Beginner question - When to resign

I'm a beginner draughts player and have an etiquette question. When playing a game, and when it is clear that you will lose as you only have a few men left against more of the opponent (and they have a king) - is it 'okay' to resign the game, to save your opponent from having to go through the 'motions'?

I'm of course fine with finishing the game until I lose the last man, but I though it would be maybe more considerate to your opponent to resign at that point?


The golden rule is "The losing party should resign when the weaker opponent understands what the outcome will be and could convert the position against a master"

I don't know current tournament practice, but in some countries some decades ago it was considered as normal draughts tournament practice that the strongest side has rights to impose a draw in a standard winning endgame if stronger player runs out of time. Flagging opponent in draughts is less ethical act than in chess: in draughts, we have no means like perpetual checks or forced threefold repetitions by attacks on strong pieces which would help to escape a loss due to running out of time!

I do not know how it is accepted in draughts. But I played in chess tournaments. In chess, it is considered good form to admit defeat in a hopeless position and not play until the final-checkmate. Perhaps draughts counts as well?

@Siberianbear Same is in draughts, and we can apply one analogy.
In a chess game between two strong players, if one sees unavoidable mate in 3, a strong player resigns. By this, he or she proves a knowledge of winning pattern.
If in a draughts game between two strong players, one player falls into a shot which leads to loss of two checkers or more, or if a shot results in a hopeless position, there is a good reason to resign immediately.

Playing until you have no pieces left is something only beginners and children do. It is a waste of your and your opponent's time to continue playing a game which you will clearly lose. The difficulty for beginners is determining when it is clear that your opponent will win this position against you. This depends on your own and your opponent's strength, the position on the board, the players' remaining time and the importance of the game.

For example in a blitz game I might continue playing a position against a weaker player where I would surrender with that same position against a stronger player (only in a blitz game, not in a classical game when my opponent has enough time left). My opponent being very low on time might also make me continue to play because of the increased likelihood of mistakes. One could surrender a position when losing is not a big problem while one would continue to play when the outcome of your game is more important to you or to your team.

The general rule I would say is to continue playing with one piece less and surrender with two pieces less. An experienced player will almost always convert a two piece advantage into a win. The position has to be quite exceptional for a two piece advantage to be not enough to easily win. A lot of players actually surrender after losing a piece in a classical game unless they have a clear positional advantage to (partially) make up for the piece deficit. This can be in a tournament or in the internal club competition . Or some just don't want to fight a desperate fight for a draw for two hours and prefer to start with their beer/wine/soda earlier. Or when playing blitz games for fun, one might surrender after losing a piece because it is more fun to play a new game with new chances.

For a beginner I recommend to continue playing with one piece less and to surrender with three pieces less or when the opponent has a king (and you do not) and one piece more. The situation with no kings on the board and two pieces less is a bit of a grey area for beginners I think. Beginners make mistakes more often and also make bigger mistakes so maybe you should continue playing longer against beginners. Only when you think there is still a real chance to get a draw with two pieces less would I advice to continue playing, for example when you can still make a king. The presence of kings makes determining the outcome harder. With both players having one king a two piece advantage is quite often still a draw and maybe you can win back a piece or make a second king. Like I said the presence of kings makes it much harder to say something general about the outcome of a game.

So far everything I've said applies to long physical games as well as to physical blitz and online games. Currently almost all competitions and tournaments I know use the Fischer system, which gives you additional time after making a move. This makes it virtually impossible to win/lose on time. For blitz games this is different. Personally as a rule I don't play non-Fischer games like 3+0 or 1+0 because I hate winning and losing on time. In physical and internet blitz games time is an important factor. I wouldn't call it considerate but it is definitely allowed to try to win on the clock. You can even force your opponent to make long captures as that costs more time than making simple moves. Giving away all your pieces can get you a win on time but your opponent might hate you for it.

As a last remark and advice I would not recommend playing bullet games for beginners. Play with longer time systems, rapid with e.g. 15+10, 10+5, 5+5 or 5+3 or play 3+2 as a minimum if you really want to play blitz.

Thank you for your extensive answers! Very clear.

You can't post in the forums yet. Play some games!