Originally posted by Squelchbelch
What's a sandbagger?
“Sandbagger” – A term used to define a chess player who has purposely (either through downright lying or game fixing) underinflated his or her chess abilities (usually his or her chess ratings). Since chess tournaments are organized by rankings, there are large incentives for players to try to play at lower levels. For those new to the game, this seems odd: usually you want to lie about how good you are, not how bad you are! Chess is strange due to the tournament structure. For example, one tournament might include rounds where players are ranked under 2100, under 1900, under 1500, and under 1200. A person ranked 1905 would be very unlikely to win the under 2100 tournament because he or she would be facing people with higher scores (all the way up to 2099!). However, simple lying or one or two purposely lost games can put that same chess player easily in the under 1900 range. This would be good for the chessplayer because for the under 1900 group, he would be a strong favorite for winning. “Sandbagging” is a sad result of people’s priorities. Especially when cash or prizes are given to tournament winners, players would much rather win a low ranking tournament round (ex. Under 1500) than have a better-than-average performance in a higher ranking round (ex. under 2100). Of course, the reality is the overwhelming majority of players in the under 2100 tournament round who didn’t win are “better” than the hypothetical under 1500 sandbagging champion. But at the end of the day, the sandbagger gets a trophy and his name printed up some where. That is all that is important to them. Because it skews and distorts the chess rating system, sandbagging is severely looked down upon. It tends, however, to be difficult to catch. The most common method of sandbagging, purposely losing games, can be hard to identify since people legitimately have cold snaps, losing streaks, and make huge blunders. People legitimately lose games all the time that they “should” have won. Thus, finding someone who loses games on purpose is difficult.