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when I try to join a tournament, I am told that I cannot because my time out percent has to be below a certain figure. What is a time-out percentage and how do I change it?
Your timeout percentage is the amount of games you have lost on time (Online Chess, not Live) expressed as a percentage of the number of games you have completed. This figured is calculated based off of games from the last 90 days only. There are two ways to lower this number:
1.) Play more games and don't time out in them.
2.) Wait 90 days.
Number 1.) may be difficult if you don't increase the number of games you play. Old games that you completed fall off and that can increase your timeout percentage. Often, the second option is the only really feasible method to reliably lower your timeout percentage.
You can find this number on your Online Chess profile (http://www.chess.com/echess/profile/Dal711). Near the bottom right corner, you will see a box with your stats. One lists ALL GAMES and indicates that you have played 376 Online Chess games and have timed out on 29% of the ones completed within the last 90 days.
Fortunately, it appears that most of your games were completed prior to the 90 days window (somewhere around early November). Option 1 may be a feasible method to lower your timeout percentage. It appears you have 36 games completed in the past 3 months, so each game completed could make a significant positive impact on your timeout percentage. Just make sure to complete games faster than the old ones fall off the 90 day window.
I am puzzled as I have only timed out recently on 2 games as my computer crashed and it took a couple of days to get it back up. Mind you, a few weeks ago I did not that i had lost a couple of games on time, but did not recall seeing them come up, and I do check my chess games daily.
Now, do I only play live games for a couple of months?
Not too appealing.....
You shouldn't have to just play live for a couple of months. Here, I'll look closer at your situation. (I encourage you or others to check the calculations I do for you, just in case I made a mistake somewhere)
Here are the games you have timed out in since 11/01/11:
This is 8 games. For 8 games to account for 29%, that is out of around 28 games. This means since your games completing after 11/07/11, which does include those 8. You only have 6 completed games in the 23 days after that, so only 6 games will fall off your 90 day record in the next ~23 days (may be a little less or more depending on specifics). To get to a 10% timeout ratio with only 8 timed out games, you have to have a total of 80 games. In 23 days, you will have 22 games plus whatever you complete between now and then.
In other words, if you want to get your timeout percentage down to 10% in the next 23 days, you need to complete at least 58 games without running out of time. This sounds like a lot, and for you it may be, but I've seen people be in a lot worse of a situation.
And in fact, the situation is even better than my earlier analysis shows. I took a closer look at those 6 games that will fall off; two of them are timeout losses. Which means that you only need to get up to 60 total games in the next 23 days - or 38 new games completed by then.
In fact, half of your timeouts will fall off in the next ~month while only 4 additional games will fall off in that time.
In other words, if you complete 22 games in the next month without losing on time, that should reduce your timeout percentage down to 10%.
Are the games I have to play, tournaments or live. If it is tournament, I cannot get into any at this time.
They have to be in the "Online" section of the site, not live. They don't have to be tournament games, but if you can find a tournament where the TD has relaxed the timeout requirement, then they would certainly help.
I believe they also have to be rated games, so be sure that if you make open seeks or accept any that the games are rated.
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