Disqualification from tournament due to timeout

Hello all -

I was disqualified from a title tournament recently due to timing out in a game. This seems unreasonably strict, and also is not clearly mentioned beyond an aside in the Documentation & FAQ page. New players or those new to tournaments (like me) have no reason to believe a timeout would count as anything other than a loss like it does in all other circumstances.

I understand the goal is to discourage inactive players, and, I suppose, to disincentivize letting time run out instead of resigning. But often these tournaments are years long; the 2017 title tournament wrapped up in 2021, and the 2018 one is still going. Is the extra day or two really such a bad outcome that it requires a no-exceptions, immediate DQ? And shouldn’t the aim be to target only those players acting in bad faith, and/or those causing meaningful delays? There’s no reason to believe that a single timeout meets either of those criteria on it’s own. My game, for example, was completed well before two others in the first round; it can’t reasonably be claimed that it held up the tournament, and I was genuinely spending the time looking for a move to get out of a bad situation.

(concrete suggestions below)

At a minimum, this rule should be highlighted explicitly on every tournament page. That there are already rules on each page implies that those are all the rules (or at least, all the non-obvious ones). Many tournaments also list DQ criteria like using a bot or taking too much vacation which adds to that implication.

IMO there should also be a warning of some kind. For example, a notification or automated message after the first time it happens would probably solve almost all subsequent timeouts from players who didn’t know the rule. It could also be done without any structural changes by simply adding a few words to the “you have XXX time left to move!” notification, or, even better, adding a separate and unremovable notification to ensure that the player sees it.

EDIT - see also my comment further down


Before anyone chimes in to say that we need a way to punish inactive players - please define “inactive” first. What precisely is the rule intended to prevent or disincentivize? And why with no warning or second chances?

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Not really disagreeing with anything you say, just want to say for me it’s not at all about punishing anyone. It’s about protecting the tournament from massive amounts of not actually playing players in later rounds. I’ve played on a site which had no such rule in place for some time and there in some tournaments you could expect not more than maybe half of the players actually still participating. That was super-annoying. I guess one could come up with a rule less strict than ‘one strike out’ though, that still protects the tournament. And at least making people more aware is definitely a good idea of course.


Thats a good point, I suppose “punishment” is the wrong way to frame things. Better is to say its about disincentivizing incomplete participation, e.g. playing in only a few games per round.

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This kind of behavior is very detrimental to tournaments and one of the reasons they last years. So whether you chose to frame it as “punishment to the player” or “protection to the tournament” it is simply better to avoid it happening in later rounds. This being said, rule sets have no commitment with the “intention of the players” or “their faith” as you tried to frame in the original message.

I think people always forget that games in tournaments are different from individual games and may affect the experience of other hundred of players.


I agree that it’s excessively strict. And not just for correspondence - I find it especially ridiculous for a blitz tournament where timeout is a basic part of the game.

A couple of alternative ideas:

  • Only disqualify players who play no moves in any games before timing out.
  • Give disqualified players a button to click to rejoin.

It doesn’t happen in blitz tournaments. Players are disqualified if they lose by timeout before playing a move. If it happens later it just counts as a defeat

In correspondence tournaments instead it doesn’t matter how many moves were played.

I’m not sure it’s excessive (in correspondence tournaments I mean) but it could be influenced by the fact that i am used to it


Oh! That’s great and someone should add it to the docs. What about live?

If the mechanics are there it’s probably just a little tweak to the code to make it work the same way for correspondence.

Remember that tournament directors can still disqualify truly inactive people. And if they don’t, the cost is only that the inactive player sticks around for one more round.

Correspondence tournaments can take long, I bet there are many inactive tournament directors. Sticking for ‘only’ one more round can mean for an opponent to play in a 10 players group and only get 3 opponents. I’m not against making it less strict than today, but this seems like going too far to me.


As I said in the original post, this was not the last game I completed this round, and so it is inarguably not one of the reasons that the tournament lasts years. That simply does not apply here. I also haven’t taken any vacation, unlike many of my opponents – if time is the primary concern, why is unlimited vacation ok? The answer, of course, is that this is a very long tournament and it would be unreasonable to expect every player to be consistently available over that entire span. Some leniency is warranted and makes it a better experience.

… which brings us back to my original question: why so strict about only this? You haven’t offered any justification for this particular solution, or addressed any of my suggestions. Why not allow players one warning? Even if you will not accept a two- or three-strike rule, why not warn players before the first timeout? Saying only “timeouts are detrimental” is not productive.


what game do you refer to?

Sorry, I think I didn’t specified the object of my sentence clearly enough and you took it too personally.

This kind of behavior [players who timeout games] is very detrimental to tournaments and one of the reasons they last years

By this I am not meaning that you specially is detrimental to tournaments or whatever, as you pointed your specific case is much more specific and I agree. I only mean that you fall in that general group and my opinion is that the general rule set should not try to make this distinction.

And since a game may last months, two/three strikes rules would not work well neither for the tournament. For the player it is better to just join another tournament if you think you are willing to go to the end.

Say “timeouts are detrimental” is productive when the topic of the discussion is change a rule about timeouts that I think should not be changed.

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Agreed, this point is important for understand why a 3-strike rule could have negative impacts on other players.

The two changes I think would make sense (IMHO):

  • Make the rules a little more visible (either in tournament info or the “1 day left!” warning)
  • Give TDs access to that lever, so they can change it from the default.

This game, finished a week ago. I need to correct myself here, actually; it was not one of the first games, but around the middle (2 remaining afterwards). That my bad and I’ll edit my earlier comments correspondingly.

[quote=“Fabrício, post:12, topic:43621”]
Sorry, I think I didn’t specified the object of my sentence clearly enough and you took it too personally.[/quote]

Sorry if my response seemed that way! I wasn’t taking it personally, I was using my game as an example of how a lack of rigid ruleset can have bad outcomes when it doesn’t account for nuances. The fact that many of the people in this thread agree that there is nuance in this case, and that the result is unfortunate, to me indicates that we also agree (on some level) that the ruleset is too rigid. The question then is: is there a better way? Or is that infeasible? In my opinion, it is feasible, which is why I posted! It would be unhelpful to post without offering an alternative :slight_smile:

Maybe I need to clarify – I’m not trying to say that you can’t disagree, but that saying that and that alone is not productive. The original question is about the incentive structure implementation, given that we all already agree timeouts are detrimental.

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I have the impression that you may have missed the game info:

The info about timing out in a game was there, but hard to find (especially when you are new to OGS).
Bad luck, but maybe it leads to something good.

On this, there is this setting:

Also, I can’t find it now but wasn’t there a thread about how for some title tournaments a timeout won’t disqualify you, but I can’t find it now and may have misunderstood.

What I was proposing is to not disqualify players for timing out in the middle of a game. Or give them a button to rejoin. Surely it isn’t common for 70% of the participants to become inactive after already playing some moves? And inactive players wouldn’t go click a button.

Well, you offer two options and correctly point out that one of them would invalidate my point. :slight_smile:

Yes, a rejoin buton may work. Just not disqualifying players for timing out in the middle of the game wouldn’t in my opinion. And it doesn’t need 70% timeouts, because those timing out will all get few points and consequently end up in lower groups (talking about similtaneous McMahon here). Also, the likelyhood of people dropping out this way is greater in the weaker ranks (people stopping to play after a few weeks). So if you are a weaker player getting very few opponents in later rounds is a real possibility with dropout rates much, much lower than 70%. I played on littlegolem for a long time where for some time they didn’t throw inactive people out of the league system and that was just horrible. (They’ve changed it since if I recall correctly.)

Short version: rejoining, fine with me, same solution as blitz today, please no!


This is a warning about running out of time to make a move. I’m asking for a warning that running out of time will disqualify you, which i don’t believe currently exists.