Escaping by Timeout


I never timed out of a correspondence game and I hope I never will.

Now guess what the profit of this rule is for me

The profit of the current is that all this players who stop playing for any reason don’t disturb my rank.

What I would have to deal with would be a win rate of 100% instead of 50% against this timeouter. And I like my rank not to be inflated.


I think this indicates that people are simply not reporting these to the moderators. I’ve personally suspected timeout abuse in a couple of cases with my own games. I’ve also seen a couple cases with other peoples’ games that have looked very suspect.

Going forward, I will report the cases that I come across. Everyone, please do so as well, if you are concerned about this issue.


The fact is that the reason why the Devs have this rule in place matters far more than why some players support the rule.

From the perspective of the case put forwards by Dev, the argument of fairness is suprious. That’s all that I wanted to let you know. You can argue fairness till you are blue in the face with other players, but what matters is the reason why the Devs won’t take this rule away.

The reason why the Devs won’t take this rule away is the one I gave: it’s argued that by far the majority of times this rule comes into play is when people join the site, join some correspondence games then leave.

In the absence of this rule, that messes up (it is argued) the rank pool.

This is the argument that you need to have if you want the rule changed.

Any other argument is spurious as far as getting change to happen goes.

Last time this came up this is exactly what I suggested happen. I distinctly recall silence after that.

Maybe this time will be different…


Yes, this topic has come up several times before. I think some alternatives/adjustments suggested were very reasonable. I think the simplest suggestion would be to implement the following:

  • Cancel the timeout effect as soon as the player logs back into the site

Basically, clear the “recently timed out from a game” flag when a player logs back on, rather than requiring them to finish another game. This won’t change anything for the cases where people just disappear. This is just to prevent someone from selectively timing out a losing batch of games, while still using the site.


If this is possible it would be the thing we’ve all been waiting for: the obvious good answer to the problem :smiley:


Other relevant threads (sorted by most recent first post):


Why not just let the winning player choose to pause the game and wait for their opponent? Show a message to the winning player explaining that their options are “annul the game” or “wait”, and give the losing player one day to make a move from the next time they log on, after which the game counts as a loss. I don’t really play correspondence, but I’d much rather wait for my opponent to show back up (and spot them an extra day to move) than have a won game annulled because of a quirk in the rules.


Folks, let me say don’t bother wasting your time trying to convince the OGS team.

If you have read the previous posts, you would have noticed my effort trying. I even went to the length of doing a simulation proving that counting time outs will NOT disturb ranking to a great extent, and yet the OGS development still chooses to ignore that, while to my knowledge they never had any mathematical proof that support their claim.


I have read a lot of previous posts and the rating-system-based arguments for this unfair rule are simply not good.

The argument is basically like this: Someone leaves the site for good, times out of all their correspondence games which artifically depresses their rank and since they never play again, they inject these rank points into the system and never recover them which eventually inflates all ranks.

There are two reasons that this is not a good argument:

  1. This is no different from resigning and leaving or having a string of bad luck/being ill/being too busy to play well and leaving.

So, “timing out and leaving for good” is a very small proportion of the games that are mass-timed out and “timing out and leaving for good” is a small proportion of people leaving the site. Therefore, the rule does not really address the alleged problem and at the same time mostly concerns games that are not part of the alleged problem.

If the problem is indeed with people who are leaving for good, the solution should address people who are leaving for good (for example, by letting the influence of their last games on other people decay with time). I am not convinced that this does not happen anyway, but this would need a discussion how the rating system handles people who start at 25 kyu and then normally improve to 5 kyu without depressing everyone’s rank.

  1. With the unfair rule in place, it is more common for people to time out of games that they have lost (and again, that does not need to be by intent, it is easier to find a reasonable move in a won game than deciding what to do about the one that is going to be lost). So, people who leave the site by mass time-out will now take with them undeserved rating points which will eventually depress the ratings on the site IF it is actually true that without the unfair rule the ratings would be inflated.

The whole discussion has not at all convinced me that “the experts” have thought all these things through.

That said, fairness is a central property of a rating system. The onus to provide good arguments is certainly on the person who wants to sacrifice this aspect.


How is it fair to inflate players ratings with undeserved wins and creating sandbaggers at the same time?


Wins by time-out are not undeserved wins. Not winning a game in a real-life tournament because the opponent stands up and leaves at move 200 is the thing that even you would recognize as unfair. It remains unfair in a correspondence game.

And “sandbagger” does not mean that a player has an inflated rank, it means that they have manipulated their games to achieve an inflated rank. You are ascribing malicious motivation to people who are doing nothing except seeing other people time out of their game instead of playing it. That does not even make sense except that it is a negative word for something you do not like.

PS: It is probably no accident that you ignored the context of my post in the hope to distract from my arguments by trolling with the word “sandbaggers” for the people who want to normally play their games.


This is not something that is open to discussion that it is unfair to escape games in this way.

The only thing that is open to discussion is whether there are some ranking system related reasons for this rule. In my previous post I explained why I do not buy that.


First of all sandbagger have a deflated rank, not an inflated one.
Secondly I encountered many players which got busy and stopped playing for a few weeks, timeouting in about 20 correspondence games. Their rank would drop by something like 10kyu. If their lives settles again they would continue at a much to low rank. How is this different from Sandbaggers, but their reasons for the to low rank.

If my opponent gets sick and is not able to finish the game… I would hate that win.

On OGS you win all games in which your opponent times out, that games just don’t disturb you rating.

Edit: Wins by timeout are undeserved. All one has to do for it is not to timeout first. If it’s fair or not is up to you, but it’s not deserved.

I don’t argue about escapers because I never encountered one, but all the other reasons to timeout in a months long game.


As far as I understand this thread, it’s topic is

Please tell me if I’m wrong with that assumption.


I would raise again the proposal to let the “still-standing” decide.
Something like a pop-up that asks: “You won by timeout. Do you want to annul the game?”.

This way we could:

  • avoid undeserved wins (say: annul those games where the timeouter was ahead in game, if the still-standing is honest) that could wrongly inflate the rank.
  • punish escapers, because their escapes would count as losses.
  • take care of people which stop playing suddenly because of real life matters, because their game would have a rightful outcome (again, if the still-standing is honest)

I assume that a honest player would decide this way:

  • I was winning: I take my win
  • I was losing: I annul the game
  • the game was still undecided: I annul the game

I opened a topic about that some times ago… and the result was that… well, something like it really don’t matter, because after few games the rating adjust itself anyway, so who cares? :smiley:

But still I’m really really curious about those sneaky houdinis able to collect losing-open-games and timeout all of them at once, while still playing and harvesting wins… to me is really really hard to figure out.


The rating does not adjust itself “after a few games” if it happens every few games.

And I do not understand your sarcastic remark about “sneaky houdinis”. What is a “losing-open-game”? And why do you think that it takes a “sneaking houdini”? It is enough not to resign to automatically collect a lot of lost games.


I don’t think so.

We said that only a row of correspondence timeouts is excluded from rating system. Is it right? You said “in bulk”. Is it the same? Is this the matter of your first post?

Well, some games timeout after 24h, some after 3 days, some after 7 days, some after even more days… and you can’t shorten that time or have any control about it: it’s stated from the beginning and you can only wait that it expires.

So how could someone manage a bunch of “ongoing games that he’s losing” (forgive me: I don’t know how to call them otherwise) in order to timeout them all-in-a-row? He just can’t, can he?

A wrongdoer who likes to win and tries to cheat not-to lose, simply isn’t able to manage his games in order to selectively harvest wins and, at the same time, timeout losses in bulk.
I only play correspondence. My correspondence games may last from one week to many months. How could I keep alive games that I’m winning while timeouting those that I’m losing? How could I procrastinate a win, waiting that my losses do timeout?
I really can’t figure this out. Please explain this to me.
It would be even better to show some example.

Anyway, forget about my inappropriate sarcasm. You should see that I’m not defending the rule as is but I’m proposing (again, now and in the past) something that I think you should like: give to you the power to decide if those games that you won by timeout were legit or not. Wouldn’t that be good to you? Would it be enough?


I am very against any change to the current way timeouts are dealt with.

I believe that fundamentally this ‘issue’ boils down to people feeling that they have been cheated out of a legitimate win by, it seems, nefarious characters actively managing their losing games by timeout (and as @lysnew has pointed, out this would be jolly difficult).

As has been asked in this thread and on other threads - where are these people? I don’t believe they exist in sufficient numbers (if at all) to warrant any changes.

What I would say is, if you feel you have been cheated then, move on. Concentrate on your other games, life is too short.

I say this a someone who has previously ‘lost’ games (not many) to timeouts, and as someone who has timedout and, indeed, timed out on a few games where my opponent was clearly ahead.


Yes, it would solve my problems to decide about victory after timeout.

About the “managing” thing. Suppose that a player enthusiastically starts 30 games. They will play all of them equally. But some of them run according to their expectations and in some of them a joseki goes wrong, an invasion dies. Now, when they are nearing endgame and they have a game where they seem to be 15 points ahead they just play a calm endgame move and are happy. But when they have a game where they are clearly behind they wonder if they should start a desperate invasion, and if so where? They are not sure and decide to do it tomorrow, and instead play 10 moves in the other game. Eventually, the 15 won games find their end, but 8 of the 15 lost games still sit there and get closer to time-out. They decide to simply let them time-out and find the next day that they are labelled “Lost by time-out”, so no need to do anything about it.

Very many players have bunches of red and green in their correspondence history. Usually, they have not timed out, but mass-resigned the “8 games” mentioned above. It’s quite intuitive to let them time-out instead.


My experience is that a game “already won” takes weeks of small endgame moves to end. Timeout usually occours after 3 to 7 days. So it’s more likely to happen that “lost” games timeout quicker than “won” games reach the end.
But my experience is also that other players have very different pace, so one plays five moves a day and another one uses all of his time and adds vacation!
In a tournament I start 9 games at a time, but their end may be quite far from each other, Usually one or two games in a bunch are very slow.

So I can imagine a player that simply ignores “lost” games and leaves them to timeout, but I believe that they will do it randomly between other games.
Actually, if a lot of games (say 15, 20 or more) start all together, it’s more likely to happen than a certain amount of “lost” games could timeout before any of the “won” games is completed. So they would be a row.

I should try that for scientific purposes! :nerd_face:
I fear that I could be banned for that.
Maybe I could use a different account… :innocent: