Sarah's School of Manners
As some of you know, I'm strictly a blitz player anymore. As such, I play at places where blitz games are easy to find. Right now, I mostly play at Gameknot which offers 1 (one) kind of blitz - 10/0, no ratings (removing all incentive to cheat) and a simple, clean interface with a small area for chatting, plus it pairs up players automatically. No recording of games, a few bugs (such as no automatic draws for insufficient material or threefold repetition, or occasionally it won't let you legally castle) and a few other minor drawbacks keep it from rising form a good site to an excellent one. I would estimate that 80%-90% of my games are against opponents I never see again.
People play under the cloak of anonymity. Being anonymous allows folks to act in ways they may never act face-to-face (hopefully, they don't). I will submit that most of those I meet are honorable and pleasant, but a too-large percentage aren't. This may be one of the comes-with-the-territory facts of life on the internet that we just have to deal with, but chess, of all games, should be one of honor, respect and, well, good manners.
I've been thinking of things I've personally encountered while playing at chess that I find distasteful and decided to make a do or don't list. None of these things really make a great deal of difference, except that they affect adversely what should be a pleasurable experience from sharing some time with a stranger.
- Do finishe every game. If you're losing, resign or play to mate. Disconnecting doesn't change the result, especially where no ratings are involved.
- Don't say "gg" when you've gained a clear advantage, particularly after your opponent has blundered, as if the game were already over. I can't count the number of times this has back-fired, since we're all prone to blunders and mouse-slips, and I've won those lost games.
- Don't call me names. When you lose, don't call me "b**ch," and when you win, don't call me "stupid b**ch."
- Don't make Batman jokes. I haven't heard an original one in 9 years and I really don't know most of the references anyway.
- Do feel free to chat. I like clever repartee, but
- Don't expect me to forsake the (short-timed) game to type nonsense and
- Don't ask for my email address or phone number. I don't know you.
- Don't ask for a draw on the first move. It's insulting and I'll resign on the offer.
- Do mention if you have a mouseslip. I'll offer a draw if you want to simply end the game and start a worthwhile one.
- Don't ask for a takeback. There are few takebacks in life and none in chess.
- Don't bother winning a blitz game by making nonsense moves just force me to use up my time (when I'm way behind in time with a totally won game) to win on time. Resign a lost position, mate with a won position or tie up the game with complexities. Winning on time is fine and a part of the game. Winning only on time isn't winning.
I'll probably think of more later.