On the Ethics of Flagging

Hey denizens of!

I recently played a blitz game against a certain opponent whom I shall not name — let's refer to him as Person. Anyway, after a series of moves, we reached the theoretically drawn position of K+R vs K+R. However, I noticed that I had several seconds on the clock and proceeded to premove in order to get the flag, which I eventually did, winning the game.

Person proceeded to direct message me, berating me for playing on in a drawn position. To paraphrase his words, he said that Chess is a lifestyle, and therefore my actions revealed that I had 'bad character'. He said that it was 'unfair' for me to continue playing. Normally I would have ignored the ramblings of an anonymous internet troll but given the severity of his word choice and his attack on my character, I decided to respond with the following:

Your whole argument is based on there being 'no time problem'. A game of Chess involves many things, and the clock is one of them. If you can't manage your time then it's not my responsibility to offer you a draw. You're free to judge me and say that I have a bad 'personality character' but frankly I don't care what you think.

Consider the following thought experiment:

Person A plays against Person B in a 2-hour time control. Person A spends 2 minutes on the clock while Person B spends the full 2 hours. Eventually the position reached is drawn but Person B runs out of time. Should Person A give up the win just because Person B is bad at managing his time?

The game of Chess is beautiful and considers everything — if you wanted a draw you should have played 50 moves and I would gladly have taken the draw. By saying that somehow I am 'obligated' to give you a draw I submit that you're disrespecting the game of Chess itself.

I'd very much like to hear what you all have to say. I obviously believe that flagging is part and parcel of the game, and rightly so. I am open to any and all rebuttals from the opposing school of thought.

May the mates be ever in your favour.

You should reply: Go home with ethics. You agreed to play with a clock? Play with increment if you have time issues.

This is internet! Are there any ethics in the internet? You do what you get away with... so chess is art.... best definition for art: art is what you get away with! Where are ethics when people keep changing their accounts? Why is this done?

Hello astromode,

There is often gossip about me when I win a chess game. I fully understand you and I want to say the following:

If you win by time, it is beneficial for you, but you get less points than if you win. I do not know how much time you had, but I have (almost) always 10 minutes. I was once in a chess tournament in the Netherlands and then I had won by time, I finished third, but by mutual result I finished fourth. What turned out? Because I won by time, I was fourth, of course, by the result.

Do not let yourself be excused by someone who wins time because it is (usually) beneficial to him. And if your person comes across again, repeat what I said in the chat.

I hope that I could have informed you a bit about the time in a chess game.

- Jorrit (11 years)

Thanks for your responses @rkd4477 and @Leo_Jorrit! It seems so far that the consensus is that winning on time is perfectly fine. Is there anyone out there who'd like to play the devil's advocate and argue the opposite?

Best astromode,

If people think that I am wrong, fine, but realize that they are not the best in chess, well, that they play few tournaments.

I think that if you win on time, you will receive fewer points than necessary, hence the fourth result.
It may be that people think that I am wrong, but they should know that.
As long as you are called or excused or whatever, have said just wrong :)

In blitz or faster it is considered normal to play for flag, however when it comes to rapid or classical at least OTB (I may be mistaken) playing a lost or drawn position for a flag is not a legit way and an Arbiter may be called to the board to decide.

#1 #6 May you spend your days wisely; normally I just agree to a draw in an equal position. But also, all's fair in love and war so if pinball is your game, you're within your rights to play it.

I'd recommend playing with an increment (+1 or greater) so you don't find yourself on the receiving end of such a scramble.

@Toadofsky I guess it's a case of to each his own. Personally I like the added component to the game when you have to keep your time in check whilst fighting for the draw — makes the game a bit more exciting to me, since there are more decisive games. Whether I win or lose on time, I'd never hold a grudge since it's all part of the game in my eyes.

@Morozov You raise an interesting point — I concede that the decorum of OTB play is different, because of the FIDE rule allowing players to call an arbitration of the position. That being said, even without that rule, I wouldn't hold it against anyone who wanted to play on against me in a lost/drawn position hoping I flag since the onus is on me to deliver checkmate/make 50 moves and not simply gain a winning/drawn position.