Sunday, 9 March 2014

Rage Quitting

In online video games, if your opponent suddenly disconnects or bails from the game, it is known as "Rage Quitting". This normally occurs in online shooters, or online sports games, and getting your opponent to quit like this is often a mark of success. Of course it is also frowned upon, as there is an expectation that you should play the game to the end.
Oddly, chess often takes an opposite view. To play the game right to the end is often considered an insult, especially if the final result isn't in doubt. This attitude can sometimes surprise new players, and more than once I have been asked in junior events if it is OK to "give up".
But even in chess there is resigning, which we happily accept as part of the game, and "quitting" which is slightly different. Examples of the latter include sweeping the pieces off the board (a definite no-no), choosing to lose on time (only noticeable if you have plenty of time to start with), or simply disappearing from the playing hall. Interestingly, in the days of adjournments, you could resign the game at any stage before the resumption (as Boris Spassky did against Fischer in 1972), and this seemed perfectly OK.
The most famous example of the "disappearing player" was Curt von Bardeleben, against Steinitz in 1895. According to reports, after Steinitz started his brilliant combination, von Bardeleben realised what was about to happen, but rather than resign, simply picked up his hat and left the venue. Steinitz had to wait until von Bardeleben's clock ran out of time before claiming the win. Gaining some small revenge for bad manners, Steinitz then demonstrated the rest of the combination to the spectators.

Steinitz,William - Von Bardeleben,Curt [C54]
Hastings, 1895

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

And Bardeleben didn't return to finish the event, even though he'd had almost a perfect score before this loss. Talk about chucking the toys out of the cot...