Traps, Tricks & Mistakes: When Resigning Is a Mistake!

You probably have seen elite games where one of the players resigns even having extra material.

It happens when the resigning player doesn’t find any way of holding. For example, because there is an inevitable checkmate.

In games between players with very different rating, the underrated opponent usually faces the game assuming the role of victim. This emotional state is frequently the reason for wrong evaluations and incorrect decisions.

Let’s see some examples.

In the following position, Black started a combination intending to take advantage of his passed pawn. What both players didn’t see is that it is a wrong combination.

Carl Ahues was a German chess International Master (1883-1968) and German champion in 1929.

In 1920, in a simul event, his opponent resigned in the following position, without realising a winning combination.

In 1955, during the USSR team championship, Alexander Arulaid (Estonia) faced Bukhuti Gurgenidze (Georgia)

At that time, after a number of stipulated moves, it was usual to adjourn the game.
The player who corresponds to play had to write his next move, seal it in an envelope and his opponent couldn’t see it until the game resumed.
After that, each player had the chance to analyze possible variations, even with other players’ help.

The next diagram shows the adjourned position where it is White’s turn.

The morning of next day was planned for resuming the game which means that each team had enough time for analyzing possible variations.

Nevertheless, instead of resuming the game, Arulaid resigned.

However, this position is not lost for Black.

Only after both players signed the scoresheet, someone pointed out that some chess composers had already been working on a similar position almost a hundred years ago.

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