Flaw in time control/waiting period settings for live tournament (long)

As the subject says:

I suffered at least three times from a (dirty) hack in the time control settings of live tournaments when playing as White and waiting for my opponent. It happened in 5min + 3x30sec and 10min + 3x30sec games, but I assume this problem also applies to other (longer) time settings.

If Black doesn’t make his first move and lets nearly expire his whole time bank, lets say he doesn’t move in the waiting period (which is 1:30 in a 10min + 3x 30sec byo-yomi tournament) and also doesn’t move up to a remaining 1 second of his original 10 minutes, and then makes his first move, his time bank will be reset to the original amount of 10 minutes. Knowing this, a player with the black pieces can easily use these 11min and 30 sec for whatever he wants to do, then go back to the computer and still enjoy his whole time bank in a tournament game.

During these 11 min and 30 sec the player with the white pieces has to sit at the computer, tablet or smartphone and watch the screen because he doesn’t have a waiting period in case Black suddenly moves in between. And his time bank won’t be reset to 10 minutes.

Against me players with the black pieces let their time bank run out literally to the last moment, made their first move seconds before forfeiting, didn’t apologize or give understandable explanations. After I asked, one black player mentioned that he nearly starved and used the time to prepare some food. While I was waiting like an idiot to play a tournament game, and couldn’t even go to the bathroom. Because it would have been to my disadvantage if he makes his first move in between. [Edit] To clarify it: I’m not talking about someone being late for a minute or three. Or about players who even don’t show up anymore and lose on time. I talk about those with the black pieces who obviously exhaust this system on purpose.

I already mentioned the problem in the supporters chat but somehow no one there saw the point (maybe my english is too bad). Perhaps I’m old fashioned, but for me this delay behavior is irritating, annoying and disrespectful. Not only the opponent of the delayer suffers, but also do all other participants of a tournament. Because they all have to wait until a round is completed. I can’t talk for others but if this behavior happens only once again against me I won’t complain anymore but also play no more live tournaments on this server until the rule is changed. I simply don’t want to spend my spare time this way.

I see the good of a waiting period. But it should be sensible, fair and to both players’ advantage or disadvantage. Chess, Backgammon and Poker servers all have different kinds of grace periods implemented. But not in such an odd execution as I find it here.

For example a good rule would be to give both players a waiting time of maximal 20-25% of their whole time bank. In case of a 10 min + 3x 30sec byo-yomi tournament the waiting period would be around 2.5-3 minutes each. In case a player makes his first move within this 3 minutes his time bank will be reset to 10 minutes. In case he doesn’t he simply loses on time.



PS. Ironically, only after I badly »hacked« this tournament time control settings in a game against a delayer this night (when I was really pissed) a moderator became aware of the problem. I was using 29 seconds of my 30sec for each move all the time making nonsense moves, and he finally finished the game in presence of 6-8 impatiently waiting tournament participants/spectators. We later chatted about the waiting period flaw and he finally saw the point. I’m looking forward now what changes will be made.

PPS. Is there a way to do cross posts here? I’m not sure whether this topic belongs to this forum or to the developers.

Hello, Acepoint.

I’m just a player here, not anyone important, but we talked about this in a chat window and you referred me to this post. I thought it would be good to read it and respond.

As I understand it, the “blue timer” gives players a little bit of time to find and join the game before their game time is running down. If someone can use the 90 seconds of their blue timer and then their main timer and get all of their main time back, that does sound like a bug to me.

Are you sure that’s what happens, though? I don’t play many live tournaments, but when I played one recently, I was late in learning that the game had started already and I had already lost some of my main time. The behavior that I would expect (and believe is what happened to me) is that, if a player hasn’t played their move within the extra blue timer, it would start using their main time and that time stays used.

It sounds like you are suggesting that white also get a short blue timer grace period before the first move in case they haven’t found the game as quickly as black has. That sounds reasonable to me.

Spending 29 seconds of your byo-yomi and then playing a meaningless move is by no means “hacking” and it is a completely different issue. While it is within the rules of go, you might receive penalties in other sports for unsportsmanlike behavior or perhaps delay of game. 30 second byo-yomi is a standard time setting you will find just about anywhere you can play go on a clock, including the faster tournaments among pros (some tournaments use longer periods and pros usually do use the full time every period).

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»Are you sure that’s what happens, though?«


»but when I played one recently, I was late in learning that the game had started already and I had already lost some of my main time«

Have you been Black or White?

I was black in the game I’m thinking of. It was a blitz 13x13.

Anyway, I’m with you that if the behavior is that main time gets reset, that sounds like a bug.

I’m only aware of B having an extra 5 mins outside of actual game time to play his first move. After which, the timer would be ‘reset’ to the actual time of the game. Maybe you confused this for that?

»I’m only aware of B having an extra 5 mins outside of actual game time to play his first move«

Perhaps you remember tournaments with different (longer) time controls?

I invite you to play the »Live 19x19 Swiss Tournament« at 10:30 pm CEST and check it out for yourself. The time limit is 10 minutes + 3x30 sec. byo-yomi. Black gets an additional waiting time of 1min30sec (iirc). White gets nothing. If you get a game with the black pieces, don’t open the board window but check the running time of your game in your refreshed profile window under »active games«. One minute before forfeiting (10min30sec after the draw of the round was made and the boards have been created) open your board window, make a move and take a look at your time. It will be 10 minutes again.

This was my experience, unfortunately always sitting at the white side.

[Edit] In the tournament sheet you can see whether you are Black or White. First player is always Black. Here is an example: https://online-go.com/tournament/17064.

Hi acepoint. Although I haven’t experienced such nasty ‘delayer’ behavior, this doesn’t sound like an intended design of the system. May be this ‘bug’ does not appear on longer 5 min Blue Timer situations and the developers were not aware of it?

@Tokumoto: I agree. This is probably not intended. But only the developers or admins of the system can check the code.

And still, I would like to see Black and White equally treated. Even if this ‘bug’ doesn’t happen in longer games, afaik only Black gets the advantage of a waiting period, never White. When Black makes his first move - no matter whether this is within the waiting period or after - White’s clock is ticking and won’t be set back.

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Any chance that one of the developers will at least take a stand on this issue?