Should Chess.com Change How Vacation Works?

BestKidInSchool
I like the idea of a main clock and reducing vacation time ... little to no people take a 6-week vacation without any access to internet, and premium members appear to pay to bore their opponents through vacation.
RonaldJosephCote

   Ya know football has 3 time outs period, no exceptions. I'm not trying to de-rail the thread, I'm just saying......a "resonable" amount of vacation must be given. Now the question becomes, "how much"?.....and then you live with it....no exceptions.

RonaldJosephCote

  Sorry....but I like to keep a tidy forums. wink.png                                                                                               

NelsonMoore
Martin0 wrote:

To me the problem is that there are no middle ground between allowing maximum vacation time and not allowing any vacation time. That is why I think it should be integrated into the time control. Give those that needs a lot of vacation time the option to do so, while also giving those that needs less the option for that too.

Trying to find a middle ground by changing the cap will not solve the problem. A 30 day break is more substantial in 1 day/move games than in 14 days/move games.

Even legitimate vacations can slow down tournaments a lot.

It will be harder to track vacation for each game, but I think it is worth it. The UI mainly needs to tell the player the vacation time they have available which are the lowest.

 

That is exactly how I have suggested and look at the rules regarding time control in the first post here: https://www.chess.com/forum/view/fun-with-chess/forum-hand-and-brain

That has been done in the exact way it is because of the nature of posting on forums, but in reality it fits in with my idea of a delay and after that your clock reduces.

Vacation time here is built into the time control for the game.

 

NelsonMoore
ChessinBlackandWhite wrote:

That is in interesting idea, vacation being allowed after move 10 and before move 50. Preventing stalling in the opening and limiting games where people stall in lost endgames 

 

No it's nonsense. I can't log in on 8th 9th and 10th June because it's Shabbat followed by 2 days of Shavuot. You suggest all games in which I'm before move 10 or after move 50 I should lose on time, either because my opponent hasn't made enough moves yet or because we won't resign or agree a draw on a game that is dragging out? (Or simply the game is just still playing).

It's for these occasions we need to sometimes be allowed to use more than 3 days a move. Sometimes, not always, and 3 days per move is far too long for an average / norm anyway.

 

Dave

It seems to me there are two ways of thinking about this. 

One group of people thinks no one should ever time out on a daily game, and they are coming at the idea from this angle, thinking 'how do we make sure I never have to time out no matter what happens'

The other group is thinking: people who don't play a move should time out, and are thinking from this angle: 'how do we make sure that someone who is not playing will actually time out in a reasonable amount of time' 

So one group says 'lets limit it this way' and the other comes back with 'but what if I have knee surgery and also my internet goes out and I can't go to the library because my knee is injured and...'

There is always going to be a situation where you need more than X amount of time to play your move, no matter what value you set for X. Just like in a Live game where someone might knock on the door at a bad time, or your kid might start crying and cause you to lose: these things happen. 

In my opinion, we need to let more people time out in daily chess. The use of vacation is a spiral that causes more use of vacation in a never ending cycle. Consider this scenario: 

Every tournament I've ever been in eventually comes to a standstill because of vacation. I'll finish my games, a few weeks will pass, I forget about the tournament for a while, eventually I go back to look at it. I scroll through the groups and find that 90% of the games are finished except for a few people, maybe 1 person in every couple groups, who still have all their games to play. More weeks pass. I forget about the tournament. I start more games, maybe join another tournament. In the mean time some of the new games I've started are also taking very long because my opponent isn't moving. I don't have any moves to play so I start a new game or two, because I want to play some chess. The games stack up. Then, weeks later the next round of that tournament I forgot about finally starts, and I have 10 new games to deal with. "Sheesh, I can't keep up with this," I think, "I better use some vacation..."-- and now I'm part of the problem. People waiting on MY games are going to get bored and start new games... until they have too many to deal with, and THEY need to use vacation, and on and on. 

I don't know what the exact fix should be to the vacation issue, but I am of the opinion that if we try to prevent everyone from timing out in every scenario, we're not going to fix anything. 

NelsonMoore

The problem in daily chess is that as the setting is simply a maximum time for a move, we have to set that arbitrarily high.

We don't want timeouts, we want progress.

Ideally players would make 2 moves per day on average, but will occasionally need more time.

So vacation time is useful but it has to apply only to the game in question. 90 days would be far too long. And most importantly, you would be able to set it to one agreed by both the players or the tournament organiser.

Essentially it's clock time + delay. Players should understand the concept of delay. It's different to increment because your clock can't go up, but it's a period of time before your clock goes down.

I would rather my opponent disappears for 5 days once during the game, than take a full 2 days and 23 hours for every move in a 3-day-per-move game.

And, by the way, there are many players who deliberately stall games when they are losing. Not with vacation but by simply not playing until the last moment. I know that because I will often have 2 ongoing games against an opponent in a team match, be losing one and winning one, and the opponent plays moves only in the one they are winning.

 

ChessinBlackandWhite
NelsonMoore wrote:

The problem in daily chess is that as the setting is simply a maximum time for a move, we have to set that arbitrarily high.

We don't want timeouts, we want progress.

Ideally players would make 2 moves per day on average, but will occasionally need more time.

So vacation time is useful but it has to apply only to the game in question. 90 days would be far too long. And most importantly, you would be able to set it to one agreed by both the players or the tournament organiser.

Essentially it's clock time + delay. Players should understand the concept of delay. It's different to increment because your clock can't go up, but it's a period of time before your clock goes down.

I would rather my opponent disappears for 5 days once during the game, than take a full 2 days and 23 hours for every move in a 3-day-per-move game.

And, by the way, there are many players who deliberately stall games when they are losing. Not with vacation but by simply not playing until the last moment. I know that because I will often have 2 ongoing games against an opponent in a team match, be losing one and winning one, and the opponent plays moves only in the one they are winning.

 

But isnt the simple solution to your problem just not to play 3 days per move? If you dont want people taking their time for moves there is the option of playing 1 day per move games, or joining tournaments where the average move time has to be 12 hrs or less to join. When I play 3 days per move I very much like having several days per move, When I want more moves I pick a faster time. 

Much of what you are saying is true, but I do not think it has much to do with vacation time. (Although perhaps I am misreading your suggestion)

In reference to playing at two different speeds, I do that often because if I am winning I can usually find a move to play confidently in just a few minutes, but in a tough or losing position where I am trying to find tricks I may have to check the game several times before deciding on what move to play. But I could see how some people are simply stalling.

I guess my finl point would be that I do not think there is much chance at all for a complete overhaul of the timing system which is why the topic is specific to vacation time. Do you think there is a change within the current system that would address the issues you bring up?

MGleason

I think there are three kinds of people playing daily chess:

1. Those playing casual games at a slowish (i.e. non-blitz) pace in a format that fits their schedule and doesn't require them to sit down for an hour to play a long game.

2. Serious correspondence players who want to dig deeply into every position, make full use of books and databases, and play at as high a level as humanly possible (i.e. without engine assistance).

3. People who play a large number of simultaneous games, putting relatively minimal effort into any one move.  Many of these people are playing lots of tournament and/or team match games, and are thus hunting trophies for themselves or supporting their team.

I believe these three groups will have somewhat difference views of what the time control and vacation time should be trying to achieve.

1. The first group will be somewhat tolerant of people who need to be away for a few days, but will generally want to keep the game moving along.  These people might be disappointed by a cheap timeout win in an interesting position, but also might be annoyed by someone moving very slowly, especially in a lost position.

2. The second group will be quite patient with people taking their time, as they often take quite a bit of time too, and so long as someone doesn't abandon a game or try to let it sit indefinitely in a lost position, they're expecting daily games to often run for multiple months.  These people will often be disappointed by a cheap timeout win in an interesting position.

3. The third group usually want to keep their games moving along quickly, and, since they're not as invested in any one game, they won't usually care about a cheap timeout win in an interesting position; they also don't greatly care about a cheap timeout loss except in how it affects tournaments, team matches, and rating points.

3.a. There are a small subset of the third group that play a huge number of simultaneous games (in a few cases, over a thousand).  These people are overwhelmed with their many games and tend to only move in the games that are closest to timing out.  This results in moving slowly and often in occasional random timeout losses.  Keeping the game moving is not a high priority - in fact, if the opponents move slowly, it gives them more time for their other games.

 

Of course, not everyone fits precisely into exactly one of those categories, but my impression is that those are the basic categories, and that that's where much of the difference in opinions comes from.

Basically, we have differences on the following:

1. How disappointing is it if an interesting game is cut short by a timeout (win or lose)?

2. How important is it to keep games moving along as quickly as possible, or do you expect your opponent to take their time for deep analysis?

The way you answer those questions affects your view of how vacation time should work.

SmyslovFan

I think @MGleason is close to the truth. The vast majority here play cc (Daily chess) as if it were just a slow version of a timed game. Few do any real research into positions and just play the best move they can find in a few minutes. My guess is those are the people who complain the most about vacation abuse.

 

Originally, correspondence chess was a way to play without having to worry about time controls. Of course competitive cc requires time controls, but they should be designed so that the fewest games possible end in time forfeit.

 

That attitude towards cc is historically the closest to the original spirit of the genre. It is my own attitude, but this site isn’t necessarily beholden to tradition and the spirit of a style of play that predates the internet.

 

I personally do not see vacation “abuse” as a major problem. But I know the squeaky wheel gets the oil. 

I hope the site remembers the original point of cc, and doesn’t try to speed it up in a misguided “need to let more people time out in daily chess”.

NelsonMoore

I don't play 2 days per move because I play almost all my games in club matches that are parts of leagues and they are always set up as 3 days per move.

Even with that time control, players time out all the time. Many of those are players who decide to just leave chess.com, either closing their account or just logging out then never logging back in again, or doing so for long periods.

Some of them probably don't even know vacation mode exists. Most are not premium members and so it doesn't give them their vacation time automatically.

When you are an admin of a club and it's an important and possibly tight team match, it is totally upsetting when your players time out. 

Of course if they leave the site for 2 weeks they deserve to, because that's the point of having a time control. But if they have been playing all their moves within a few hours, then for whatever reason disappear off for 3 days and a few hours and miss the time once, that's fatal.

Average times are a lot fairer, but I'd rather not see increments. Of course there are all sorts of magic clock controls - the old classic being a time to play 40 moves then after that more time is added to the clock. Another allows increments but with a cap, so your clock can never go above that time.

However I'd now go for the simple approach of a delay, which is very much what the current time control is, but when you go over that time it simply takes time off your "vacation" clock. 

So vacation still exists but:

  • Is a setting per game, and applies to that game alone
  • Triggers automatically. Same for everybody
  • Allows different time controls catering for Matt Gleason's 3 categories of players above.

By the way, I like to spend some time to analyse my moves. In some of my games I'm still in the opening (not chess960) and grab a move from explorer. Some games I may have an obvious move - a recapture, a piece under attack that only has one sensible square, etc. so may play that move almost immediately. Other times I will need to run through analysis and it may take a while, or I may postpone playing until I have more time, which may mean I play in one game against the same opponent and not the other. 

I'm more likely to spend more time when I'm not either clearly ahead or clearly behind. Trying to salvage a draw when I'm down a pawn is reasonable. Stalling when my opponent had a king and two passed pawns marching home against my lone king is stupid, and I resign games in positions like that because I need to save my energy to concentrate on games where I have a chance of getting a result.