Question about chess etiquette


I was wondering what would be the proper chess etiquette in a situation where the opponent is up a lot of material but is down on time. I had a game recently where my opponent was +10 up in material, but only had 18 seconds of time left, while I had 45 seconds. Essentially I knew the position was losing for me, but I also knew that if I kept defending fast enough, I could possibly win on time, which I eventually did.

I said good game, but I am left wondering whether I played with a good etiquette there. I feel bad that my opponent, who showed varying degrees of dominance throughout the game, only lost because of time. Because I felt they deserved the win, should I have resigned out of respect and appreciation to my opponent?

What's the proper etiquette in a situation like this? It doesn't feel right to try to keep playing a hopeless/losing position in hopes that you might win on time. But at the same time I understand that time control is part of the game and if we are supposed to resign in a more or less clearly lost position, even if our opponent has significantly less time left, then time control can lose its meaning to some extend.

Maybe the best of both worlds for someone in the situation I had would be to offer a draw and if the draw isn't accepted then you have the permission to try to keep winning on time in a lost position?

Many thanks if anyone can help!

Never, never, never say „good game!“ after winning. You must be really new to the internet.

Winning on time: that‘s pretty normal when playing with clock.

Hey, it's 1+0, so time is supposed to be an essential factor. If your only chances are to win on time, then that's your goal, and in 1+0 flagging the opponent is an option that both players play for besides trying to checkmate the opponent. It's common to throw "idiotic" sacrifices and checks just to flag your opponent when they're very low on time.

Rudely put, they didn't deserve the win if they used too much time. You could have played better if you had played as slow as they did.

It's completely different when you're on other time controls with no chances to flag your opponent.

@laatikko Thanks for your input! It was actually 10+0, does that change things up? Also, what does "flagging" mean? I hear it a lot on chess streams. :)
EDIT: I looked up "flagging". I guess I "flagged" my opponent then, lol! But I can't say I'm proud of it when they had a winning position, #5 in fact I think it was..

@Sarg0n What do you consider so wrong about saying good game as the player who won? Of course it's not appropriate to say it before the match is over, but I think a gg from both sides is basic good respectful game etiquette after a match is over. Even if the winning party says it first, I think it is simply a gesture of friendliness and appreciation towards your opponent and the challenge they presented. Sure if the winner was so dominant that there was really no match at all you might want to reconsider it, but after a good, long battle I think it's a very nice gesture regardless who lost and who won.

Wait until your defeated opponent stretches out his hand first, online and offline.

Flagging your opponent means that your opponent runs out of time. I'm not sure but I've thought it comes from old analog chess clocks, which used to have a red metal flip that would first rise up when you run low on time and eventually fall down when you go to zero. Someone correct me if this is not where it derives from.

10+0 is not so heavily playing time as 1+0, but as there is no increment then better make it on time. Black had a mate in one at 40. ...Qd4# and 43. ...Qf3# and he missed then, so then he may lose on time. I know I wouldn't have kept playing on after losing my Queen when the opponent has 6+ min time. That's 6 times more than enough for winning in such a position. But here it wasn't enough, so maybe it was ok to keep playing. What I would be more worried about is if I'm wasting my own time by playing a game which is not interesting or educative.

@Sarg0n I'm curious too: don't know much about chess, but I played a couple of different sports with (presumedly) good spirit and sportmanship and the very least you say even in victory is thanks and good game with a handshake. If you lost or you're good friends then you're allowd to comment more, and if you're really good friends then you should actually trash talk.

Good game and/or thanks for the game though is pretty mach the bare minumum, I mean, even if you despise the guy.

To the OP, I feel that if time is part of the game you're playing, then definitely winning on time is part of the rules, the strategies and the possible outcomes, don't feel bad even in longer time controls. One of the possible reasons is that he was in a better shape exactly because he "allotted" too much time to think.

@alysiasmiles I think what you did (playing on and winning on time) was absolutely fine. As you say, time is part of the game, and having good time management skills is part of being a good player.

You said that the position was losing for you, and indeed it was, if we just consider what was happening on the board. However, the way I see it is that "the position" is a combination of the board and the clock; taking your clock advantage into account, things aren't quite so bad for you, and you exploited this aspect of "the position" to win the game. This is especially true in a no-increment game, where time often becomes critical. Your opponent agreed to play this time control, and in doing so, accepted the possibility of flagging like this.

To give a more extreme example from my own experience, when I was still pretty new to chess, I played a 30+0 game on It ended up with king and rook versus king and rook: totally drawn on the board. However, I was massively down on time (about 30 seconds compared to my opponent's 15 minutes or so). I offered a draw, which my opponent declined; he insisted on playing on to win on time in a completely drawn position. At the time I felt quite aggrieved, but thinking about it afterwards, I realised that he'd managed his clock better, using less time to reach KR v KR, and as such deserved the win. "The position" was actually winning for him, due to the clock aspect.

I'm sure some will disagree with me on this, but it's just my take on it.

Also, I'd say it's fine to say "good game", win or lose; there's nothing wrong with being friendly and acknowledging your opponent after the game :)

I am not sure in chess, but usually on the internet, GG or "Good Game" does not mean that the game was good.
It means "You played a good game" and it is said by the loser to show the winner that he deserves the win (because he played well instead of the loser playing badly). The winner usually respond the same as a sign of respect, meaning "you played well too".

However if the winner says it first, it can be seen as patronizing and arrogant: "You played well but still lost, I must be great".

Nowadays it has become some kind of unspoken rule for the loser to say "GG" and the winner to answer him with his own "GG" or "you too". It is considered bad manners not to do it in many places.

If you say something like "It was a good game", it shouldn't be seen as disrespectful, although you could use another word to remove any ambiguity (interesting, challenging, etc).

I don't really know if it is the same in chess since I'm rather new to this world, but I almost never see anyone saying Good game (or anything) after a game. Maybe because I'm playing mostly blitz.

@Sarg0n Wow! You not only post some hilarious messages, but also have very, VERY correct idea about "good game" message #2. In fact, winning side "Good game" must be replaced with "Look how good I was".

Subj, always, always thought time win damages nature of chess and replaces mind competition with fast hands competition. What is time win on battlefield?
Why not to play a shooter if question is whose reflexes are better.

Seen a lot of people who resign instead of fast moves, did this by myself and enjoying this approach. Nothing wrong if others played on time, it's rules anyway.

Though disagree that spamming gg is good, makes it empty words. I'd say it only when game was special, not often.