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When Opponent Moves But Doesn't Press Clock

This has long been a point of debate. I have a personal story to share, but first the two arguments:

*Argument 1: Exploit the mistake.* Every chess player has three resources--material, position, and time--and it's up to the player to use those resources better than his opponent if he expects to win. Managing your chess clock is a basic aspect of managing your time.

*Argument 2: Help the player out.* The clock is a tool that is subordinate to what's happening on the board and both players should use the clock to help them have a good game. It's in the interest of good chess to point out the opponent's error regarding the clock and it's in accordance with The Golden Rule: "Do unto others as you'd have them do unto you."

In one of my first OTB tournaments, my opponent didn't hit his clock after moving. He was a guy in his late 20's, I'd say, and was probably as inexperienced in tournament play as I was. I considered the situation for a moment and decided to use the time ticking away on his clock to analyze the board. I said nothing, but just focused intently on the board. This went on for two minutes... three minutes... five minutes. After ten minutes, my opponent was getting agitated and it was clear he was wondering what was going on: Why wasn't I moving?! Not long after that, he noticed his clock was ticking away and he shot up out of his seat like it was electrified. He swore and quickly slammed the button on the clock. It took him about two minutes of pacing to get himself to calm down.

In the end, he *still* beat me. When we shook after my resignation, I don't remember him being angry at me. He was simply happy about the win and didn't seem to be holding any grudges.

Do I think I did the right thing in remaining silent? Would I do the same thing if it happened again? Probably not. All these years later, I still feel a little moral taint for having exploited that player's mistake. What I did may have been legal, but it feels a little cheap. Next time? I'd point to my opponent's clock. I'd rather have a clear conscience than gain a meager advantage that may not amount to anything.

No you did not do the right thing.If you can't play ethically,stick with online chess which preserves your anonymity and allows you to run and hide.Real life ..you are known not for your electronic rating..you are known for how you conduct yourself.
You can bet your life you got mentioned in the apres-chess ...not in a complimentary manner.

Well moral feeling is one thing. That is fine if you do it for your own personal feeling of enlightenment. But it really isn't poor sportsmanship. Also you said, "for exploiting my opponent's mistake" implying you feeling bad for it made it wrong? Well that is part of the game. The whole reason you win is exploiting mistakes. Why is neglecting a clock any different? Again if you simply want to have your own conscience clean that's cool. But I have a fine moral compass and I will use my opponent's time against him every chance I get. And I expect him to do the same.

Very sad to see this strong defence of poor behavior.

I imagine people will do whatever they want in the situation. Trying to get the opposing view to see things as you do is a losing battle for all parties.

I can imagine pointing out the simple mistake is the best route to avoid unnecessary conflict, however.
I can't imagine someone getting angry at you for trying to help. That would be silly.

@bunyip feel free to show in the rule book with page number stating you have to alert your opponent of his clock negligence. As far as I have seen there is no such rule and it states general conduct.

We really don't need personal opinion to cloud the facts. If you find it.. I will immediately start running my tournaments differently. But you must use the official uscf rules of chess 7th ed. Or higher.

If you find it in FIDE I will accept that in FIDE sections. But I highly doubt FIDE has it.

Thanks! :-)

@Bunyip Sheesh, Bunyip, you're awfully wound up about this. This happened once, decades ago, and I think my opponent was less offended than you seem right now. I've already indicated I'm now in the "Help the player out" camp. Having said that, I'm aware there's an argument to be made on the other side, and I don't think I'd fault a player for letting my own clock run out if I neglected to hit it. Like my opponent 30 years ago, I think I'd be more annoyed with myself than anything.

@GSP0113 you brought it up and asked for opinions...I gave an opinion,and now you try to suggest I'm hysterical.If you had no wish to be told you were wrong,you should have just kept it to yourself.

@MeWantCookieMobile your comment is about usual for you.Basically you have made it clear that you would cross the road rather than help someone who stumbled.

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