Tuesday, 6 November 2007

On resigning

Last night I was gifted a piece to a simple tactic. Both players are strong enough that this really shouldn't happen; and the result was never in doubt.

What did surprise me slightly was how long my opponent played on. I think that I would probably have resigned immediately - partly out of self-disgust, but mostly because I'd have been quite sure that the game was as good as over.

Come to think of it, I'd likely have resigned a bit earlier if I'd been on the other side of the previous game. Certainly playing on to the time control was correct, but once we'd got that far (move 30) I think I'd have thrown in the towel.

I have occasionally been genuinely insulted by opponents playing on in obviously lost positions. This absolutely wasn't the case in either of these games. Still, it can be a fine line between an admirable willingness to fight on, and a pointless determination to see the bitter end.

So what is the right time to resign? Am I expecting my opponents to give up too soon (and making it too easy for them when it's the other way round)? Or have I just run into a couple with an unusually never-say-die attitude?

1 comment:

Jonathan B said...

When to resign is an interesting question I think.

One factor you don't mention is the circumstances of the game. E.g. was this a league match and the player of the Black pieces was part of the away side? In that situation a person may be waiting for a lift home in any event so might as well have played on.

I've lost from better positions than you had - and indeed won from worse positions than your opponent had. Sometimes winning won positions isn't so easy (for me at least).

That all said, I do also wonder at the willingness of some people to spend hours of their time playing on transparently lost positions for no obvious reason.

Jonathan B
(of Streatham & Brixton Blog)