Online Chess Personality Quiz

The following reactions come out in online chess for a multitude of reasons. Maybe a take back request was denied or you just make good moves and they don’t like it. Regardless, these personalities arise all the time.

Which are you? This is a self-assessment.

The Reasonable Player
This player accepts the result of their games. They are happy when they win and disappointed when they lose; however, this doesn’t ruin their day or even the next minute. They don’t generally worry about asking for take backs except possibly in the case of an obvious mouse slip (ie: stopping 1-square short of a queen recapture or playing Kf1 when trying to castle). When the take back is declined, they move on in life. There is nothing wrong with being a reasonable player.

The Isolationist
This player configures their settings in a way to avoid contact with the opponent. For example, they may disable take backs, disable chat, and refuse to rematch people. They may also engage Zen Mode (if it is available like on LiChess) where the only thing on the screen is the board, pieces, and time. There is nothing wrong with being an isolationist.

The Santa Pause
Once a take back is declined or the opponent starts winning comfortably, the Santa Pause begins engaging in 2 distinct behaviors:

  1. They start giving away pieces, or gifts, for free which
  2. Delays, or pauses, your inevitable victory.

The Santa Pause is fairly harmless in that they are admitting you win the game. However, they have not personally accepted the loss. They are delaying you as much as they are delaying themselves. So, it isn’t good to be a Santa Pause because you are wasting everyone’s time (admittedly, in a mostly harmless way).

Santa Paused

There is always the remote chance they might have a hilarious win; but, 99.99% of the time they will lose. The position on the right is from a game I played when I was around 1300 in a tournament in Kentucky. I remember he dropped his Ra8 and just started feeding me pieces. Then, I didn’t notice the threat after Bh3 and lost embarrassingly.

As far as I can remember, this is the only time I ever genuinely got Santa Paused, including during online play.

The Talker

Talkers like to talk. Often, talkers are kind but more often they are snarky, rude, or jerks.

  1. Kind Talkers – I am not talking about the people who say “GG” or “Thanks.” I am talking about the people who type at you during an online game. They may talk about anything at all, but are civil. Their goal? To distract you from the game.
  2. Rude Talkers – Rude talkers will insult you, be unpleasant, taunt you, etc… When they do this during the game, they are obviously upset with something (like they made a bad move).

These people start saying things in the chat box after their take back is denied. You can break this down further into Good and Bad talkers. A Good Talker will say “It was a mouse slip, I was trying to castle” while a Bad Talker might say something like “Is that the only way you can win?” (or something worse). A talker who attempts verbal abuse and refuses to move becomes The Terror (see below).

Sometimes, someone will write something in a language you do not understand. That is when you use Google Translate to try to understand the gist of what they are saying. Recently, a person called me a cheater in Persian. But, 10 minutes later, followed up with this message:

“I analyzed the game, I was wrong, you did not cheat.”

The Samurai
These people get rather upset with you when you beat them on time in a drawn position. They will tell you how it is unreasonable to decline a draw in a drawn position when they have 31 seconds left and you have 1 to 2 minutes or more. When you inform them that time is part of the game, they dig their heels in and stand their ground.

The Runner
These people just exit the game without doing or saying anything. While most websites have a 2 to 3 minute timer that will offer you the chance to “claim victory,” these people are likely the most numerous of the bad personalities. Sometimes, when a Runner has 4+ minutes out of a 5 minute game, they will log back in, make a move, and log back out, just to keep the “Claim” Victory” timer going. When they do this, they turn into the “Hostage Taker” (see below).

The Equivocator
Likes to send you repeated draw offers because somehow, in their mind only, your denial of their take back request (or their bad move) means the game should now end in a draw. They feel the game is now “unfair” and feel obtaining a draw will level things out.

The Hostage Taker
Some people, when denied either reasonable or unreasonable take back requests, like to take you hostage. They will sit there for the remainder of their time forcing you to sit there, too. The more time they have, the longer they get to wait you out.

It should be noted that chess clocks were invented because of these people. Just picture a young person who is losing and they fold their arms, refusing to move. So, the chess clock makes it inevitable that they will lose.

The Terror
The Terror is a Hostage Taker who also spams you with insults, take back requests, and threatens to block you and report you. These people have only the power of their keyboards to harass you and they aren’t afraid to use them.

A special type of Terror player is when they insult you in a language they presume you do not speak. Well, Google Translate has helped me understand the mean things people have said to me over the years. Here are 2 recent ones:

Portuguese: “Vai tomar no seu cu” — Google Translate: “Will take in your ass.”

I posted this on Facebook. Many people had a fun take on what this rude person was trying to convey. But yes, people can be mean. I always block these people on whatever chess platform I am on.

If you are anything other than The Reasonable Player or the Isolationist, you have some work to do on your personality when it comes to losing.

Remember, you can always get your pieces back by resigning and the best way to handle a mouse slip is to just simply… move on. 🙂

One thought on “Online Chess Personality Quiz

  1. I think the main sites now recognize keeping a dead-lost game open without making moves (i.e. letting time run out) as a form of “abuse” — EVEN if the loser does not disconnect (disconnection when lost is also recognized as abuse).

    And of course, most kinds of hostile language chatted at an opponent is also treated as abuse by site admins. And the sites now have one-click buttons to report this, with checklists of radio buttons in their “Report Abuse” forms so a wronged player need not hunt around for an admin to contact, or type lengthy emails, or even copy-paste from the chat when reporting “Verbal Abuse” (the admins already have access to the archived chat content).

    My point is, reasonable players are not at the mercy of dickheaded players. Especially when it comes to reporting abuse: a dickhead’s empty threat to report you can be countered by one’s own action of actually reporting the dickhead. While I can’t be certain that a given site’s admins (or admin-bots) will take the effort to distinguish real abuse reports from bogus ones, my hunch is in most cases they will.


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