Vacation Time - Staff Please Have Mercy


This is an old subject, and I have really tried to live with the site the way it works, but I am about to abandon tournaments (and thus my Gold membership) altogether.

Let me start by laying out my suggestion.  When a Tournament is created, the director can set a Maximum amount of vacation time.  Thus the ones hosted by could be 'unlimited', meaning you can use as much vacation as you have earned.  Some TD's may stay with 'none' don't move, you lose.  Some might say that a week is reasonable.  Because tournaments last for well over a year, or sometimes over two, the 'all-or-nothing' rule does not work.  Below I elucidate.

Staff suggests that if you don't like the fact that members can take weeks or months of vacation that you simply play 'no vacation' tournaments. 

Here is my scenario, which is probably very normal.

1)  In general, I don't want tournaments that last years.  In general, even 'no vacation' tournaments with 100 players can last a year or more.  So I choose 1 day/move, no vacation tournaments.

2)  This is great, but 9 months from now I will actually be taking an overseas vacation myself.  Emphasis:  9 Months from now.  Because of this, and the fact that I will go more than 24 hours without internet access due to flying, jet lag, etc., I can join NO tournaments of my favorite format for a year. 

3)  So, being stuck with choosing tournaments that allow me to take my vacation time (of which I probably only need about 5 days), I have to spend a YEAR starting tournaments that will take TWO years to finish.  So for lack of ability to take a small amount of vacation time, I am forced into tournaments that will impact me for three years. 

As a result, I have stopped joining tournaments.  I decided to become a Gold member simply so I could join more tournaments, so I will now let that lapse.  Once they come up with a more reasonable suggestion, I will return. is a great site and this has been a single major unaddressed issue for a very long time.


Well, didn't you recently suggest an option where tournaments could have limited vacation? That sounded good to me. (Edit: Wait, I see, that's what you're proposing now too.)

alexlaw wrote:

hm limited vacation is a good idea, but then staff want diamond members to have an advantage so they won't address your issue. If limited vacation is implemented, everyone will do that and the advantage of the diamond member? poof... gone!

No, not everyone will do that, because there are probably lots of people (like me) who think that the current vacation options are just fine. You don't see this people posting because they have no reason to complain.

That being said, I agree that the OP's suggestion is good.


I know I need to just let this Vacation issue go, but it is clearly the biggest design flaw of  I'm in a 7-day thematic tournament at the moment.  We've been playing about 2 months now and one player in our section has been on "vacation" almost the entire time.  All the while, he is current with several other games.  To make matters worse, the tournament is structured such that your second game against a given opponent doesn't start until the first one is completed.  Guess I need to have a Dos Equis and chill. Smile


I wonder if there is a way to limit the vacation time for each round. Also can TDs give limited player access to vacation for emergency issues.


You clearly stated that you wanted to have tournaments with no vacation and join only those. Just to reverse this situation how have you dealt with opponents who lost on time because they didnt have computer access or went on vacation during a game but couldnt use vacation time?


i actually lost some forty games because of illness....but i agree there are those abusing vac. time. why ? avoid a lost? drag out tourn.s , just be a pain in the butt?I let my prem. status run out---the best is at the start of a tourn. where they go on vac. after one move. It takes all kinds!


Thats is why I dont play days per move chess here. Had a guy that was just playing on in K+R vs K endgame when I realized that he was just dragging it out for no reason other than ego. I have no desire to play a game for 20+ days  just to mate someone. 

It wastes my time and his. I was going to offer to review the game with him  too so he could actually learn something. 

I might suggest creating a group that makes tournaments where some sort of general ethics are used to avoid these abuses. For example Players are expected to not waste time in dead lost positions and abuse vacation times.

TonyH wrote:

I wonder if there is a way to limit the vacation time for each round. Also can TDs give limited player access to vacation for emergency issues.


You clearly stated that you wanted to have tournaments with no vacation and join only those. Just to reverse this situation how have you dealt with opponents who lost on time because they didnt have computer access or went on vacation during a game but couldnt use vacation time?

Let me be clear, I only join 'no vacation tournaments' because I like tournaments that last less than a year but still have a reasonable number of players.  Abuse of vacation time is rampant in the tournaments that allow vacation. If the abuse could be reined in, I would glady join 'vacation' tournaments.

As for 'my' treatment of players who time out, I don't have an option as to how to treat them in a tournament.  For the friends that I play online, I turn off the option to claim a win on time.  But mostly I play tournament games.

To be clear:

1) This is not like our jobs where we should 'accrue' vacation time.  There must be a better way.

2) As an example, the 11th open tournament(s) started on June 1, 2010.  Some are not in the final round yet, so it is easy to believe they will require 2 to 2.5 years to play.  I have no interest in starting a tournament today in the hopes that I will be around playing it two years from now.  Maybe tournaments just aren't for me since I lack that level f patience.

3)  Because I mostly play tournament games, and I don't even remember the last time I timed out, my score IS artificially high, because I have won many game on time...even when I was losing.  I don't love or hate this fact, which is good because I can't do anything about it.

There must be a better way!


Yeah just needs patience else don't join them. Major-discussion going on over re-naming this currently & looks like correspondence will win out.

This may be best as that's what it is (in internet form) & can indeed take ages. 

Seems to me there are many, many fast & no-vacation tournaments available for those that dislike the standard-format. Or create your own ?


Ok first the idea of days per move as tournament chess is misleading. It is basically correspondence chess  but moves are sent electronically instead of by postcards.  Tournament is just an event. Granted most tournaments require a time commitment of a day or two if the time control is 60 minutes for example

Back to your main complaint. I think that the answer might be to start a group that has strict rules about vacation times. If the tournament director has the same power here as in a normal event and can expel a player from a tournament that would be very helpful. Players would be required to submit any vacation request ahead of time (like a normal job) so players know there isnt abuse.

I do agree with you about the abuse of vacation time abuse and other etiquette problems in correspondence chess. These are the main reasons  I dont play it

cookiemonster161140 wrote:

If you don't like vacations in correspondence chess, have you considered scrabble? 

Fact is chess played by mail or at mail-like time controls MUST have vacations. If you expect the player to never leave the board for work, family, potty breaks, vacations whatever try OTB tournaments. You finish the event usually in a weekend, and don't have to worry about someone going on vacation or who can't be online for a few days because they're working lots of mandatory overtime. 


While I agree with your general thought about needing breaks for personal time, a vacation feature like the one here on is not absolutely necessary for tournaments.  Other sites use different approaches to provide a cushion for unforseen circumstances. An example would be that you have 30 days to make 10 moves -- still 3 days per move (average) but the player can use his time as he sees fit -- and, the time control is not connected to how much was paid for the subscription. 

By the way, I suspect "correspondence/turn-based" scrabble players have the same issues as are being discussed here.


I don't think any policy will satisfy everyone on this issue.  Part of the problem is that everyone thinks his own need for a break is legitimate all of the time and some other people's needs for breaks are frivolous some of the time.  As long as that is the case, no possible policy will work.


I fully support this suggestion, and have made the same recommendation in the past.  All or none just doesn't work.

I want to play in a tournament that has some limit to the delay vacations can introduce, but I don't want to play in a tournament that has no fixed end date and won't allow my to take any vacation.

Outside of new time controls (which can fix all sorts of issues by providing more certainty around when each round will end), vacation capped tournaments are the way forward.


Have you made any specific suggestions to the staff? Also as a Gold Member you can create your own tnmts, but you have to be a Diamond Member to have all the tnmt options available (I don't know if Platinum Members also have access to all tnmt options)

Another option is one used at other chess sites such as a 20/2 TL: You start out with 20 days for the entire game and get credit for 2 more days every move. I don't know if this idea will work for you, but it's a thought.


Also believe whilst creating team-matches are able to specify av/move time as min/max (condition-of-entry-TM) which allows removal of participants not complying ?

(not asbsolutely sure about this though...)


Whoops!  Back on vacation he goes.  He has one pawn against his opponents rook and two he'll nip off for say, 11 DAYS.


I agree fully with the OP.  In fact, that is my biggest beef here at  I too was in a tourney, and after 1.5 years, decided to go on vacation.  I lost my games.  But sadly, I also lost the ability to join certain tourneys, because my time-out rate is too high.  Those were the only games I have ever timed out of, yet I am now penalized for another 60 days or so due to this inconsiderate act on my part.

Seems to me the point of no-vacation tournaments is to be done quickly.  But they still take over a year to finish.  The end result is, just suck it up, play tourneys that take 3 years, and don't worry about it. 

I don't know, I may let my membership lapse as well.  I too went up in the membership to be in more tournaments, but since I can't join any now due to my recent foul, I'm just going to let it go.


tq to  member jpatsocal - you've highlighted a very interesting situation!


? a bit hard to understand why a person would go on vacation after one (1) move ...  :)  ... what percentage of the human population of chess players are like this would you guys think ... is this a stable ratio reflecting the actual nature of human beings in game playing ... ?  curiouser and curiouser ...


time as a weapon ...