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Unfair World Open Timeout Rules

  • #1

    The current timeout rules for the World Open highly favor the wealthier country. Premium members have a huge advantage when it comes to timeouts (they are automatically switched to vacation mode), and a high percentage of chess players who live in less wealthy countries cannot afford premium memberships.

    Here are three examples of recent World Open matches I played in that show this unfair trend:

    This seems morally unfair to me for a "World League" tournament. Each country should have an equal chance to win based on merit and skill, but instead the tournament matches will be highly influenced by who has the most premium members.

    I propose changing the rules so that either (a) every player in these tournaments gets auto-vacation, or (b) no player gets auto-vacation.

    I'm curious what others think about this, especially people from teams that have lost due to timeouts.


  • #2

    The captains of the teams are able to exclude players, are they not? If a captain allows a team to fill up with players who have poor timeout records ... well, the result should not be a surprise.

  • #3

    Steve, I think your comment misses the point. A team from Canada, England or the USA will have many more premium members who cannot time out because they spent extra money to become a premium member. This gives them an unfair advantage. If I was not a premium member I would have many more timouts. If the World League is to be fair then we need to make the playing field equal.

  • #4

    @BigNose ... I agree with you: auto-vacation is large advantage that should be disabled for team matches and tournaments. I digressed into another problem.

  • #5

    Autovacation is an abomination that should go altogether

  • #6

    I'm wondering if anyone from Chess.com can comment on this issue?

  • #7

    I actually kind of agree with you, but not because it favors the "wealthier country". I don't think team matches should allow vacation time, period. Tournaments have an option on whether to allow it or not: why not team matches too?

  • #8

    Still, you should be filtering out time-outs caused as a result of account being closed, whether for cheating or other reasons.  For example, 7 of ukraine's timeouts were because accounts were closed for cheating. Remember to take account closures into account. Also, the timeouts are largely committed by people with sub-1500 rating. Perhaps this is important. Finally, your sample size of three matches is kinda small. here's  one against belgium, which is decidedly not poor.  http://www.chess.com/groups/team_match?id=120785

    In any case, it costs 30 us dollars a year for a gold membership, which translates into eight cents per day. So, your argument has no basis.

  • #9

    (at least, not from a financial POV)

  • #10

    Do you know that tournaments can be created with "no vacation" option? So its not really a problem about the incriminated premium feature ( auto-vacation). Its about how the WL team think the tournament should be done.

    I agree that the auto-vacation its an advantage, but you should also understand that if chess.com dont offer "good stuff" for premium members, then they will have not as many paying players, and this could even affect the site existence. Also the possibility to wach the opponent games history its an advantage, or the opening DB its another advantage. Do you want to remove all the reason people pay for the premium account?

    Remember that the Staff have a salary, servers have a mantenance cost, and so on. Its not an amateus site, so if they dont get enough cash the site will close or would be forced to remove the "free account" straight away. Do you think it would be better? I guess not.

  • #11
    ghillan wrote:......

    I dont think premium members should get features which can influence outcome of games.

    If 2 members, one premium and one unpaid, find themselves facing the same crisis and unable to move on time, the premium survives, the free does not. It's not a level playing field.

    I'm all for premium benefits, but fair ones.

  • #12

    @mottsauce I don't think you understand what $30 means to people in other countries. In India the average monthly income is $90, so this would represent 1/3 of the average person's income. Would someone in the US who makes $3,000 per month be able to pay $1,000 for a chess.com membership?

    I also don't think the ratings of the players matter very much because every win is 1 point regardless of rating, but in my match against the Philippines 10 of the 39 timeouts were for players over 1600.

    I only listed 3 tournaments for space reasons and time, but I could easily list many more.

    Here is a link to my source for the income data I quoted:

  • #13
    rooperi wrote:
    ghillan wrote:......

    I dont think premium members should get features which can influence outcome of games.

    If 2 members, one premium and one unpaid, find themselves facing the same crisis and unable to move on time, the premium survives, the free does not. It's not a level playing field.

    I'm all for premium benefits, but fair ones.


    In theory i agree with you. Personally i never got advantage of this beature since i check my matches several times a day, but in theory it could have happened.

    That said we have also to remember that in practice we play here just for fun, not for real money. If it really happens that we get a timeout we have to remember that who paid nothing, lost nothing. Its plenty of feature totally free. I had a free account for maybe 2 years before to upgrade, and had a lot of fun ( and not a single timeout).


    Somehow this site must get the funds to keep it alive or not? If its just about the WL, i canagree that the no-timeout could be an interesting option ( or we can even create a dedicated "no-timeot" WL ).

    Its quite hard to ballance the teorethical "fairness" and what have to be done to keep the site alive.


    BTW: As far i know the WL its not managed by the chess.com STAFF.

  • #14

    @ghillan World League tournamnets do not have the "no vacation" option.

    I am fine with other tournaments allowing this advantage, but it seems very unfair to do this for World League matches.

  • #15

    @BIgNose: I know, but the tournament could be created that way by the tournament organizers. Obviously its not something that can be decided by the single team in their own matches...

  • #16

    i see you conveniently ignored the rest of my post, and failed to respond to the comment i made about you including cheater's timeouts.

    I understand that it is not financially feasible for everyone to get a membership.which is why i said that for team matches, there should be no vacation time allowed.

    everyone who plays here has computer access (if not a computer of their own). so, i would hazard a guess that *most* people who play here, if they can afford a computer, can also afford the eight cents a day.

    you also say "10 of the 39 timeouts were for players over 1600", which, um, means that 29 of them were for below 1600. 

    In response to your comment "Would someone in the US who makes $3,000 per month be able to pay $1,000 for a chess.com membership?", the answer is no, of course not, and in any case, by inflating the cost of a chess.com membership, you pretty much lose any meaning you were hoping to convey.

    good thing there's free membership.

  • #17

    in any case, i'm not convinced that this is because the us is "wealthier".

  • #18

    in all seriousness, though, you know what would be cool? if we could aggregate all world league matches, organize all of the teams by average income of their home country/region, and see if there's a correlation between that and timeouts per match.

  • #19

    People in Europe and North America seem to have a hard time getting their heads around the fact that $30 can be a lot of money for someone.

    Because someone has a beat-up pc doesn't mean he would have a spare $30.

    I've seen people on this site claiming that the monthly fee here is the price of a Starbucks coffee. I dont consider myself poor, but I honestly cannot afford Starbucks outings.

    $30 Buys a big bag of Maize Meal (the staple here), it can feed a poor family for a month.

  • #20

    @Joe: I understand that it can be a lot of money for someone, which is why it's awesome that there's free membership (which I used for a few years until I saved enough money to buy one).

    But getting back to the OP's point: i'm not convinced that the higher timeout percentage is directly related to wealth of the countries in question.

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