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Sportsmanship

Sportsmanship

Septagon
Mar 21, 2013, 9:48 PM 12

I feel compelled to share an argument that another player and I have discussed.  I believe that when a player is down on material and position, that player should resign regardless of that time remaining on the clock.  Not resigning is unsporting behavior on that player.  My opposition believes that a bullet game is not real chess; it is a time battle and not resigning is not unsporting.  The following is my argument and refutation. 

Bullet chess is chess by definition.  It is a game of chess where each player has a one minute time control each.  All the rules of any chess game are still in effect, piece movements, castling, and everything else.  Bullet chess is a chess game. 

Maybe my opponent’s real argument is that fair play and sportsmanship do not matter in a bullet match.  Then, I must ask, who is allowed to make that distinction? GM's? Spectators? The ambassador to Venezuela? The World Chess Federation (FIDE)? FIDE would have the most say so right?  This is the body that all chess clubs take guidance from.  People can only play FIDE rated matches if they are in accordance with FIDE guidelines. So, FIDE must have the authority to decide when sportsmanship and fair play are not required in a game.  This is the link to the FIDE handbook: http://www.fide.com/component/handbook/?view=article&id=9

Part 1.1 of section 9 (Code of Ethics) in the FIDE handbook states, "The game and concept of chess is based on the assumption that everyone involved / concerned observe existing rules and regulations and attaches the greatest importance to fair play and good sportsmanship."

This means that fair play and sportsmanship cannot be thrown out, even in bullet chess.  As a matter of fact, sportsmanship and fair play is supposed to carry the “greatest importance.”  So maybe, my opponent’s argument really is just that resigning a lost game is not sporting behavior.  There is a huge problem with that idea.  We just need to look at sporting behavior.  When a position is completely lost and you only have a king left on the board.  Is it not a pure sign of sportsmanship to resign instead of insulting your opponent by thinking you can get a stalemate, especially after he or she took all of your pieces?  It is sporting behavior to resign.  What about when the position is lost and there is no hope for a win or a forced draw on your part? Well, that too is sporting behavior upon resignation.  It does not matter about the clock.  Whether there is 5 days left on a move or 5 seconds, FIDE says that everyone attaches the greatest importance to fair play and sportsmanship.  Resigning is another way to congratulate your opponent claiming that they played a better game than you. 

Now, I would like some feedback because I am taking this argument further.  I believe that Chess.com should ban players who hide behind the clock instead of resigning when down on material and in a lost position.  Chess.com does reserve the right to ban players for cheating and misconduct (unsporting behavior).  Not resigning when down in material and in a lost position (remember, the clock does not make a difference) is unsporting.  Every chess club that I have experienced does not tolerate such behavior.  Chess.com is an internet based chess club, nonetheless.  I believe that with the number of members and demands on the staff that there is not enough time to investigate each complaint; but maybe someday in the future someone will develop a program to track and at least warn players of this inappropriate action.

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