploiting a positional or material advantage.
It's legal so you'll have to deal with it. Playing down two queens is just pathetic imo because if they win it's ONLY because they have a faster hand and that's not what chess is supposed to be about. Of course almost not mating with two queens is a bit weird. I had a crap game where a guy tried that and I took all his pieces, and queened all of my pawns and demolished em. It was 5/2 so there was plenty of time to teach a lesson.
It's legal so you'll have to deal with it.
Of course - I'm just discussing the principle of it for fun. And I did mate with the queens, I was just making the point that in the face of such odds, playing on when you have all but lost just seems desperate!
Resigning a game like that is at least kind of honourable, it's like saying - sure, you beat me. Rather than staying on, which is like saying - i know i've lost all my pieces and i can't possibly win but i want you to prove it...
I don't know that it necessarily requires two different mindsets. It is also a reaction to the situation. Someone may not start the game with the intention of relying on the time control, but if you are in trouble and can take advantage of the time control, that seems to me to be smart play. The time control is an integral part of a timed chess game.
The "saved by the bell" analogy is pretty good-- no boxer starts a round expecting to get hurt, but if he does get hurt, covering up and "surviving" to the end of the round so he can recoup his wits a bit is perfectly good strategy, even if the crowd boos when he does it.
I was just making the point that in the face of such odds, playing on when you have all but lost just seems desperate!
Resigning a game like that is at least kind of honourable
I met someone at a tournament who took great pride in the fact that he had never resigned a game of chess in his whole life. And he swore he never would. He kept repeating the advice that you can never win by resigning. I asked him about all these rediculous positions, down two queens, etc., and he was pretty firm on his policy to never resign a game of chess in his whole life. This guy was rated about 1500 USCF, so it's not like he didn't know these positions are hopeless.
Why are you playing with a clock if you dont like losing on time? Play without a clock then you can win far and square. If you or anyone else thinks that time pressure ruins the noble game you can play turn based . I really dont see anything unethical about it in the slightest. The time controls are there for a reason. Just another dimension to the game.
That's why in timed games it's better to show good technique and go for a mate when ahead enough in the position, it saves time -- people who require multiple queens or only know to to make quickly with something similar to two rooks vs a king put themselves at a disadvantage. Getting extra material also increases the risk of accidental stalemate.
I've seen strong players on ICC go ahead and get an extra queen and do that ladder mate thing, I guess to prove a point or try to get their opponent to resign, not because that's the only way they know how, but it's pretty pathetic.
When the guy just runs around with his K against my army I trap him on a row and just promote all my pawns.
I don't think it's pathetic. Q vs king is really easy, but 2 Q vs king is just mindlessly easy. The more mindless a win is, the better. But more than 2 queens is pointless unless you want to embarras the opponent.
And to the original question: yeah it's completely legit but that doesn't mean I'm satisfied with games ended that way. For example, with time control 1 0, it doesn't matter if you're up a rook, what matters is that you can force mate before your time runs out, and since it's very hard to make a move any faster than 1 sec per move, you have usually 60 moves or less to play out before losing on time. Winning up a knight for example is really easy in an endgame, but how many moves would it take to actually win if played out completely? Quite a few. I think it's more likely for a 1 0 game to be a big move race except for really good bullet players. I have no motivation to try to get good at this chess. So I strongly prefer increment.
well in timed matches you can actually choose the strategy "defend to win" if you think you'll take less time to move than your opponent in that manner.
I don't see anything wrong with it.
Never, never, never give up. - Winston Churchill
I'm talking about when they're already up a queen and the king is already on the 2nd or 1st rank, they just have to bring their king over. Getting two queens is just as insulting/embarrassing (or pathetic) as getting 3 or more in my opinion.
That situation sounds fair enough, but of course there are sensible limits. If you had 7 seconds left sure, but if you had 30 seconds left that's all the time in the universe to finish off an opponent in a blitz match with an overwhelming material lead. Not resigning when down can be effective psychologically because the attacker can get flustered and do crazy things.
The kinds of "survival technique" that border on unsportsmanlike in my opinion would be throwing away pieces in unexpected ways in a time scramble and if the guy is throwing in draw offers (and abort requests depending on the server) with every move in conjunction with that then they are a bastard! Maybe that first one isn't exactly unsportsmanlike because it is blitz chess after all, but it seems to taint the victory. Trying to play for a win on time in endings like R+K vs R+K is also a bit rotten I think, moreso if it hasn't even reached a time scramble.
Hmm, I guess I may boarder on unsportsman like in blitz games then (I never send draw or abort requests) but once you lose a few games when up a ton of material but down to a few seconds the wins and losses just seem to even out. I never thought the other guy might have hard feelings if I flag him when all I have is a king and rook against 8 of his pieces, because he'd do the same.
Not that I don't get really frustrated after outplaying some guy the entire game, with the opponent is just holding on till the end when I end up losing on time in a position I could win blindfolded, but I'm more frustrated at myself for not being able to see the clear win/technique in such a way that I only need 1-2 seconds a move. On ICC those tough bastards are good at this, when they're winning they only need a few seconds... and that's why I don't think unexpected moves are poor sportsmanship either. In fact in a time scramble I expect a crazy rook sac to happen, I premove a logical move, then put my cursor on my king in case the suicidal sacs are about to begin.
It's dog eat dog, but like I said, I think these "unethical" wins are balanced out by the times you lose in the same way, and I figure most people are like minded and don't hold it against me if I win like this, I dont' hold it against them.
One method not mentioned but probably more "ethical" is to disrupt the regular flow or normal play by always trying to find zwischenzugs or threaten a sharp tactical action, then retreat before committing to it. If you can make your opponent think it bleeds their clock, don't let them get comfortable. It may not be possible against an equal opponent, but I notice players stronger than me can bleed my clock in this way -- just like I can do it to weaker opponents.
It still comes down to chess skill, it's just making them prove how well they understand the position when only given a few seconds -- that's all these tricks are enforcing. And when it comes down to it, that's what blitz chess is, how much do you understand and how far can you see in 5 seconds
Sure, and I kind of amended my position there at the end. It's not unsportsmanlike but it does give an appearance of being a hollow or "cheap" victory to some extent. I mean, who wouldn't prefer to genuinely outplay an opponent who didn't make any discernable errors and wasn't in any time trouble but still was defeated. But a win is a win at the end of the day and both sides have the same freedom of action (all else being equal).
And I was going to add that that doesn't stop me from doing it anyway! I mean, what else is there? And yes, the opponent would do exactly the same.
That's a nice idea about retreating before acting on the implied threat and I can imagine that working. It's perhaps similar to the idea of maintaining tension if you have some pressure and not relieving the opponents defensive burden by simplifying matters. Since time is such a crucial element it can really pay dividends in the long run.
I got a little long winded there heh, you're right, if I beat someone rated lower, higher, or whatever only because they ran out of time, it is a bit hollow, or like I dodged a bullet, and if I get frustrated when it happens to me I have to think back to those games. It'd definitely more satisfying to win (and lose) without the clock having a say in it.
If the game is played at a time limit, the limit is part of the game. Sure, maybe your opponent could have used more time earlier and had a better position, but it was his decision how to use HIS time, and if it ends up you have a "winning" position but not enough time to finish, his strategy was better!
Since you actually did mate him anyway, this seems just another version of "my opponent won't resign even though he is hopelessly lost" - which has a couple of million threads here already. There is no obligation of rule or courtesy for a player to resign. One resigns when one perceives the outcome beyond doubt AND not worth playing out. Different people have different judgments about where that point is, and it can vary from game to game.
2 Queens down, resigning would be a gesture also of respect for the opponent's skill, but still a rather superfluous one: he's already 2 Queens up, he knows he's won!
Personally, I like to play out the won games against players who won't resign (I would NEVER ask or suggest an opponent resign, btw, it's an unforgivable breach of etiquette). It's fun - I don't try to torture them, in fact try to find the fastest win, when overwhelmingly ahead it is a pure pleasure.
When I'm hopelessly lost, I do resign, though.
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