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What is "This player artificially increases/decreases their rating"?

Asked by Chess_Agent
Tags boosting sandbagging cheat artificially increases decreases rating faq
Activity Viewed 22478 times, last updated
What is "This player artificially increases/decreases their rating"? What does it mean if you have that label on your profile? How does someone get labelled with such a label?
funkjewyup commented :
I'm curious how the computer determines 'sandbagging'? Sometimes I play when I'm having a bad day (for various reasons) and lose a lot. Othertimes, some players may have a lower rating but consistently beat me because of their style. Can the computer distinguish between these situations that I believe other people probably encounter as well?
virginaheatrush commented :
I think probably they will give mercy 1 time and then legit ban you
6 Answers
Answered by Chess_Agent

This is a label that is found on profiles that engage in two forms of cheating. Both forms are outlined in Lichess' TOS (

1. Sandbagging:

Sandbagging is the act of "deliberately playing below one's actual ability in order to fool opponents into accepting higher stakes bets, or to lower one's competitive rating in order to play in a future event with a higher handicap and consequently have a better chance to win" (

Essentially, if you attempt/aim to lose in order to lower your rating, you are sandbagging.

2. Boosting:
Boosting is the act of artificially increasing your rating. This can be done in many ways. One of the common ways is to create another account and play rated games against it. Another common way to boost one's rating is to ask a friend to help you do so. They lose, you win, and the computer slaps both your profiles with that red label.

You can be considered a booster if you assist sandbaggers. If you know that somebody is sandbagging and you continue to play them, you are artificially boosting your rating. It is tempting to continue, but please don't. The computer has no mercy and you will both be marked.

If you notice someone sandbagging, please do report it. Sandbagging affects many users and makes it less fun to play. (Example, if a 1200 plays at a grandmaster level, you would be pretty angry once you lose 35 rating points to the sandbagger.)

Thank you :)
seanysean commented :
thanks so much, the best answer possible.
Horsa commented :
Wait, since I play HORRIBLY, and lets say I get better at chess, would the computer say "Welp, you're sandbagging"?
Chess_Agent commented :
Nope lol
Even if the computer does find something funny, it reports you so a mod can personally check it over.
EMLEML commented :
Why would anyone want to lower their rating?!
InnateAluminum commented :
@EMLEML as explained above, it makes people think you are not a very good player and accept higher stakes/bets, or you get a handicap in tournaments and play people lower rated than you. That is what sandbagging is.
Answered by zipperhead
I was just marked with this.

I play silly games trying ideas that are bad sometimes... I have fallen to 1200 bullet, and I have played at 2000 perf rating in tournaments, almost always because strong players are berserking me and I just play bad moves very very fast.

Now I'm banned. Really?

Can I have all my lichess donations back? Seriously?
Chess_Agent commented :

Also, because someone donates does not give them preferential status over other users. That is to say, if a donor cheats, s/he will be marked.
zipperhead commented :
If I lose a piece in a bullet or hyperbullet game in the opening, I may resign (and I often don't!). And that's cheating? You have identified 50 games out of the 2500 I played. That's 2% of my games. This logic is beyond broken.
zipperhead commented :
I'm not looking for preferential status; I'm looking for someone to apply some actual effort and thought to the issue instead of demonstrating that I've lost a piece within 5 moves in 2% of my games and resigned as a result.
karpov999 commented :
No idea what to tell you. Sorry I wasn't really able to help. Maybe consider it from his point of view as well though.

Answered by Poldi_der_Drache
I hope you don't get banned for having a bad streak.
EMLEML commented :
I've had a loosing streak before... My account is fully un-banned though.
Answered by Caustic
There's acertain user who obviously sandbagged, was banned, and then a day later wasn't banned. What is the reason for this? Are sandbag bans not permanent?
MrLegilimens commented :
People can appeal any ruling on their account by emailing Lichess. Perhaps this was the case here.
Answered by MSG2006
Can sandbagging be used temporarily to play in U1500, U1700 or U2000 tournaments? For example, if you have 1850 rating in blitz and want to play in U1700, you can deliberately drop? I did this as a test in another account and got a red label...
notzmv commented :
No, you will get flagged for this. That is sandbagging.
Answered by Ghostbusters26
My friend Anuj is of the same case. he alson created one more account and gained rating points there.

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