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As much as I like the many services chess.com offers, there's one problem that I would love to see ironed out - so that I could pay my membership without a second thought. Because, in a certain perverse way, there is one feature that gives premium members a 'disadvantage' over non-premium members.
That problem is time-out sprees. It happens quite often that the non-premium members are too late in submitting their moves, and time out on a considerable number of games. So far, no problem. But if they return just in time to make a move on your game, it's quite likely they will continue that game. If they then win it, you're looking at a loss to a player who is rated far below his actual level. I've seen people loose 300+ points in time-out sprees. The problem for the premium member is of course that it goes into the books as a loss against a relatively weak player. This is quite annoying. In tournaments, it also distorts the ranking in groups if the time-out is only partial.
It becomes worse when in tournaments those people end up in brackets which are far too easy for them, therefore depriving the other people in the group of a chance to advance. I've seen this happen as well (new members also have this issue, if their proper rating is far above the standard 1200). The same applies to team matches, where opponents which are far too strong are selected, as the software matches players solely on current rating.
As premium members are the ones playing tournaments most of the time, they tend to be facing these issues disproportionally, especially if they are not overly highly rated themselves.
So my request would be that chess.com looks into this problem. Sadly, simply adjusting time-out settings or # of games played required in your own tournaments doesn't cut it, as the site lacks an easy way to get self-organized tourney's filled in a reasonable timeperiod without spending hours and hours PMing prospective players. And it wouldn't help with team matches anyway.
Personally, I think it would be worthwhile to consider the following course of action:
- make people who time-out on more than two games in a single tournament forfeit all the games in that tournament.- prohibit people who timed out more than X games in the last year (90 days is way too short) to participate in tournaments or team matches unless they again reach 90% of their pre-time-out-spree rating.
A time-out spree is simply bad form. Every member, even the non-paying ones, are entitled to vacation. Use that, and if you are a serious player who may need 'insurance' due to unforeseen circumstances, pay up for premium membership. But the constant annoyance of seeing people drop from 2000 to 1600 - but not time out on your game - and then beating the crap out of you has to stop. It's bad form, plain and simple.
Well, I've been saying the same type of thing for a long time.
I'm not sure that adjusting ratings for time losses is a good thing, you're not punishing the player, you are punishing his future opponents.
Rating is the closest thing we have to measure the strength of a player. At the moment, in many cases it measures his behaviour, not his strength. Making a 2200 1400 because he timed out 100 games in one day does not suddenly make him a weaker player, just an unreliable one.
we do cap the rating points lost for timeouts. i believe the most they lose is 200 points.
Is this new, it never used to be like that, here's an example:
Thanks, that's something. But 200 points is still considerable (a 1700 or 1900 opponent is a big difference). Also, I assume that's 200 points for each time-out spree. A lot of people who have one, in fact have several of them sometimes in short order. I still think my proposed solutions (forfeiture of tournament games and inadmissibility to tournaments till the rating is recovered) are more effective.
How about putting in a floor rating of 300 points lower than your highest achieved rating, therefore not allowing your actual rating drop below this? This is how the USCF deals with sandbaggers...
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