Greeter Games


As a courtesy to the community, I changed my preferences to serve as a "greeter" for new members.  This apparently results in a game against that player immediately being started.  For some new members, I think this well-intended arrangement may have the wrong effect.  If the greeter is relatively high rated, it may be intimidating, even though the games are "unrated."  In some cases, the new member may misunderstand the intent as if it were an unwanted "hitting on" such as an older gent like myself when the new member is younger and female; etc.  I have had many of these games either aborted or had to actually "offer a draw" after 1-2 moves in order to make things feel more pleasant and friendly for the new member.

I have also noticed that if the greeter is not actually logged onto the site at the time the new member joins, this confuses them and they type into the chat window of the "new game" messages like "are you there?  why aren't you responding?" and so on.

So I would suggest that instead of a new game being started, a message to the new member saying, this person is a volunteer who is willing to answer questions from new members -- you can send them your question by clicking here.  Try to pick a greeter who is actually online at the time this is sent. The greeting message should say, the greeter would be delighted to play a friendly, unrated game with you, if you would like: yes or no?


Just a thought to make the site more successful.  I have very much enjoyed being a member, personally.  Best, Mark


I agree with what you have said here. I have thought about being a greeter myself but have found that 3 day games really don't work for me. I typically play 14 day games to give me time to think and to ensure that I don't time out on my games. I think that we should be able to have a little more control over the length of greeter games. I also think that by having longer games for new members they may feel less intimidated by having to play a short game. I don't know, maybe this is just my personal preference.


I have found that being a greeter allows one to teach newbies the basics(or if they are good confirm that they will find some competition there). And it is a good way to always have games available. And yes, I am a greeter.


Thanks for posting this.  Since I began volunteering as a greeter, I've noticed a few of the same problems, especially the confusion that results from games with greeters who happen not to be online at the time.  Here, for reference, is the initial autoresponse from the server:

CHESScom: You have been matched to play with synapseandsyntax, a volunteer Greeter.

Your opponent might not be online right now! This kind of chess is called "turn-based" and is a little slower than regular chess, but your Greeter has been notified and will make their reply move soon! They can then answer any questions you might have about

After you make your move feel free to browse the site - you will automatically get an alert when your Greeter has moved!

Want a faster game? Try Live Chess!


It seems the staff really couldn't have made things more explicit, except possibly by hammering the first and last pieces of advice repeatedly in increasingly large fonts.  And yet, "r u there?  y rnt u movin?" is the most common question by far.  I think the most actual help I've been able to provide was to a new player who wanted a faster game.  I suggested live chess.  When he asked how he could do that, I counseled clicking the link that read "Try Live Chess!"

Another point I've noticed is the alarmingly high time out rate for greeter games.  Some players want to play blitz, so the games in those cases are resigned or (much more often) left to run out the clock.  Other games I find out about only after white times out on move one.  Presumably the new players are asked whether they'd like a greeter game and must signal that they would in order to get one, so it's not clear what's happening there.  I'd estimate that three-fourths of my greeter games time out on the new player's end before 10 moves.  I have no idea what the deal is.

A recommendation: I'm rated on this site in the mid 1700's, but I would estimate that, for most greeting games I've played, the default rating of 1200 was a little generous.  I would also expect that most people who are heavily enough invested in the game to be goodwill ambassadors for an internet correspondence site have above average ratings as well.  I don't bring this up to pat ourselves on the back, but to remind that it can be pretty demoralizing as a new user to start off with a stomping by someone with 500 points on you. 

One thing the staff might try in arranging greeter games would be to ask new users to indicate their level of previous experience when they register.  A few choices between "I know the rules of the game" to "My FIDE rating is above 2000" might help to arrange more enjoyable matches.

Arranging games only with greeters currently online sounds like a good idea too.


Yeah. I have been running into A LOT of timeouts too. I don't see why because everything seems to be pointed out pretty clearly. Also, a few times, I've been paired with someone that does not speak the same language as me. This can be a problem because I have no idea what they are saying and can't really help them. Maybe we can pair the new members up with greeters from the same country too?


Yea, I get into the issue about the people not knowing when I am not on.

I inferred to this a few months back, and the new message should have worked. But no one seems to read it... I played 802 greeting games, 521 actually counted aka over three moves, but less than a quarter were actually full games.


we try and do the best we can to match people who are online and from the same country. that said - yeah, a lot of people don't get it. but please keep on greeting - those who make it through have really appreciate the greeter program and it makes a big difference!!


I'm not suggesting not offering the greetings but possibly changing how people are first introduced to it: "here is a person who is willing to help you find your way around the system.  (S)he is also happy to play an unrated game to help you get started, if you like."  Be sure they are online, from the same country, and, as someone else mentioned, perhaps try to help match them based on prior experience to someone roughly near their level.  I'll keep doing it, despite the occasional "I don't want to play with you!" initial reaction.  Best, Mark


I think perhaps the current greeting message is too long. The more words used in a communication, the less likely someone is actually going to receive it. Since becoming a greeter, I have only had one greeter game go past move 2 without timing out, and that guy resigned in less than ten moves.

I think maybe your suggestion, MLM, of changing how this works, is worth trying.


I am a greeter, and I've had a good experience with it. If a player makes a mistake, I sometimes tell him about it, so he wouldn't get frustrated. I've played against 35 people now, and I've made two new friends. A lot of people time out though, but I'm sure that the greeter system is great for people who will spend a lot of time on in the future.


My first online chess game here against a greeter wasn't such a great experience. Once I started winning he took up nearly all of his 3 days for each move and when I was about to checkmate him he simply let his time run out.

It was a pretty annoying experience and I didn't play any online chess games for awhile after that. I have so far only played 3-4 games to this day, one of which I forgot about and I timed myself out on the 3 move.


I have instead come to enjoy live chess greatly and would like to suggest that maybe there should be a greeter for live chess as well because that system is much more confusing overall when you first join Wink.


The game I played against a greeter was timed out on the greeters part.


I'm a volenteer greater and the idea is a good one. I researched what the new player has done in Online Chess as well as Live Chess.I try to use this to form an opening lineto offer help and ideas or, encourage them to enjoy both worlds.

Some results are good and some just don't respond at all. I think some are just looking and don't intend to join in, some others get confused. It would be a blessing if everyone would stay. It's a great place to play chess and meet new people.

I will take all the advice I can get to help.   DavidRay1028


I used to be a volunteer, I stopped so I could focus on a tournament, but I will commence my greeting afterwards.  But my thoughts is that the greeter message is too long and boring-looking to grasp their attentions, therefore most people don't end up reading it.  I say they should condense it to the best of their abilities, and possibly make it a bright color, e.g. yellow, redgreen, etc.


Very good advice. I will think on it. Thanks!