Jun 21, 2016, 10:18 PM 14
As part of my rebooted blog, I would like to discuss an issue which many have written about and taken different stances on: resignation.
On the one hand, there are those who absolutely never resign; on the other, those who resign after blundering a bishop or some other small amount of material. In the middle are those who resign sometimes, but not always. This issue seems to be particularly polarizing, with some screaming that it is rude and offensive to play on in a lost position, and others saying it is unfair to expect a resignation.
Before sharing my stance on the issue, I would like to attempt to get to the root of this whole topic.
Recently, I was playing blitz and in a terribly lost position (only my King left), but I did not resign, instead playing for the draw. My opponent, who was pleasantly not angry or rude, asked me why I did not resign. He told me that the professional way to handle a lost position is to resign. This, to me, was actually revelation regarding the issue of resignation.
It is true that professionals resign in a lost position. But why? Because their opponents are also professionals, who are expected to be able to convert a winning position into checkmate (they won't lose or draw). That's why they're professionals! So a resignation is simply saving time for both players, since a professional who is winning will certainly win in the end.
All this went through my head in an instant, and I responded to my opponent: "The professional way to handle a winning position is checkmate." My opponent simply said, "Perhaps," and I went on to lose the game on time. (I don't know if my opponent did this on purpose or not--he had more than enough material to achieve checkmate.)
The way I see it, players at the intermediate and beginner levels shouldn't be expected to resign. Why? Because both players could make mistakes. That's why we're only intermediate--our play isn't perfect and we still could blunder or miss something important.
It seems to me (and this should not at all be taken as an insult), that those who adamantly demand that their opponents resign are probably concerned that they won't be able to convert their advantage. If that is the case, don't get mad at your opponent! Be thankful for the opportunity to practice converting into a win!
I am honestly shocked by how many times I come into the endgame losing, and end up winning the game. I attribute this to too many players resigning before the endgame. People don't want to play an uneven endgame, so they end up not knowing how to win an one!
My advice would be: don't resign! If there is still a chance to win, even if it is slight, try! Take it as an opportunity to practice proper endgame play--if you lose, no harm done, and if you win, that's terrific! To those who are winning, don't pressure your opponent to resign. You can also learn from the experience. You might be surprised how interesting an endgame can be!
I do have one caveat to my personal rule of "never resign," and that is the scenario of a lone King. If I have a lone King in a correspondence game or a long time control, I do resign. There is no way to force a win or draw, and with virtually unlimited time it is unreasonable to think I won't lose, so I don't waste my or my opponent's time. But in Blitz or Bullet, I do play on, even with a lone King, going for the draw. And this game I played just last night is a good example of why!!
Well, that's all I have on this topic right now. Feel free to comment below! I'm happy to discuss this further with anyone.