A Guide to Help Scholastic Chess Players Respond to Misconduct

3 Common Scenarios

Armando Almase
7 min readDec 12, 2020


Photo by Mitchell Johnson

Conduct is defined as “a behavior based on moral principles”. Conduct can be viewed as “good” or “bad. Misconduct means “improper” or “unprofessional” behavior. Unsportsmanlike is “unfair” behavior.

In most sports, unsportsmanlike conduct can get a player fined and even removed from a game or sport’s match. Given enough time and the number of chess matches, all scholastic players will eventually play against an opponent whose conduct is unsportsmanlike.

Whether your opponent’s conduct is officially against the rules or just frowned upon, it’s still considered unsportsmanlike. Whether your opponent’s actions are subtle or obvious, the intention is to disrupt your game to gain an advantage.

Although unsportsmanlike conduct can occur in any sport, chess is unlike other sports because you have to sit face to face with your opponent for sometimes hours at a time. Also unlike other sports, chess doesn’t offer player substitutions and you don’t get a break when changing from offense to defense. Therefore, it’s important that chess students learn early to respond to unsportsmanlike conduct in a polite, efficient, and effective way.

Plan, prepare, and practice

Photo by Positive Images

* Practice your game

Practice over the board if possible, especially if your tournament is in person. If practicing over the board isn’t possible, then practicing online is better than not at all. Read chess articles and strategy books on, especially on the “end game”. It’s equally important to memorize, review, and practice chess notation until it becomes second nature.

* Start a healthy routine with physical exercise, a balanced diet, and adequate sleep.

The goal isn’t to become an Olympic athlete, but rather to improve your physical health. Exercise can also help to clear your mind, improve the way you deal with stress, and avoid mental exhaustion. For more information on diet and…



Armando Almase

Husband, father, and friend. Analyst and storyteller. Licensed advocate and educator. Published book author. Former EMS professional and LEO.