What to Say at the End of a Game

  • kbcbishop
  • | Dec 21, 2007

I was nineteen and working at a grocery store. I was stocking at the end of an aisle close to the meat counter when I saw him. He was a large man looking at a large package of pork chops. He slid the package into his coat and began walking. I began following him. He went out a side door which set off an alarm. I continued to follow him knowing that others would join me because of the alarm.

He turned toward the back of the store and kept walking but suddenly realized I was back there. He stopped and demanded to know what I wanted. He scared me, so without thinking I said, "People who steal go to hell." He turned, walked a few paces, and turned back toward me who was still following and held out the pork chops.

I was scared to death. Remember, I said he was large! I reached out as far as I could while retaining as much distance as possible and took the pork chops. He turned and kept walking. In the distance behind us, I could see a couple of employees who had finally come to check on the scene. I continued to follow him until he turned again and said. "Hey, man, I gave you to pork chops. Why are you still following me?" To which I more calmly replied (with backup coming): "People who steal also go to jail."

He turned to go out toward a major street and was walking down the sidewalk. The two employees joined me just in time to see a panel van pull up and two men quickly jump out of the van and jump the shoplifter. They wrestled him to the ground and placed handcuffs on his wrists. I found out later that he had just been released from jail that morning.

Why do I share the story? Because this was a situation in which I did not know what to say. Life is full of those moments. And I believe that is also the case for many of us at the end of a game of chess: win, lose, or draw.

What should you say at the end of an online game? Should you say "Good game?" Certainly that is appropriate in an evenly match struggle. But what if they lost badly? He/she may then think you are being sarcastic. What about "Thank you?" Again, it may be viewed as sarcasm. What about saying nothing? Is that rude? How about  "Thanks for playing?" Seems to be a bit more bland but perhaps acceptable.

What about when you lost? What is the right thing to say then? What if you are angry--more at yourself than anyone--for letting the game slip away. You may not feel much like responding--at least nicely. If you cannot say something nice, then it would be best to say nothing. But, again, "Thanks for the game" or "Thanks for playing" hurts nothing. If they deserve the words, "Good game," then you should go ahead and share them. After all, while chess is war on the board, the game deserves civility.

And in the case of a draw both players should express something nice, even if you were ahead and should have won. But after a long, hard-fought draw, your opponent deserves your affirmation. Take time to express appreciation--perhaps even to talk about the game. Good sportsmanship may even lead to starting another game!

What (besides nothing) have you found to say at the end of an online game that seems to work best? Leave a comment below and share your experiences. But remember: Saying "People who steal go to hell" will not work! Unless it is to me--because it will make me smile! Laughing


  • 5 years ago


    I often say thank you for the game. I used to play go before chess, and the manners involved are completely different. In go it's very disgraceful if you cant say let's begin and enjoy a great game or thank you for the game when its finished. And that is even if you play against a dan player and is crushed. 

  • 7 years ago


    I always say "good game thanx" whether either of us played good or bad.

  • 8 years ago


    "Play again..?"

  • 9 years ago


    LaughingWell, yes, but friends are friends and will put up with more good natured abuse.  At that point, whatever adds savor, including doing banned NFL victory dances, etc.  Although I have a friend who wouldn't put up with that sort of stuff and occasionally will treat one or another of his friends to a tantrum where furniture may get thrown or he may injure himself kicking something.



  • 9 years ago


    It really depends. In tournaments and I'm playing a complete stranger, I either say nothing or simply "good game". If I'm playing my friends, and I lose I say:

    1. Screw you
    2. Ugggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
    3. [Insert swear word here] you

    If I win, and I'm playing one of my friends, I say things like "Finally!" or whatever. (I don't win much, they're all really high rated.)

    One time I was playing my 1700 friend in a tournament, and he played the one move on the board that got him mated while 3 pawns up, we just started laughing hysterically. (I was like 1200 at the time.) Some people have different reactions...

  • 9 years ago


    The basic idea being to bruise feelings no more than the game itself had done.
  • 9 years ago


    When I win, I usually say I was just lucky.  When I lose I say he's good.  In case of a draw i say good game.
  • 9 years ago


    if he played well.. i'd say "nice play" or "good game".. if he lost the game badly.. i'd jst say "thanks for the game".. either ways, it usually doesn't matter in online games.. and if a real game on board, then regardless of the saying, shaking hands wormly will do the trick.. ;-)
  • 9 years ago


    There is no excuse for being other than polite.  You wish to be considered neither a gloat or sore loser, depending on the outcome and its best to let people deal with their own emotions privately.  The handshake before and after is a lovely bit of ritual.  "Good luck" before, especially if someone is lower rated or having a bad day. 


    If I am substantially weaker and was disposed of pretty easily, I will also ask my opponent if he could analyze our game.  For most of them, this is a way to help celebrate the skills they have developed over time, while being a great tutorial for me.  They will eagerly discuss move alternatives and how their plans formed.  You also get a glimmer of what ideas are missing from your vocabulary and how they work.  Kind of like having a portrait painted by a sketch artist!


  • 9 years ago


    you should also shake hands before a game. you put it best when you said chess is a game of civility

  • 9 years ago


  • 9 years ago


    its been a while since i played a serious over the board game. looking back to when i played tournaments regularly; i would always shake hands with my opponent. i never really had the need to say mate, only to really weak players (not suggesting i only ever beat really weak players, aha). i never forgot to stop the clock once i finished a game too.

    after the game i would say whatever was natural but nothing too off the beating track. regardless of the result i would offer to analyse the game with my opponent too. 

  • 9 years ago


    Sometimes it depends on how I feel about the person. Some people just seem to be warm and enjoyable to be playing with, even if there is hardly any exchange. In that case I might try to think of something I can say which will convey the positive way I feel about them. If someone just seems to be inhuman in some way I probably don't want to play with them again regardless of who won, and I might not say anything.
  • 9 years ago


    If i win i usually say "thanks for the game!" :)
    If its close either way or a draw i will often say "good match, well played!"
    If i lose i mostly say "thanks for the practice" ;)

  • 9 years ago


    I read comments "when you have to say something" and "if you don't want to say anything" and I keep asking myself: why would you say anything if you don't mean it? Think about it: if you lost (hypothetically), would you really feel any better when someone says platitudes like "good game" when it was terrible for you? Or, especcially when you won on account of your opponent's mistakes?

    And anyway, thinking along the lines of "what do I say" does not factor in the fact the person you are saying something to, in my opinion. What are your thoughts on this?

  • 9 years ago


    I think that "Thank you for the game" works perfectly fine if you dont want to say anything more. Good game also is nice but only when the game was good ;)

    Worrying about people who think that "thank you" is sarcastic is a waste of time. They should think about it more as it's just stupid :)

    Good post btw!

  • 9 years ago


    I agree it's important to maintain a degree of civility in chess. I don't get to play tounament chess any more so it's all online chess for me now. But I did have the experience of losing 2 games on time (45 min limit per game) that I was winning and yeah, I was ticked off mostly at myself. So I recognize that chess is an emotional game and, since we are humans playing it, there is some luck involved. So I try to be polite to my chess partner win, lose or draw. Plus I enjoy talking to and having association with people of like interest all around the world.
  • 9 years ago


    What bothers me when I sit down to play is when my my opponent before making his first move proceeds to tell me how he's not that good. Usually I will tell him or her that if they now win, what does that make me,(terrible). I have been beaten by these players.  

             On the other hand I love hearing the excuses folks make up for loosing. Rather than shaking hands or a polite reply it's often an excuse such as I played poorly or you beat me because I made mistakes. At this point I usually just smile and say thanks for playing. 

  • 9 years ago


    I got a draw in a game i was dominating, it was 100% win, but i did a wrong move and got a draw since i didn't put the King in a check or checkmate...i really was angery/upset about that game..but at the end i said 2 my opponent "Thank u 4 the game".or just "Thank u"..Smile.

    quote:"What about "Thank you?" Again, it may be viewed as sarcasm"

    I don't think it is as sarcasm,it is as saying thank u 4 playing with me. he/she did play with u all the way 2 the end of the game and didn't leave in the middle!

    even when i resign, I say "Thank u"...Smile


    at the start i just say "Hi" no more or less..and i do agree, there is no luck in chess unless ur opponent is really out of his mind, doing silly mistakes through the whole game!!Surprised

  • 9 years ago


    I think "good game" works well in most situations, except when you beat your opponent badly. Then it might seem patronizing. On the other hand, "Thanks for the game" in that situation kinda seems like you're saying "Thanks for giving me such an easy victory that it's not worth calling it a good game". Easy victories are the only time I don't really know what to say. Online, I go with telling my opponent *handshake* most of the time, but face to face, you're already shaking hands, and it just seems like you should say something, too.


    In the case of close games, draws, or games where I lost, I'll often say something like "well played". But "good game" is still my standard most of the time.


    Now for the followup question: What do you say at the START of a game? "Good luck" just seems wrong to me. Why are you wishing your opponent luck in beating you? And since when is chess about luck? I know one guy who says "Good chess", and I've also heard of someone who usually says something like "Since there's no luck in chess, I wish you good skill". Then there's "Let's create a brilliancy". Tongue out 



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