When is the correct time to resign your game? This is really a difficult question to answer in chess. A player may be down with material but there may be some opportunities to win. The chance of winning may be slim but there is still hope to salvage the game. Immediately resigning may mean lack of resilience and perseverance. But of course, a clearly lost game is not worth the effort continuing.
Whether to resign or not is really a matter of evaluation. The entire position prevailing on the chessboard has to be taken into consideration. The lost of a piece should not necessarily be equated to resigning. If the position is still worth fighting for the player should continue. In the latter stages of the game, there may be a substantial improvement that may compensate for the lost of a piece.
There are instances when a player who is paired against a higher rated opponent often resigns after losing a single pawn. This is not only psychological but knowing the track record of the player on the other side of the board there is a very rare chance of error being committed. Thus, the only way out is to resign and hope for better chances in a new game.
There is such a thing however as justified resilience. A player should not lose that fighting spirit even if the position looks losing at first glance. There may be hidden resources to achieve a draw or if not, to win the game. A review of chess literature would show countless games where a move was found that eventually saved a lost game and turned it into a draw. A momentary look at the position would seem that it is already hopeless to continue playing the game. Yet, after a calm, focused and deeper analysis of the position a draw either by repetition of moves or stalemate is discovered.
It is better to get a half point than none at all. A fighting draw is definitely much appreciated than resignation without cause. A piece down should not necessarily mean resignation. If a player due to negligence loses a piece, the player must not let his opponent know. The player should always remain calm and avoid making gestures revealing his frustration after the inadvertent lose of the piece. Instead, the player should continue analyzing the position. The position may be desperate but the player should always be optimistic about saving the game. The key is to continuously focus and concentrate.
There are some players who would always resign after the lost of a rook even in an almost equal position. I am not saying to continue playing to the bitter end if the position is indeed hopeless. But playing a little bit longer with firm determination and not losing focus often bear fruits. A player who shows perseverance often earns the respect of his opponent. The player who has the advantage finds it very difficult to defeat a player who never loses the will to win. It is said that one of the hardest thing to do in chess is to win an already won game. Clearly, the player playing for a draw has nothing to lose and the burden of winning is on his adversary. It is thus logical to play on and hope for the best. Chess is never won until it is won!