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posted at 2011-08-07 07:32 by tseltzer


Recently, I attempted to play a game with an opponent who, unintentionally, of course, kept disconnecting (4 times in the first 10 moves). It was brought to my attention by league officials that the person had the same problem the previous week, so the issue was unlikely to be resolved by playing at another date & time. Thus, it would have taken several sessions to complete the game, if at all possible.

I am wondering if the community feels, as I do, that such a player should face some kind of penalty other than a result adjourned by a TD.

One thought I have is to create a TL disconnector's list, whereby if a player disconnects more than 3 times a game in x number of games during a given TL, they will be penalized by loss of game for 3 disconnections in any game after that. "x" might take the value of 3, for example.

This would address players who habitually impair the proper and fair conduct of a TL game. If someone can't consistently play their games without disconnecting numerous times they shouldn't be part of the league, in my opinion.

posted at 2011-08-08 08:48 by PankracyRozumek


Despite I don't usually suffer from the problem you described, I support the idea in general, because this is just one kind of not showing respect to an opponent. However I'd definitely not penalize a player with a loss of a game, because it unnecessarily penalizes also his team. Instead I would just suspend him as a player for a period of time or number of games.

Also, I am afraid if this does not mean additional workload for our TL admins?...

posted at 2011-08-18 08:29 by stefanger

Hello, my thoughts on disconnections:

It is no good there is such a thing I would call "forced adjournment" in the first place. It should be considered to remove this possibility in the rules. If a game has to be adjourned by the fault of one side, it should be a forfeit for this player.

This would be more in line with the rules for starting a game. If someone disconnect from the server before the game and doesnt show up in the grace period, they can get a forfeit. But if someone disconnects during the game and doesnt show up anymore, their opponent has to accept the adjournment. I dont think there is a good reason for this different handling of a started game and a not started game.

One other reason I dont think a forced adjournment should be possible is simply because an adjourned game can have a huge analysis requirement, and since computer or human assistance is not allowed you may be required to do hours of calculation in order to prepare the continuation of the game properly. This gets worse when it was your opponents move while they disconnected and they have 2-3 reasonable moves entering different complications available. If players mutually agree on this, it is fine, but the opponent shouldnt be able to force it on you.

posted at 2011-09-06 10:55 by tseltzer

From the channel 101 today, more good discussion and request for clarification of rules:

[15:42]tseltzer: vis-a-vis " "If a player disconnects for more than 15 minutes, or 3 times in 30 minutes, either player may request that the game be adjourned to a later date. "
[15:42]tseltzer: it is unclear what "request" means
[15:42]tseltzer: was the intent that one player may force adjournment?
[15:42]tseltzer: or that both players have to agree to adjournment?
[15:43]StefanGER: it is supposed to mean that you do not have to continue the game at this time
[15:44]tseltzer: so either player may force adjournment at that time?
[15:44]StefanGER: so when that happens you can write in the game forum and leave, so you dont have to keep waiting for an opponent that keeps disconnecting

posted at 2011-09-06 13:16 by tseltzer

Here is the relevant part of the rules related to disconnection:

"If you or your opponent disconnect during the game and come back shortly, resume the game issuing the same comand "tell teamleague play gameID". If a player disconnects for more than 15 minutes, or 3 times in 30 minutes, either player may request that the game be adjourned to a later date. If that is not possible ( E.g. after Game Completition deadline, end of round 6, late in playoffs rounds, unavailability of one or both players) the Tournament Director will make a determination of Set Game or Set Game Draw, based on the position at the time."

The language raises several issues in the course of discussion:

1. Does "request" mean that a single player may force the adjournment or is the agreement of both players required after 3 disconnections? Evidently this TL, different players got different rulings from different TDs on that.
2. If the game can't be continued after an adjournment, does "the Tournament Director will make a determination of Set Game or Set Game Draw, based on the position at the time." mean that only the position on the board is considered? What about the clock? What about the fact that one part may be "blameless" versus another party, the disconnector, who is not "blameless", is that not a consideration at all? Or, is it up to the discretion of the TD whether "blame" should be considered in determining the result? (the last would seem wrong and inconsistent to me)
3. The original topic of the post above, should TL impose any sanction vis-a-vis chronic disconnectors, i.e. those who disconnect multiple times per game, over the course of multiple games.

Thanks for your consideration of these issues.


posted at 2011-09-06 20:56 by smallblackcat

The issue of 'forced adjournments' is rather overblown - I'm not aware of this ever having happened. Disconnections are treated differently from no-shows for a good reason: games disrupted by disconnections are a comparatively rare occurrence; no-shows happen several times every week. It is necessary to have a clear rule for the common occurrence, but for a rarer situation there is more leeway for common sense to prevail.

As to the quibbling over the language for adjudicating adjourned games, the rule is phrased as it is to make clear that, unlike in a no-show, the situation on the board is taken into account as well as issues of 'blame'.

If you are asking for the rule to be made clearer, it would be more helpful to suggest what the rule should be, in your opinion. The matter will be discussed at the next TD meeting, but if past experience is anything to go by, the rule won't be changed unless a better alternative that is fair to all parties is put up.

posted at 2011-09-07 08:11 by tseltzer

It happened during this TL, during August in one of my games. In the process of seeking clarification on the rules as written, I consulted one of the nice and reasonable TDs by the name of "smallblackcat." The same player who disconnected multiple times against me had the same thing happen against other opponents during this TL. It is a real issue, no disputing that.

I would be happy to offer a suggestion as to how to rewrite the rules. However, one must understand where this discussion is. I just asked previously for clarification of two issues - "request" and "blame."

For the first, I am still not sure whether it is, in fact, a "request" or not. If so, who has the authority to approve or deny that request? Opponent? TD? If no one, then it is not a "request."

The answer you provided on the second says that the issue of blame is taken into account. However, this is inconsistent with the Statutes, which say:

"'Set Game' is used to designate some result to a game not played where both players are blameless."

posted at 2011-09-07 17:47 by smallblackcat

There's no need to be getting personal or sarcastic. I agree the issue is a real one, the question is how to deal with it fairly.

I gave you an answer about requesting an adjournment at the time of the incident; to re-iterate, this gives the players the opportunity to reschedule rather than play on during a disconnection-disrupted session. The rule simply provides that this is an available option. My point about 'forced adjournments' was in reply to StefanGer's post, which I may have misunderstood; I thought the concern here was that a player could force an adjournment to his advantage by repeatedly disconnecting. As I said, this has never happened in the time I've been involved in TL (more than 5000 games). In any case, FICS has it's own ways of policing deliberate disconnection.

You seem to be missing the point about 'set games' - these are just lower level forfeits, but they count the same as a forfeit in the standings. What the statutes mean is that a 'set game' ruling is appropriate where a player is unable to play a game due to circumstances beyond their control. An adjourned game that is not completed is one such example; a player missing contact deadlines because they were erroneously entered in the lineup by their captain is another.

I hope that is reasonably clear.

posted at 2011-09-14 03:42 by wmahan

Regarding question 1:
My understanding of "either player may request that the game be adjourned to a later date" is like StefanGer's: either player may force the game to be adjourned. As a practical matter this is important, so that a player does not have to wait 15 minutes for an opponent who has already disconnected several times and may or may not return.

I have advised players according to my understanding on several occasions; although smallblackcat is right that disconnections are rarer than no-shows, I think it could be worthwhile to clarify the rules because the issue does come up.

It is true that the rules as I interpret them can be abused, because a player can disconnect intentionally to force an adjournment. However, like smallblackcat I'm not aware of this having happened; and if it does, it can be dealt with at the discretion of TDs using existing rules and common sense.

Maybe the part I quoted above could be changed to "either player may insist that the game be adjourned to a later date. In such cases, players must promptly begin negotiations in the game forum for a time to resume the game." Rather than having formal deadlines for negotiations, discretion can be left to TDs, like now.

Question 2:
I think the TD can consider the totality of the situation, including disconnections, clocks, and communication in the game forum. TDs should have discretion.

Question 3:
I am wary of privileging those with better connections over those who, due to location or not being able to afford a better connection, have occasional problems. In extreme cases I trust the TL authorities to take appropriate action, so I'm not convinced any change to the rules is necessary.

posted at 2011-09-19 07:51 by tseltzer

Thanks wmahan for posting and moving the discussion forward.

- Regarding Question 1: I would agree with the proposed rewording as addressing the potential ambiguity.

- Regarding Question 2: The rules need to be clarified to convey the meaning stated by both sbc and wmahan, since, as I quoted from the statutes above and I believe you have read, "Set Game" is specifically defined to be a "game not played where both players are blameless." Therefore, according the rules "blame" can't be taken into account. But, I agree it should be.

Instead of "...will make a determination of Set Game or Set Game Draw, based on the position at the time." change the end to "..., considering factors including the position on the board, the clock, and the concept of partial blame."

- Regarding Question 3: The issue with wmahan's proposal is that when a TD was asked about consequences for such players, they stated there is nothing in the rules, so there is nothing that they can do, and nothing was done. I would refer the reader to my original post for a proposal.

posted at 2011-09-23 07:26 by wmahan

I have never liked the distinction in the rules between a "Set Game" (blameless) and a forfeit (where blame is assigned). I try to use the terminology as defined in the rules, but to me a more natural definition would be that a set game is simply any game where a result is set by the TD. In that case, there could be set games where blame is assigned, and set games where both parties are blameless.

Indeed, I would argue that the rules themselves are confused on this point. 16.B. says "'Set Game' is used to designate some result to a game not played where both players are blameless." Yet 16.B.i. says "'Set Game' can be used to award one player a game point and the other none. This can be used in situations where an offending player...." By definition, there can be no offending player if both parties are blameless!

Regarding the proposed rules change about adjudicating games, couldn't it be argued that the "position on the board" includes the remaining time of each player? I worry that your proposed change might be interpreted as requiring TDs to assign partial blame to the disconnector. On FICS it's not uncommon for players to refuse to resume a game where they have an inferior position, and we wouldn't want to encourage that in TL.

And about question 3, I wasn't making a proposal so much as expressing skepticism that any change needs to be made. I don't know the details of your situation, but I don't feel TDs are totally handcuffed by the current rules. You or your TD could have raised the issue with the head TD, for example. The head TD has discretion to raise the issue with the player and the player's captain, and impose penalties if the disconnections continue.

posted at 2011-10-01 20:50 by LeifPetersen

Some players can be at places without reliable internet or power. So it is also a question whether we want to reach out to such players, maybe from developing countries, or not.

posted at 2011-10-20 05:39 by Madmansreturn

I've had days on FICS where I suffered disconnections frequently despite my Internet connection working perfect with the exception of FICS. Not sure if I've had a disconnection during a TL game though. But sometimes it is no fault of the disconnecting player or the Internet connection of that player.