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Speed of play

Started by paulie, June 11, 2014, 12:16:58 AM

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I've been told by several players that I play too slow.  I've been going over some previous matches using Challonge to see how my matches compare with others and, indeed, it seems that, for the most part, my matches take longer than most.  This leads me to a couple of questions:

1.  In live tournament play, I've heard that clocks are sometimes used.  I use to play tournament chess and of course we used clocks.  But these clocks would not be suitable for backgammon, imo.  From the little I've read on the subject, it appears that timing is achieved through  a sort of "Fischer time"?  At least that's what I'm used to calling it wherein each player receives some additional time on the clock for each move completed.  Is this the way it is done in backgammon?
2.  What are the timings typically used in tournament play, given that my understanding in Question 1 is correct?

It disturbs me that players complain about my play.  It makes me not want to participate;  it takes the fun out of it for me.

I am going to video a part of my Tampa tourney some night to see my speed vs. my opponent.  There was an instance back in January where a match I had (a 7-pointer) took an hour and 33 minutes.  I agree this is too long.  In this instance, however, I know for sure that much of the time was taken by my opponent, who sometimes took over a full minute JUST TO ROLL THE DICE, let alone make the move.  I got the blame, however.  I have recently been accused by a very good player of once taking 3 MINUTES to make a move.  I will like to bet any money that this is a total falsehood.  I do, at times, take longer that the experts who play on FIBS because I often have no idea which way to play certain dice.  Clearly, if I improve, that should also improve; i.e., I should find fewer and fewer difficult decisions.
Also, I believe I play faster than I did when I first started because I am no longer dealing with the JavaFibs disappearing checker issue.  This definitely lengthened some of my matches played before I discovered that the bug only occurs on vectored boards.  I was taking twice as long to make a move, since I had to "undo" and replay the move.

Also, I would like to point out that I am not generally sober when I play the Tampa tourneys.  This undoubtedly makes me slower.  I apologize for that in advance, but when I'm buzzed is when I like to play backgammon the most.  The same was true for online poker which I've recently stopped playing (which is why I'm back to bg) due to lack of decent and honest sites to play.  So for those of you who read this, I hope you will cut me some slack.  I never intentionally dawdle.

Anyway, my most important question is number 2.  What is an acceptable time for backgammon?  Oddly enough, when I played chess, I had the opposite problem; I often didn't take enough time and blundered away a lot of games.
I try to avoid experience; most experience is bad.   -Wilde


I noticed when you first joined, you were slow. I think I know the match in question, and we debated over who was to 'blame' is very hard to gauge that, and so we try to err on the side of just asking if people can speed up a bit. When there are 15 in a night time tourney of 7/9 points, someone messing about is no fun.

WE [TDs and most players] have no interest in making people play faster than they are comfortable with, and appreciate that complex games will take longer. If a 7 point match goes to 7-6, and the cube doesn't see much action, it is going to take a long time.

What is annoying, is matches which are slow because the player is chatting, not rolling, doesn't use tools like auto-roll when they have no cube in sight [stuck on the bar against a  closed board, that kind of thing], doesn't toggle auto-move and spends 5 minutes deliberating over a forced move  :grrr: , doesn't use greedy bear offs [and bears off very slowly], has too poor a connection to really be playing in long tournaments...that sort of thing.

All that said - you are nowhere near as slow as when you started, and I have not seen any ongoing remarks about your speed of play. You aren't doing any of the naughty list up there, and I don't mind my opponent thinking, at all.

There are lost of articles about backgammon clocks, and they are used in tourneys sometimes. Google it and see what you think.

There is talk of putting clocks on tourneybot tourneys..personally, for the most part, I hope not. The current 2 mins for a move is reasonable, and stops most unnecessary messing about. Clocks put added pressure where it doesn't need to be. I wont play in live tournaments with them, and I am by no means a slow player [my biggest weakness is playing too fast and missing things].

In terms of your '5 minutes' for a move situation - was that in a tourney? Tourneybot would have had you on the clock for that, and there would have been repercussions. If not, well, maybe there was a lag attack, meaning your opponent didn't get your move right away - that happens sometimes. For one offs, I wouldn't worry at all.
Never give up on the things that make you smile


Clock rules vary, but a clock that allowed one minute per point of match length, plus 15 seconds per move (which is not cumulative) seems about right. Clocks for live tourneys work very well, so no reason why they shouldn't work online, particularly as just being online about doubles the speed of a match. I must have played thousands of eague and tournament matches without often being irritated by slow players. I don't see it as a big problem.


the ABT time allowances are one minute per point w/ a 12 sec delay.

a side note, if you think you play slow, you should watch Mochy play.  most of the time he moves quickly but if there is a difficult play or a cube decision he takes A LOT of time to think it through. (but maybe that's why he is on the giants list and i'm not :smile: )


So, in a 15 point match would the clocks originally be set at 15 minutes or 30 minutes (15 + 15)?  I assume that quick play would then accumulate any time saved from moving faster than 12 seconds on any given move?  I would support a clock implementation on our Tampa tourneys, hopefully adjustable so that we could titrate the optimum settings.   I can think of one problem, though.  I guess there are folks who get laggy connections?  That might create a difficulty for them.  The Internet Chess Club supports clocks, even Fischer time as I recall.  It works there.  Players agree as to what timings their games will be played at.
I try to avoid experience; most experience is bad.   -Wilde


In a 15 point match, each player has 15 minutes on their clock. The clock doesn't begin to tick down until your allowance for the move (12 or 15 seconds) has elapsed. Unused seconds from the move allowance don't get carried forward. If you use all your 15 minutes, you don't get timed out unless on some subsequent move you also exceed your move allowance. This amount of time is plenty and keeps the tournament moving forward without inconveniencing anybody but real snails. It is much more difficult to implement online because of lag and lost connections. Unlimited time tournaments are a pain to play and also facilitate the possibility of cheating by having moves signalled to you. Don't think that can happen? !t certainly happens in chess!


It always struck me as odd when I started playing backgammon that clocks weren't used (online at least).  I know lots of people consider it a more casual game than, say, chess, but I really don't see the downside to using clocks.  I feel like there's more pressure NOT using a clock, given such vague parameters to work in, and differing ideas of what your opponent might consider reasonable.  I play at least as briskly as the average player, but I feel like I would often like to take more time with some positions, but end up playing them quickly for fear of upsetting an opponent.  For me the game would be more enjoyable if you could really take your time when you needed to, as backgammon can be quite deep and it's satisfying knowing you really thought through a position.  I know this is speculation, but I think the general level of play is held back by people playing reflexively too fast without even thinking.  It's a thinking game, and you should be allowed t.

Like in chess you could agree upon a time.  If you want a really quick game, no problem!  Just start a game with a short time (blitz) and everyone's happy.   From the real world backgammon  tournaments I've seen the games with clock seem to work really well.  Moves which are relatively straight forward are played promptly, and more complicated positions take more time.
Not having clocks seems like playing basketball with no agreed on three point line.  Just shoot from far out!  But don't be too close, or too far away!

Even scrabble has clocks. 


There are avenues available to play on fibs with clocks present.

If you go to the main page here on fibsboard and click on the "tourneys schedule link, on the left menu, you will see when tourneys are run on fibs.  Tourneybot is in control of the player clocks, and most of the tourney functionality.  You get two minutes to play a move, and a warning if you go overtime, that you are on clock.  Most tourney clocks are set for five minutes, there are some set for seven minutes for longer tourneys with larger match point levels.  TD's are roving, so  if you go on clock unfairly, or you need more time - with permission from your opp - you can request it in shout, or directly to the TD if you know who is available for that particular tourney.

My screen name here is the same as my screen name at fibs, you're more than welcome to look me up and we can chat more over there about when tourneys are coming up, and how to register to play,
"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve."  -  Bilbo Baggins (at his 111th Birthday party)


I'm absolutely amazed with some of the answers in this thread.  Firstly, let us asume that paulie is referring to FIBS tournament matches. 

KMA says "most" tourneys have a 5 minutes time limit. I think this is backwards wherein most fibs tourneys are set on a 7 minute schedule.  The reason I believe this is because Mini-Matches and Fri3 trourneys which I hosted for longer than anyone else are set to 5 minutes and at the time they were converted to "TourneyBot" tourneys, Mini-Matches and Fri3 were the only tourneys set to 5 min.  All the rest were set to 7 min.

And here is where the confusing only begins.   :laugh:  The clocks are not started on any one player (on TourneyBot) until you have been dallying about for 2 minutes, so when we say a timeout is 7 min.  it will take 9 min.  When we say a timeout is at 5 min, it will take 7 min to timeout.  And, this is only the beginning.  When a player is offline, he goes on the clock immediately.  When a player is playing the wrong player, he goes on the clock immediately.

If you are in a tourney and you know the tourney #, and you "tell tourneybot (tourney *), all the information you need to know about that tourney is displayed for you, i.e., timeout time, match lengths, etc.  So, it might be best for you to know your tourneybot commands before you get into a tourney and to know all the other pertinent info before the incidents happen.  PLEASE!  :)

Keep in mind that Tom occasionally changes the commands and, in fact, something may have changed since I logged on here last, so, what I have told you here could be wrong.   :lol:  Don't you just love it! 


The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself, in the service of others. - Mohandas K. Gandhi


As I said, if you need help, find me in fibs.   
"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve."  -  Bilbo Baggins (at his 111th Birthday party)


The tourneybot clocks have nothing to do with speed of play. They regulate the time taken to start the match and very occasionally regulate a player who becomes idle during the match.
Tournament clocks regulating the time allowed per move (or per match) are probably very hard to retrofit to Fibs and in any case hardly neccessary. 99% of players play at a speed that is just fine and peer pressure will quickly adjust the attitude of those that don't!