Escaping by Timeout


@lysnew I would propose a different strategy :wink:

You would probably need more games to be effective, but it is more reliable. And no need to start all games at the same time.

You play your games as normal. (It could be advantageous to play all games short of time)
If a game is lost you don’t pass or resign, but keep playing moves.
If you have collected enough lost games, you stop to play moves in all those games. If you want to be fancy you timeout first the game against your strongest opponent since that will have the lowest impact on your rating.

If you need an alibi you can play the clocks. Over a week or so you increase the remaining time for your good game to over 27 hours and 42 minutes. All bad games remain below this threshold. After everything is set up you log out of OGS and wait 27h and 42m.
If a mod later asks about your timeouts you can tell them you live in an area in which semi-regular blackouts.

Have fun playing the clock, and remember a strong player knows when it’s the right time to play a move :wink:

PS: If you plan to play in tournaments: you will get disqualified in the first round.

PPS: Since a bunch of games suddenly ended by bad circumstances, you can now begin as many games again.


are you serious? a go player, who usually have to plan ahead at least 4-5 moves, can’t figure this out?

every move in correspondence usually adds from 12-24 hours to the clock. If you have a game that times out in a week, and another that times out in 24 hrs, you just keep playing that game, one move each day, for 7 days.

Now there you go.


@flovo: you have a sneacky houdini’s mind, you know? :wink:
Also the threshold looks very sneaky. Why exactely 27 hours and 42 minutes? Is there some joke that I don’t get?

@andysif: I am not so good at go either. :slight_smile:
Your example is about two games. The first one would be ranked anyway. So that would cheat just one result. To have many in a row looks much more complicated than that.

Anyway, thinking about it and with the precious suggestions from you and Flovo we are now on the way to describe more precisely a possible modus operandi of such wrongdoers.
Or maybe a behavioral profile?

Flovo: we’ll need you skills on statistics. Be prepared! :wink:


Thank you :grin:

If it is something I already have a script for I can do it. If it’s something new it has to wait until I’ve more free time.


For every rank you gain with wins & timeouts, you’ll get more and more losses, as you play stronger opponents. Meaning you have to get more and more timeouts to keep this whole System up. Crashing is inevitable.

So i think the timeout cheaters are not a real Problem. Focus on improving, your rank will follow soon enough.


“Focus on improving, your rank will follow soon enough.”

This extremely patronising advice that ascribes some negative characteristics to me without any base does not change that people who resign their lost games but see a significant portion of their won games timed out will have an artificially lower rank. You seem to totally ignore that effect on the person who does not time out in favor of a wrong argument about the effect on the person who does (who you label a cheater, not me, BTW).

That frequent timeout of lost games cannot inflate someone’s rank indefinitely does not mean that it cannot easily inflate it by several stones.

If random games would be cancelled and people would address this here, would you also tell them to shut up and focus on improving? Or would you understand that a ranking system should behave as expected and count wins as wins?

I like to play fast correspondence games because I hate it if games take months. I name them “Fast correspondence games” in the challenge so that people know that these are fast correspondence games. Counting most time-outs as cancelled games means that these time settings actually mean nothing and can be ignored. You are effectively telling me that I cannot play at my preferred time settings. This is no different from not counting blitz games that time out and then telling people that they can choose live time settings if they do not want games annulled by time-out.


For clarification:
I do not label anyone a cheater.
I do not tell people to shut up.
I also don’t tell you how you have to play your games.
I just explained why I think timeout cheating wouldn’t do anything positive to anyone who tries.
Sorry if the part about improving comes off wrong, I didn’t want to offend anyone with it.


I did that too and it doesn’t work, not because of escapers but because people don’t really pay attention to time settings.
I tried to name them “BEWARE, FAST time settings “ and also reminded that in chat. No way.
I fear the only way to have fast correspondence is to friendship fast players


I can attest that, whenever I’m clearly ahead in a game against a 2-4 stones stronger player (say, with an obvious territory lead, or with a big group captured), it is very often the case that I will “win” that game by timeout. This never bothered me much, because I thought this would (obviously) count as a win for me.

It does seem that some people seem to “curate” their rank based on such selective “timing out of lost games”. Otherwise, it wouldn’t make sense that I would be able to “easily” beat players 2-4 stones stronger than me, while other people of the same rank would normally win against me, as expected.

I do agree this is frustrating, in the sense that a fair victory against somebody 2-4 stones stronger would give you a substantial rank boost. Since I don’t do this (time out in games I’m losing against weaker players), I only get the downside, and not the upside. Anecdotally, it seems some people do try to game the ranking system in this way.

If this is relevant, I only play correspondence games in OGS.


Have you ever looked at the profile of the person who timed out, to discover whether or not it was part of a consecutive series of timeouts? If it wasn’t part of a series, then you got credit for the win. If it was the first of a series, you also got credit for the win.


But so far it is not turning out that way.

I too was passionate that this was a problem, based on having seen it once, but when challenged to show that it was an ongoing problem, I could not.

The best thing for those feeling that it definitely is a problem is to provide direct examples.


It seems that several people have attested to this happening, even if they have not reported specific incidents in the past. Clearly, those that are speaking out do feel quite strongly about this issue. This remark seems to cast doubts on those accounts and belittle the feelings of those of that seem to care about improving the community and experience on this site.

Even though the discussion has not always been the most civil, it is disappointing to see such a comment come from a member of the OGS team.

I mentioned previously that I would report future cases. However, I will also go back and report any earlier suspected cases that I can find (this will take some time consuming combing through old game records, so please bear with me) since the general phenomenon seems to be not believed by the staff.


@Pimenta, thank you for sharing your account. Please be aware that timeouts only annul the result if they are the second or later in a sequence of multiple correspondence game timeouts. If you have some specific examples that you can readily locate, please do report them to the moderator team.


I think the nuances of this issue is made more confusing by an open bug where games annulled by mass timeout are not properly indicated on the website as actually annulled:

Perhaps if this was made more clear, more users would be aware when timeout annulments can occur.


I totally agree we should be able to see where this rule has been applied.

I was one of those, as I have said.

However, when challenged in a similar way, I found I could come up with only one case that actually appeared to be real. I had got fired up by the idea that it was happening, but could not prove it.

My short comment was simply to re-emphasise that there is all this talk by people similarly fired up, but a similar lack of actual evidence.

It was not intended as uncivil, though I acknowledge there’s always the high risk of a short comment coming across that way. I’ve elaborated it to hopefully make the point more constructively.

I think that your most recent reply is by far the most helpful at this point.


I find it very hard to not feel insulted by this question. Do you seriously suggest that I started this thread without investigating the issue first? Could you please take the possibility into account that people who raise this issue are not total idiots who are inventing things?


Since there is the clear message that I am regarded as a liar or as an idiot if I do not provide names, I will provide you with names. I want to repeat that it is NOT my intention to make this about particular users because it is the faulty rule that is the problem. But clearly, without the names there is no hope of even getting an acknowledgement that this happens. Just click a bit through these users’ history.


I too find myself fired up by this issue but for me it’s not the possibility of cheating that bothers me most.

I regard timing-out of correspondence games to be impolite. I regard repeatedly mass-timing-out of correspondence games to be the height of rudeness, disrespectful of the game and utterly inconsiderate of the multiple opponents who may be taking the game seriously.

That said; the current system of automatically annulling consecutive time-out games,

protects the rank of inconsiderate players from distortion at the expense of players who are trying to treat the game and the site seriously.


and it’s a big ‘IF’; the current ranking system requires this rule to function properly then the current ranking system is seriously flawed. Any ranking system that has to disregard a significant portion of results is flawed and discredits the site as a whole.

However; I am not convinced that the current ranking system actually requires this unpopular rule to function. I have found the current ranking system to be very dynamic and robust. If the rule was scrapped then there would be some inflation of the remaining rank pool but I believe that would plateau rather than spiralling out of control. The constant influx of accounts at 13k provides an anchor against this.

The only problem with scrapping the rule that I can see is the sandbagging effect on escapers. Here too the current system can quickly adjust if they resume normal play. However; I would add the extra suggestion of marking such accounts as ‘Provisional’ until their rank stabilises.


This year you got no rating points for the following 5 games

game_id ended
15128318 2018-12-03T18:26:09.087806Z
15173952 2018-11-27T12:13:23.506753Z
10860428 2018-01-11T10:40:48.226226Z
10860426 2018-01-10T09:17:04.448912Z
10264780 2018-01-02T08:11:10.781123Z


How do you come up with this users?

This one has only 1 correspondence game in her rating history
The other has 10 wins and 5 losses in their correspondence rating history

Both seem not to be the heavy correspondence players.