Recently it occurred to me to wonder at what point I should resign. I posted a forum topic asking about what people thought and asked my volunteer chess teacher who's nice enough to volunteer his time to teach me stuff.
The final answer I arrived at is that, for now, I'll just keep playing even if I'm behind a few points of material with no real idea of what to do. At my current level:
- It's hard for me to tell if I can force a draw or not.
- If I'm playing people of similar ability to myself, it seems possible that they'll make some blunder similar to whatever I made that got me behind. This could even out the game again.
If someone is a higher level player than I am and they say that I might as well resign because of whatever, I'll probably ask them to play out the rest of the game for my own education. Hopefully they won't mind.