Pausing System is easily abused

I paused a game with 2x20 left, typed “brb” and went away for 20 seconds.

The opponent had immediately unpaused as returned to 1 period left.

I have been playing on OGS for a long time, and less than 50% of pauses are respected. The system allows for bad faith actions too easily. My overall impression is that too many people abuse the unpause button.

Most of my pauses are due to:

  1. Bathroom break
  2. Cooking
  3. Answering door/phone

What I propose is a new pause feature that gives one side 5 x 2 minutes that cannot be unpaused. This would solve 99% of my issues, and I am sure many others.

There should also be a long pause feature too that is the current pause system.

Many people would abuse the system you propose to gain extra thinking time. Indeed, some of them would probably be the very same people who have unpaused your pauses.


Hi alllgo, as I already told you our policy with pauses is similar to the one about undoes. You are free to pause (up to 5 times) and your opponent is free to resume.
I understand your frustration but your opponents aren’t forced to trust your “be right back” or might have other plans after the game. You accepted the time settings.


Pauses should generally be agreed to by both players. Allowing one player to unilaterally force a pause gives people a way to abuse the pause for more time.

It is within the rights of the other player to refuse a pause. Perhaps they are under outside pressure to finish the game within a certain timeframe, so accepting a pause may increase their risk of timing out later in the game.

The proper procedure for initiating a pause is to first discuss the conditions of the pause with the opponent. Simply pausing and then typing “brb” gives no courtesy to the opponent and it is perfectly fine for them to unpause the game immediately. What the other player did is not a case of abusing the pause feature.

However, if both players do agree to some specific conditions of a pause, but then one takes advantage of those by specifically breaking some agreed upon convention, such as unpausing earlier than agreed to time out their opponent, then that would be an issue that could be addressed.


Although I agree with @_Sofiam 's “You accepted the time settings”, there might be a solution for this: allow a player one (and no more) pause in a live game, which can not be undone while granting the other player the possibility to annul the game because of this pause without consequence to their rating.


I see in it the possibility of some players abusing it when they are losing, escaping while leaving games paused. A bit like it happens on KGS.


The problem with every rule is, that however well thought of, is that it can be abused in some way.


By the way, is there a reason why pausing is allowed without the opponent’s permission? Intuitively, it seems like a system similar to the undo would make more sense.

I don’t know, but one possibility is that one player might lose by timeout while waiting for the other player (who might have wanted to accept) to accept.
FTR I also don’t really like it the way it is now, mostly because it is often abused.


Yes, most rules and systems can be abused. It then become a question of trade-offs, as they say in economics (see Thomas Sowell). I have seen few complaints about pauses, but does anyone doubt that a new type of pause as described would invite massive abuse?

But it isn’t only about the potential for abuse. As Sofiam has pointed out above, the opponent of the pauser also has needs and rights that should be respected. The current system, in which honorable players come to an agreement, respects the needs of both sides.


I’m wondering… Did your opponent understand the meaning of “brb”? Some players who are not native speakers, even if they speak English, may be confused with that acronym. You may want to type a more explicit sentence like “I’ll be back in 20 seconds”, or if you need more time, “Sorry, if you don’t mind I need to pause the game, I’ll be back in 2-3 minutes”.


Your opponent may have thought you were abusing the pausing system by pausing without his/her agreement first!


Since the opponent has the option to immediately unpause, whether or not they choose to exercise that option is how the opponent can indicate their permission.

For example, if I were playing a live game and my opponent unexpectedly paused (without any chat to explain why), I would ask in chat about why and what are the conditions of the pause. If we came to some agreement about those conditions, I would leave the game paused, but if not, I would probably choose to unpause to reject the pause proposal.

For myself, an opponent simply pausing and typing “brb” would not be sufficient, unless they explained a bit more with a follow-up chat.

I guess that since pauses are more time sensitive, allowing a player to pause first and then confirm permission to do so helps to prevent the delay of confirming permission from impacting the time too much.


In real life go, I’m going to the bathroom and not going to ask for permission from an opponent, I’m going to tell them “I’m going to the bathroom” and no one is going to prevent me from doing that, or force me to have a conversation before I make my decision.

In pro games…a player can take a break whenever they want within limits, again no permissions required.

If someone abuses the pause system, report them, problem solved.

The system as it is results in a less than optimal experience and puts the pauser in some role of needing to defend themselves which is absurd.

I’m not proposing unlimited pauses. 3 pauses at 2 minutes each allows someone to goto the bathroom and no explanation should ever be required. Quite difficult to take advantage of that when the pause duration is known.

Is it allowed to take a break during the last byo-yomi in the last 10 seconds in real Pro tournament?


If it happens during a tournament and you want to pause the clock (which is not always allowed) you are expected to ask your opponent and possibly the referee as well.


Now I wonder whether anyone has ever peed their pants during byo-yomi …


Tournament is different from casual go.

I’m talking about low stakes games, playing go for enjoyment.

You can play games with no time limits also on OGS. If you agree a time setting you should be able to respect it and accept that your opponent might not want to pause the game


I thought that in pro games, if they got up for a break, their clock would simply continue to run?