That age old question -- Should I resign?

Jun 29, 2015, 5:40 PM |

If you've been hanging around in the forums at all, it's certainly not uncommon to find a forum regarding whether or not to resign.   It's a raging war, it seems, with folks on either one side of the coin or the other.   Many say that you should resign in a losing position, it's rude NOT to, etc., etc.  Others say that you NEVER know, your opponent screw up and you could stalemate (my husband is FAMOUS for winding up with a draw....LOL), you learn more by making the opponent finish you off, etc., etc.  

I, of course, in typical Cris Angel fashion am rather wishy washy about this.   On one hand, I believe that no person has to resign if they don't want to.  The game is meant to be played all the way and there's nothing wrong with making your opponent checkmate you. 


I often resign my games for a multitude of reasons.  Sometimes, knowing I'm in a losing position, I just don't want to "prolong the agony" so to speak so I go ahead and resign.  Other times, I'm just exhausted (I play long games with a time control of 45/45 and those can last for a while).  Another time, I was playing a stronger opponent and knew I was in a losing position.  Wanting to be polite, I sent a chat saying, "I'll resign soon.... I just wanted to try something" and my opponent told me, "don't resign!  Make me go all the way!"  Thus, I often get opponents who are quite cooperative and very encouraging. 

Another opponent (he knows who he is, hee, hee) came up with an idea.  When I'm in a losing position, rather than resign, we will do a "switcheroo".   In the chat window, I will try to come up with candidate moves from my opponent's perspective in order to go on to win and I tell my opponent what to play.  My opponent then tells me what to play from my (original) pieces.  You've never seen someone so triumphant to "lose" when actually, as a result of a switcheroo, I was the one who came up with the winning moves!

Now before I go on to show you my game, let me tell a little story as background.   

I belong to the Dan Heisman Learning Center group here on   I love this group and I try to remain quite active.  They sponsor lots of live tournaments and sometimes even do team events.   When first starting team events, I got together with some other members of the DHLC and we formed our own team, "The Art of War".  We've participated in some team events and are generally quite supportive of one another, come to each others games and help each other prep.   We even play in team matches and vote chess games with other teams formed through the DHLC.  (hear that other teams?  if you want one, let me know!) 

As part of our own staying active, we have "intramural" events where we arrange a tournament amongst ourselves.  We are in the midst of one of those now as of this writing.  In round one, holy cripes!  I won my game as white and drew with black against another player.  For round 2, I'm up against the big "guns" so to speak, Gunners2004, one of our strongest players.   Gulp....

My first game with Gunners, when I'm white, I started off with e4.  I used general opening principles, survived the opening and made it to middle game.  Unfortunately, I'm a bit slow, time got low and in a rush, I made a HORRIFIC blunder that allowed checkmate.  Cripes.  Embarassed

For my second game, Guns gave me advance notice and said he'd start with b4, the Polish opening.   I high tailed it to Youtube and looked up a few videos on the Polish (worth noting, a few of these were narrated by absolutely GORGEOUS accents, one Irish and one English.... I'm a sucker for accents).  Between using general opening principles and what I learned as the basic ideas in the Polish opening, I had an even position well into the middle game.  This is against Gunners2004 -- and y'all know he is strong!!   Woo and HOOOOOO.....

And then, I got stuck.   I'm not a strong player and middle game is very difficult for me.  I was having an extremely difficult time trying to get some ideas going and felt like I was doing a lot of defending. As a result, my position slowly started getting worse.  I sat there staring at the board and I had about six or seven candidates.  I went through all of these candidates in my mind, visualized them (as far as I could go anyway), weighed options, ruled one out for a ridiculous reason (turns out that probably would have been the smartest move and my reason for rejecting it would probably have most of you face palming), and felt like NOTHING I did would improve my position.  I recalled some advice once from some folks who said that when you get stuck, it's not a bad idea to walk away for a few, and then come back to get a fresh perspective.  Okay then.  I went and got my pet bunny, sat back down with the rabbit on my lap and went through ALL of my candidates again. 

Of course by this time, a lot of the clock has run down.  I'm down to a minute and a half and I felt terrible for having wasted so much of my opponent's time.  Even though there was only a little time left, I felt I should resign.  The position is losing for me at this point and I only have a minute and a half left.  With as slow as I am, it's a sure bet that I'll lose on time so I'll just spare my opponent.

I apologized for taking so long and then resigned. 

I then went on to explain EVERY ONE of my candidates and why I was ruling them out.  I discussed how I had gotten up, gone to the "loo", got the rabbit, came back, analyzed again and was still stuck.  

Gunners never said a word

Oh cripes, I thought.  Gulp again.

The next day, in the Art of War forums where we report our games from the intramural, there was a message from Gunners.  Gunners explained that he was terribly embarassed but while it was my turn, he had gone to tend to his young son.  His young son was in bed and while Gunners was in there comforting his son...

He fell asleep.

So, if I had made a move, I would have WON because GUNNERS would have lost on time.  

So, what is the moral of this story?

NEVER RESIGN.  You never know.  Your opponent might fall asleep and YOU will win on time!   

Nevertheless, allow me to present the game.   There won't be too many annotations here.  But I'd like to demonstrate that the principles that my teammates keep drilling into me seem to be working.  Basic principles like developing my pieces to good squares, castling, no hanky panky before being fully developed, etc., are in place for a reason.  By using these, I had an excellent game with Gunners2004 that I SHOULD HAVE WON!  Cool  (yeah, yeah.....)