Luis’s most recent Initial Technology is an excellent article about playing faster…with an unfortunate, brief discussion of when one might want to concede a match. Despite Luis’s disclaimer, this has spawned another tired debate about conceding. Luis’s basic point was that you might want to concede a match that’s going to time if:

  • A draw will knock you both out of contention
  • The opponent has you pretty much dead on board

In most other situations, a concession comes down to a negotiation. For example, in a recent Superstars event I went to time in the round and was basically dead on board. I’d normally concede there, except I’d been paired down, so I had the better chance of winning overall. I discussed this with my opponent, and he agreed that that seemed like a good enough reason and conceded to me.
The comments on Luis’s article have include all sorts of arguments concerning why it’s rational to concede in terms of developing good will over time and so forth. However, I’m struck by people who get upset by the concept that if you concede and it lets someone into the top eight, or day two, someone else may be bumped.
This is normally expressed as “You’re bumping someone who deserves to get in.”
The problem with this idea is that the way to actually make sure you “deserve” to get in is to perform well enough to lock the position. Lock up the top eight, or day two, with wins. If you’re in any other position, then you’re relying on the performance of others, whether it’s looking at match draws, concessions, or hoping your OMW percentage spikes far enough to get you in on tie-breakers. Do you somehow “deserve” the top eight if you’re knocked out by someone else’s concession, but not “deserve” the top eight if you’re knocked out by someone else’s win?
In either case, your position was not steady enough to survive someone else’s match result. It’s your job to bulwark your position with wins so that you don’t have to spend time hoping one or more other matches work out in your favor. You control your play, and the rest is just weather. If someone concedes a match out of politeness, or because they hope it builds good will, or because they really want to go get dinner, none of that adds to or takes away from the strength of your play.
Luis made the top eight of PT Berlin 2008 because Kenny Oberg dream crushed another player. Did that other player deserve a concession instead, because Kenny had locked up top eight? If Kenny makes that concession and it bumps Luis, is Luis less deserving?
I think it’s all a little silly. The only way to “deserve” a top eight is to simply play yourself out of the range of chance. Anything else is a misplaced sense of entitlement.

1 thought on “Conceding

  1. I’m not sure on this: i think that you might “deserve” the top eight if you are knocked out by someone’s concession, but not “deserve” it if you were knocked out by someone else’s win. Think of it this way – say that up until the last round, you and this other player have the same record and both have a chance to get in as the 8th player in the top 8. the round starts and you crush your opponent. However, the other player isn’t able to defeat his opponent in time, but is able to convince him to concede. While you might have the same record now, you actually beat your opponent, but the other player was unable to beat their opponent, and had to resort to other means to even have a chance at the top 8. i think that this is what makes people irritated, if the other player had also beaten his opponent fair and square, then obviously he deserves to be in the top 8 more than you (if thats how the tiebreakers fall), but that changed when he didn’t actually defeat his last round opponent.

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