lichess.org

On what I regard to be a basic lack of knowledge of sportsmanship and manners

I've posted on this topic before, but I'll do so once again out of didactic interest.

One of the best aspects of chess is that it can improve your character. To do well, you need to learn how to take a loss constructively and with some grace. Rather than sulking or lashing out in anger after a defeat, a good chess player (in my opinion), picks himself up, dusts himself off, and sees what he can learn from (A) the play of his opponent who beat him and (B) his own mistakes.

A first step in that process is acknowledging that your victor played better than you, and a great way to get yourself in that frame of mind is to compliment your opponent's play by saying "Good game." This shows you have a magnanimous character, aren't petty, and tells your opponent that you're able to learn from the experience of having been beaten. It simultaneously shows both good manners and personal strength.

In the 1940s, another era admittedly, you'd often see this mindset among well-bred confident young men after a fist fight, where the loser was likely to remark to the winner, "That's quite a left hook you have there" (or some similar compliment). Showing that kind of resilience is one way the loser can immediately demonstrate some strength in the face of a loss.

Contrast this with my experience last week when, after I checkmated an opponent, he commented that I was "slow and stupid." (Yet I'd checkmated him with almost 2 minutes still left on the clock.) Admittedly, that was one of the worst examples of poor sportsmanship I've seen on here.

Much more commonly -- in fact, virtually ALWAYS -- the opponent I beat just leaves abruptly without a word. By contrast, I routinely congratulate my opponents when they checkmate me, or when I resign, with a "Good game." The opponents seem to appreciate and respect the comment. Sometimes it means we'll get into a friendly discussion of the game. Yet I usually will go WEEKS before I encounter a defeated opponent savvy enough to offer a "Good game" after losing.

I ascribe this to a lack of education: No one has ever told them there's a better way.

I know already what some of you are going to say, so let me offer those remarks, and my answers, below:

1. "You're being too sensitive. No one else knows or cares about this."
Answer: This isn't about ME, really. Rather, it's for the benefit of the defeated players, not so much me, that I'm suggesting this habit. It's about good sportsmanship and knowledge of how to improve one's character.

2. "Why should I have to congratulate my opponent for beating me?"
Answer: You don't HAVE to do anything. I'm just trying to explain that by saying "Good game" after a defeat, you're putting yourself into a good mindset for learning from, rather than resenting, your losses. No one HAS to do this. In my opinion, it's a good habit, that's all.

3. "I don't want to waste the time. I'd rather just find another game to play."
Answer: It takes all of two seconds to click the "Good Game" button when you've resigned or been checkmated. To my mind, developing and exhibiting a good character is a lot more important than skill at a board game, even one as divine as chess. Ergo, the two seconds it takes to offer a "Good Game" after a defeat are more than worth it. If you haven't done it before, you might give it a try.

Thoughts?

Preaching to the choir.

The culture of etiquette and sportsmanship exists-- among certain chess players. Those who learned in clubs, or from an acquaintance, and grew up with respect for the game and respect for your opponents kind of built into it.

What one has to come to grips with is that a large segment of purely ONLINE gamers, those whose perspective is informed by anonymous online contests, could not care less. Unfortunate, but thankfully there's still a core of players who are civil to each other and want to make friends (or friendly rivals) out of their opponents.

Find those players, and play them more often. Disregard the rest.

@Qveen_Sacrifice Points taken. You're right; there's a big online gamer culture out there that has no knowledge or interest in sportsmanship at all. Uggh. Unfortunate, as you say.

"Answer: It takes all of two seconds to click the "Good Game" button"

...which is why it's pointless. I play (other) games in clubs and we congratulate each other, discuss strategy, ask each other questions etc etc all the time because that is meaningful both from a social perspective and from a learning perspective. Clicking a button that has GG on it is meaningless. If you disagree and you think that's a meaningful social interaction then good for you. Don't lecture me on etiquette because I don't.

@GSP0113

Saying "GG WP" and trying to mean it, regardless of the nature of my loss, has often prevented me from trying to jump into a "get my points back game" that I didn't really want to play.

Starting a game because you want some points, and starting a game because you intend to create your best chess, are two entirely different things. I find that "GG WP" helps me take pause and navigate my psychology better.

Also, there are the obvious upsides as mentioned above.


Further, it's just pleasant to see people proving a gracious attitude. This is an 'all-a-rounder' that can't really be argued.
There is no downside and no cost to "GGWP" after a loss. None whatsoever.

It's good for the atmosphere in all variations. The site would be better if everyone did it.



With that said, the amount of benefit that it would prove, is probably in direct correlation with the demand for it, and it's in this area that we find some troubling statistics.

If I look back across my last 100 games, I think that I might find a very small handful who said anything, at all.

Sometimes greetings are returned, but mostly they're not.
I almost never see my opponents say "GG WP" after a loss.

So while I think that there would be some good purchase regarding newcomers to the site and imposing a good impression on them, where they would then be prone to turn around and treat others likewise, the overall gains are probably on the minimal side.

Further, it's one of those things where the more people that do it, the less that it means.
If everyone did it all of the time, then it would just be considered to be a thoughtless "plastic protocol" instead of a sincere outreach.

In fact, if we follow this logic, we find that we would have to return to this topic, 2 years from now when everyone says "Hello GL" before a game, and "TYWP" after a loss, where we'd be discussing the need to not only hot-key some plastic generic response, but that it would be of benefit if we all started taking a few sentences to express camaraderie and community and friendship and everything else that is good like that.


On top of this, the opponent to your proposition can argue that in it's current state, whether someone does or doesn't afford greetings, is of almost no consequence one way or the other; however, in a future state where 5/6/7 out of 10 people offer TYWP/GLHF, the 3-4-5 that do not offer these kinds of remarks would be considered highly rude and deliberately offensive.

Not only that, but it's to be noted that in literally 99.9% of the cases where the chat boxed is entirely ignored, it's done with absolutely no kind of malice or intentional mean-wishing whatsoever.

So the opponent of your proposition can argue that where there was absolutely ZERO animus, there would now be a significant amount manufactured not by "grumpy mean chess players" but by the good intentions and the effects of attempting to make 'good-spirited-outreach' a mainstream staple.


I'm the FIRST guy to stay well away from arguments that cannot be won. The main reason is that I get no kind of satiation from hearing myself talk illogically, and I do not understand the masochists that do.


But in this case, I'd be perfectly comfortable arguing both sides.

Perhaps a little more comfortable arguing the proposition (given that it was posed as a suggestion and not a command), but I think that I could handle my own on either side of this one.


All in all, I think that it's a great idea and everyone should do it, but that's my personal preference.

Logically speaking, I think there are a few more advantages to being generally courteous, even if it's just to prove that people are willing to take the time to go through the paces, "plastic" or not.


All in all, I think that I agree with much of what you've said here.

@Qveen_Sacrifice does your definition of a bad sport still include someone who won't take a draw in a won position, and won't give takebacks in rated games?

@MrScribbles "still," I disagree with the premise of the question. I've never considered someone a bad sport for declining a draw, when they're winning in a rated game-- unless they got a crucial takeback earlier in the game. Someone's arguably a bad sport if they NEVER take a draw (looking at you Bobby Fischer), or never resign, certainly.

Having a no-takeback policy isn't necessarily being a bad sport either. But it doesn't speak to a player's confidence, as though they don't believe they can still win if they give a single takeback. Equal parts cut-throat and cowardly. Just my humble opinion.

The OP complains about the lack of manners and then proceeds to say how rude the majority of the community is. Then he claims the reason everyone is rude is "a lack of education".

Welcome to the internet.

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