Absolute Blitz: I love it, some hate it

I’m relatively new to the server, and I host almost exclusively absolute blitz games. I’ve only seen a couple other people do it, and I’m kinda curious what people think of it.

The thing I love the most about absolute is the importance of time management. Any quick moves you can make save you time to think when you need to. The more complex the board, the more time you have to budget for finishing it.

Secondarily, it’s nice to be able to schedule a quick game and know at least the maximum time it could possibly take at a glance.

I get quite a few people sitting in a game with me, not understanding the format, and getting mad. They accuse me of “cheating” or “fooling them,” which is ridiculous on its face. The rules are set and clear and apply to both equally.

The hitch is, in a 10 minute game, you can’t spend the first 8 minutes making 50 moves to create an unbeatable position and then expect the other person to resign. I can’t tell you the number of people who have told me that they are ahead, and I should resign, and then they find out that they are not as good as they thought at defending their positions (particularly under time pressure) and I win on points. Then they complain. Often that same thing happens and they lose on time, having poor time management, and complain even more loudly. They were legitimately ahead on points, but failed to leave time enough to finish the game (which begs the question of whether they would still have been ahead if they had used less time to develop their position).

On many occasions, my opponent will be ahead by more than enough points to win, but then fight a meaningless ko, or try to make some other gain that won’t impact the outcome, and then lose on time. And if they enjoy the fight more than the win, more power to them, but often they still complain to me about it.

Clearly – that aspect is a little frustrating. And it’s all the more so because absolute is my favorite format by a mile, and it doesn’t have many fans.

My philosophy on the format is simple: you have to leave yourself enough time to finish the game to a complete count. Else, you lose. If there are unsettled areas, I will contest them, but I never make silly moves as time-stealing tesuji. I face that from opponents from time to time, and while I don’t like or respect it, I do acknowledge that it’s my responsibility to protect myself by managing my time. More often than now, when I’m ahead on points and an opponent starts time-stealing, they end up losing on time after I’ve secured all my positions. I do resign when behind sometimes if the board is boring and we both have more than enough time, and I often lose on time myself (both ahead and behind on points).

I assume everyone knows what “absolute” means. Usually, when someone is using too much time I will remind them of the clock and lack of byo (particularly if they’ve been polite). What else can I do here to get more people into the format I love?


Some like blitz, some like corrs… happy to have both on the same server ^___^

ps. just my personal opinion, but absolute timing is horrible with go, its popular in the chess world and even EGC has some blitz tournaments with absolute time, but i really dislike playing go with absolute timing >____<


I play blitz IRL sometimes and 10mn absolute is quite a standard. We even have tournaments.

I have worse results in semi-blitz; in blitz it’s more clear you can’t think too long.

Online i don’t because that needs a reliable and good Internet.

Some times ago, chosing the absolute time setting was not advised on OGS (There are topics in this forum) It was not recommended for some technical reasons (bug? Only for tournaments?). I dunno if this is solved now, but that could explain for some players a reluctance to accept this time setting.


Not a bug per se, but… Absolute timing has the annoying loophole, that you can techically play the game of go for (almost) forever if you play moves that cost you points (like playing dead stones into your opponents territory or filling up your own territory)

Thats why its not recommended for go in general, but there are some legit tournaments which use it so thats why its an option ogs too.

@Groin maybe you’re thinking the simple timing bug, where weekend pauses do also reset the clock on simple timing, so games with over 5 days per move with weekend pauses will have the clock reset indefinitely.


How does playing a dead stone impact the timing? I was unaware.

Well technically you could just keep playing wothless stones and hope that your opponent times out… But pllease dont do that since its very unsportmanship and will prolly get you a warning from the mods >___>


As a bare minimum, I recommend adding a single 5s byo-yomi period to 10min main. The game will still feel much the same and it will save a lot of aggravation all round.


OK - I think what you’re saying here is the opposite? In a game with byo, you can keep making moves. In a game with absolute, if you try that, you eventually time out.

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I 100% agree that people who do not understand the time management of having an absolute clock will feel less aggravation, but I completely disagree that it will feel the same. You can play forever with a 5-sec clock. The whole ideal of absolute is that you cannot. The game ends, and you have to have made your moves before that happens.


I think KoBa is saying a nasty winning tactic would be to just make straight lines or click anywhere on the board as fast as you can while waiting for your opponent to time out if they click slower than you. Many would say this way is “not Go” and it would likely result in the user being banned by mods if they continued such behaviour.


Yes, that’s the time-stealing tesuji I mentioned in my original post. It does happen. If you are ahead of them on time when it starts, you can still defend against it.

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One suggestion made was to add little time like a byo yomi of 1 move 10s when passing only. Not when playing a move.
That would put away potentially a lot of timesuji tricks.

That’s debatable beyond your opinion as mod. In a blitz there is a high focus on time management so as long as you put stones on a board… There is a time contract you signed in. You didn’t sign to not try make your opponent fail on time by playing possible moves, these moves looking ugly or not, when your opponent was not watching enough his clock.


Yes, the time contract was made, and we honour that whenever people are being aggressive about how their opponent chooses to use their time. However, stalling moves such as infilling your own territory, whether that is a time-suji or not, are distinctly against our ToS for wasting your opponent’s time, and will be warned and punished regardless of time settings.


That’s putting away the time pressure management under the pretext of losing the time of the opponent. They are still fighting for a win afterall.
With less time constraint i completly agree but in a blitz i dunno.


There may be some minor concessions made, such as dubious invasions or atari and such, these things are decided on a case-by-case basis. But, certainly, I can state we do not apply a blanket exception for stalling in blitz games. Outright stalling is opposed to out ToS, even if specifically what counts as stalling may be somewhat negotiable on a case-by-case basis. In general, it should be avoided. There are other ways to induce a greater time commitment from your opponent which would still be considered “legitimate moves”


and this is why from a moderator point of view I would prefer a minimum byo-yomi (or fischer increment) for ** Ranked ** games.

The OP seems to make their preferred setup work well for them. Presumably opponents are not tempted to use “pointless stalling moves” because OP maintains more time on their clock.

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Note that the suggestion i reported before is not Fisher or byo yomi it’s a specific adaptation to avoid some stalling. Only apply on passes. You can fall on time by answering a move, but not by yelling “Let’s count!” many times, everyone should agree on that.

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Like many of our judgement calls it’s not totally black and white.

If a player takes on average 5s per move every move of the game, and then spends 8 mins without moving before deciding to pass just before their time runs out… that’s probably going to be looked upon less favourably than a player who plays roughly every 30s and eventually times out.

As a general rule of thumb, most isolated incedents are not punished in any direct way. For all but the most extreme cases we usually give at least 2 warnings before action is taken… so rather than one specific black and white “you done a bad thing” what we’re generally looking for is “you have a habit of this general behaviour which we don’t think is a good fit for the community here” and the choice is theirs to either fall in line or be kicked out.


An interesting older threat on that:

My suggestion is not mine but from @Vsotvep

With a “absolute time” search (Magnifier up) you’ll find many more topics.

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I played on KGS for years (decades?) and that’s how it worked there. If you passed it added maybe 2s? But that was enough that if someone else was making time-stealing moves and you simply passed every time, you couldn’t lose on time just based on the lag in pressing the pass button. That was fair, in my mind.

I have definitely had a few players beat me on time in OGS by using that strategy, where I lost a second or two with every pass based just on the net lag. Again, if I’m ahead on points and time, which is my goal, they can’t get me.