Free online Chess server. Play Chess now in a clean interface. No registration, no ads, no plugin required. Play Chess with the computer, friends or random opponents.
Create a gameTournamentSimultaneous exhibitions
Chess basicsPuzzlesPracticeCoordinatesStudyCoaches
Lichess TVCurrent gamesStreamersBroadcasts (beta)Video library
PlayersTeamsForumQuestions & Answers
Analysis boardOpening explorerBoard editorImport gameAdvanced search
Sign in

What to do about players that time down?

Asked by abagalia
Tags bad sport time faq
Activity Viewed 23176 times, last updated
What should I do when I encounter someone who deliberately times down? (For example, I just played a 5 minute game where I had mate in two and my opponent had three minutes on their clock, and they let the clock run down instead of resigning or playing it out.)

I have been reporting such players to the moderators, but I have never gotten a response from the mods and, from looking at the profiles of players I've reported, they are still playing.

Some of them even seem to habitually time down.

Is reporting to the mods the right thing to do? Does this have any effect?

It's frustrating that there are no visible consequences for such rude behavior!
Chess_Agent commented :
I made the question's format a little cleaner because this is a very good question to use as reference for other users with the same question.
grayson_ease commented :
I've noticed that my games sometimes time down without my realizing it. I don't know if it's a known error or not. I will make a move. Then, if I'm not paying close attention while waiting for my opponents move, my clock is still timing down even though the move looks like it went through. When I refresh the screen (even when I have time left on my screen), the game is over. And, my opponent apparently believes that I left the game.

On the other hand, I have experienced the childish behavior of an opponent letting 30 minutes bleed off the clock because they can't handle resigning that night.

I would like to know if the former is a known bug.

Thank you,


Chess_Agent commented :
Grayson_ease, you should post this in the forum: . I'm not sure if it's a bug or not, but maybe a dev will reply with your answer.
ImRealBadAtChess commented :
Maybe the developers could implement a feature for the site such that the game may last X minutes but each player must make a move every Y minutes. For instance you could have a rated game 15 minutes long with the requirement that a move must be made at least every 3 or 4 minutes or risk being force forfeited.
NickelAnge commented :
Is this a site for blitz and bullet players ? These comments make classical players feel more or less strange oddities...
As an exclusively classical player, I'm commonly forced to wait 10mn and more til my opponents' time elapses, with a checkmate sometimes 2 moves away. Last time was over 15 mn, which prompted me to write here.
From now on, I'll systematically report those players, on top of a message sent to the bad player himself. All players pestered with that behaviour are invited to do the same. It shoud well lead to some reaction after a while.
Unless, as I said, Lichess is a site for blitz and bullet players.
SKessel commented :
I used "Onlinechess" ( that looks to have similar mechanism.
It is _VERY_ inconvenient.

I am travelling in tran, for example, trying to play chess. In some badly covered area I get offline, but still want to continue.
If it is done like you - I will be defeated next time I connect. I shall not be.
I am playing against myself, wasting my time actually.

oldmaster53 commented :
I have the same problem , with time left on my clock the game come over for left game when i wait the opponent move ,i think its a bug
LumpDD commented :
What about a fair play voting system? In this case one can up/down vote fair/unfair players after a match and filter unfair players.
minoulechat commented :
I too have lost three games for the same reason.
romison commented :
yeah I hate these players :( it happened too much often
ElSegundo commented :
I've been operating under the assumption so far that the most effective recourse is just putting these players on block so you never get paired again.
adrianpolit commented :
wouldn't work, you hardly ever see the same player the next week
Vale18349276 commented :
I've played a game in which I was a piece up in a tournament. My opponent had 45 minutes and timed down. I'm serious!
ChessQueen33 commented :
I also had a time when I closed the laptop while playing a game and the time stood still for my opponent. When I opened the laptop again the time was over and I had lost.

P.S. I did not close the laptop to cheat, like let time running down or something.
13 Answers
Answered by NoJoke
Deliberately running the clock down in order to spite your opponent is not acceptable on lichess and can result in warnings and bans. Please use the report button on the offending user's profile and include a link to the game in question.

However, please keep in mind:

1. If there is any chance the user was legitimately using their time to think they are perfectly safe. Please don't report a user who "runs down" 30 seconds, thinking is not against the rules.

2. There needs to be a well-established pattern of this behavior before we take action. One game is usually not enough. It is also possible that a user will have a connection or equipment problem that could make it look like they are trying to run the clock down when they are not.
Gigi57 commented :
I've just started playing here.
It happened to see the opponent's counter go down.
I waited my turn. When it arrived, I had finished the time and my opponent had more minutes than me.
I had no connection problems !!!
I received a "worning" because I did not play.
I believe there are connection problems in these cases.
I'm not rude as someone can think
Answered by minouthecat
Players who let the time runs instead of resigning, and do so regularly, they exist. I don't think that reporting them to mods could bring some result, because actually there's not a rule that forbids such a behaviour. No rule orders to make the single moves within a certain time: the only deadline is the final one, agreed by both. Their behaviour does not make them win, because in the end they lose anyway. I don't understand them. In nearly all the games one of the two plays better and the other plays worse: it's normal, so as it's normal to resign, or to accelerate the checkmate, when you see that you haven't chances anymore. It's not a dishonour. But they have to have mental problems. If one does not want to have to deal with them again, he can block them.
egosdonotrule commented :
These people have very fragile egos. That's all it is. If you have what they regard as the chundering temerity to actually outplay them then they are so affronted that they simply stop making moves rather than resign. Pathetic - truly pathetic - but there it is. Chess is a man's game and real men chivalrously resign when they've clearly got a lost position whereas these prats don't. Frankly tiddlywinks is better suited to their childish mentalities. I'd still like to physically PUNCH these people though for their extreme rudeness!
RaggedRob commented :
I just think it's they cannot be bothered to find out how to resign, or play another move so you can mate them. They realise they've lost and just quit. Playing classical chess, sometimes I've let the clock run for over 10 minutes.
Answered by Hermeschess24680
Based on my knowledge of the game( A casual chess player) I have found myself in these same situations where the opponent drains their clock, sadly there is nothing that can be done for that certain game except for waiting. I had also faced an opponent in a tournament that just let their clock run down instead of resigning or offering a draw, here the arbiter cannot force my opponent to make a move.
claytopsoil commented :
Aside from a cheating, deliberately wasting time is clearly the WORST case of unsportsmanlike conduct during a tournament conditions. It not only wastes player time, but tournament time. Unless there is a clear case of a drawing situation, there should be a form of punishment. It can effectively decrease the chances of winning a tournament.
Answered by JuneFernan
This problem is not a big deal to me if I'm on a computer, as I can just start a new tab and browse the internet, but what am I supposed to do if an opponent is timing down on me while I'm on mobile? Am I really expected to stare at my phone for 10 minutes so that I ensure I don't get flagged as inactive?

An easy fix to this would be to not start my inactivity timer until it is my move. And my inactivity should be lenient if my opponent has just taken an inordinate amount of time to make their move, or if they have less than 30 seconds left on their clock, or something.
Answered by raphuuuu
Hi, I'm playing on mobile (iOS). To me it would be easy to invoke a "claim a win" when three criteria are met :
1) opponent is not signaled as "online" anymore (no green point)
2)the time used for thinking is anormally long (a percentage of the time limit, so for instance 45 second thinking for a 3 minutes game is a ¼ of the whole game)
3) the server's/device's evaluation of the position is frankly above 3.

The last point could be triggered by the waiting player : after self-assessing that the position is won, that the point is not green and that the thinking time is too long, one could ask for a "claim victory". That would send a warning to the opponent (only if 1) and 2) are met), and on no answer after another 10 sec, the evaluation from the server/device would be triggered (in the background) and if 3) is met, the victory given to the waiting players.

After 3 to 5 warning in different games, the player would be banned for, say a week. If it continues, then for a month. And then again, then for good.

I don't like to put pressure on players who just have connection issues. But these issues can be corrected by the player on his side after 3 to 5 warnings. If not, then the timing down is probably intentional.
There for sure will be false positive, but the alternative of players waiting ages for nothing is not good for the plateforme either.
StevenEmily commented :
Surprisingly, you can claim a win with the first 2 rules. Even if you are losing, you can still claim a win.
Answered by rolfens
This just happened to me.
I could tell because it was going well for me, and there I am watching the clock tick and hoping that my time is not being was.
I looked at their profile. They have 270 games, all of their losses are either checkmate or timeout. They did not resign once.
Surely lichess can take automatic measures against such cases. They are a pest and they are many of them. Once they have played a few games they are detectable using statistics and algorhytms, and be given automatic warnings and bans.
A bad connection can be detected. when someone's connection never temporarily drops off, but they have 20 timeouts and not a single resignation, you can tell they are doing it in purpose. Chess analysis can also tellbif they timed out from a disadvatageous position and after a setback, which are additional indicators.
If this goes on I might just try another platform. might be better, maybe.
iam_fidel commented :
Brother, they are on
RaggedRob commented :
Perhaps, it should prompt them to resign, if the position evaluation is bad and they have few or no good moves to consider?
But I believe, casual & young players, just tend to rage quit rather than taking trouble to find the resignation button.
Answered by skywalk
This is worse than cheaters in my opinion. At least with a cheater I can play my game out. Reporting is frustrating since there is no category for "No Resign" or "Time Down".
The system could check the current score and if player is "thinking" > 1 minute in a lost game and is on the report list, they are forfeited.
Answered by snommel
I have just witnessed a game where the player was timing down, clearly on purpose, as the other player was within checkmate, then he started giving time increments to the winning player until the winning player had nearly 20 minutes to wait before it timed out. I am SO tempted to post this jerk's name here, so you can all block him, but won't.

Poor sportsmanship needs to be punished.
MC_Bauchgefuehl commented :
But why does the winning player need to wait? He could just move.
And if it was the losing player not moving then there was no additional problem due to given time increments, because the time given to the winning player doesn't matter then.
Sorry, I don't see how giving time increment in any way could extend the waiting time, unless the winning player would give additional time to the losing player, who is not moving.
Lungenkrebs commented :
that doesnt make sense
iam_fidel commented :
Erhmmm... sorry, but I'm still trying to make sense out of this post. It is the losing player that is timing down, and not the winning player. So the time added to the winning player has no effect whatsoever in how long he'll have to wait for the time to run out. Unless he is increasing the losing opponent's time...

Please check your post again...
Answered by Bxh5
This happens to me all the time. I will *write the code* to prevent this kind of crap, can we please have harsher measures when someones timeout rate with losing positions gets too high over a large enough sample??
Answered by sonnyngei
I do not want to rule out the possibility of deliberately timing down, but let us give considerations to persons in poor network locations. Timing down is inevitable in these locations. i do not think he should be punished for something that was not his fault.
For a blitz game, i propose simply declaring the other person the winner if one persons time downs for 2mins, no further punishment please.
iam_fidel commented :
How about when it becomes habitual? Or when it's clear that the person timing down is in a totally lost position... Having to wait for time to run out when your opponent is in a lost position, can very easily cost you a tournament... Its really rude. Its bad chess.
Answered by sonnyngei
I do not want to rule out the possibility of deliberately timing down, but let us give considerations to persons in poor network locations. Timing down is inevitable in these locations. i do not think he should be punished for something that was not his fault.
For a blitz game, i propose simply declaring the other person the winner if one persons time downs for 2mins, while for classical 5mins. no further punishment please.
RaggedRob commented :
Frankly these "poor network locations" seem to afflict fast non-thinking players, when they realise that they have a dead lost position and your time allowance is actually increasing as you're playing faster than the increment.

I've had plenty of 10m classical delays with mate in 1, queen up in endgame and so forth, other people OTOH actually resign after a blunder, before I can even play a response.
Answered by thechessguy10
that happened to me on the person's account was closed.
Answered by juliegirl1999
Play shorter games. It's really that simple. Timing down may be a strategy of waiting and hoping that your computer will go off line.
RaggedRob commented :
Not good for your chess, not if you're trying to develop good habits, rather than playing "obvious natural" moves.

Only registered members with one week of lichess activity can contribute to the Q&A.