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I believe armageddon is fair only if they bid, but just because they bid doesn't mean it's fair, i.e. bidding is necessary but not sufficient to be fair. Which side has the advantage in an Armageddon tiebreak game?

So let's still have armageddon auction as one-time bid / single shot, but make it Vickrey auction instead of blind auction.

Paraphrasing what Jim Ratliff says here:

It would be superior if the rule were, instead of (a) the winning (i.e., lower) bidder gets their own bid on their clock, that (b) the winning bidder receives the other player's bid on the winning bidder's clock. This would be a form of a second-price auction, where each player has the incentive to bid their true value. Otherwise, each player A has an incentive to try to outguess their opponent B and just barely undercut B's bid, even if in fact player A would have been willing to accept even less time in exchange for their colour of choice (usually black).

Consider recently in 2023 champions chess tour Airthings Masters magnus vs hikaru, where the bids were Hikaru Nakamura 8:59 and Magnus Carlsen 8:58.

If Magnus is just guessing Hikaru would pick 8:59 whereas Magnus would go as low as, say, 7:00, then Magnus has a 2 minute advantage. Unsurprisingly, Magnus won and did so specifically by draw odds.

So I guess on the surface it appears that Hikaru had a 7 minute time advantage over Magnus but really Magnus had a 2 minute advantage over, well, Magnus.

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  • Use armageddon if some other practical means do not work. Alternatives are fisher random chess in blitz and bullet. This will test the player's ability to adapt in a different environment.
    – ferdy
    Commented Feb 10, 2023 at 1:19
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    Best strategy in a second price auction is to bid their intended time. I won't say it's more fair, but it certainly takes out more non-chess stuff which is desirable for a chess tourney.
    – jf328
    Commented Feb 10, 2023 at 10:07
  • @jf328 ok so my question is wrong. thanks. you may post that as an answer.
    – BCLC
    Commented Mar 18 at 8:53

2 Answers 2

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No, it's not more fair, and doesn't prevent trying to guess what the other person bid. Unlike most auctions, in armageddon you care about what price your opponent pays even if you lose the bid. The two methods are more or less just as fair as each other; the incentives are just reversed.

In your scenario, Hikaru wants 8:59 and Magnus wants 7:00. In a normal auction with those bids, Magnus would get the bid for 7:00. So Magnus is better off bidding 8:58 to slightly undercut Hikaru and still win the bid.

In a Vickrey auction, with bids of 8:59 and 7:00, Magnus would get the bid for 8:59, and bidding more than 7:00 will not help him. But now it's Hikaru who is incentivized to bid differently. He's better off bidding 7:01, so Magnus gets 7:01 instead of 8:59.

Also, in this scenario Magnus wanted 7:00 and got 8:58. In a Vickrey auction, if everyone bids honestly, he would want 7:00 and get... 8:59. It seems weird to say it's unfair that he gets so much time, and advocate for a method where he would get even more time.

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  • Oh yeah I kinda figured out something like this already. Thanks D M. Do you disagree with jf328 who said 'Best strategy in a second price auction is to bid their intended time. I won't say it's more fair, but it certainly takes out more non-chess stuff which is desirable for a chess tourney.' ? – Feb 10, 2023 at 10:07
    – BCLC
    Commented Mar 21 at 10:52
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    I do disagree. The best strategy in most second price auctions is to bid what you intend. But chess is a special case because it's a zero-sum game; you care just as much about your opponent's time as you do yours.
    – D M
    Commented Mar 21 at 11:28
  • Oh wait wrong question. Thanks. I mean just the 2nd part 'I won't say it's more fair, but it certainly takes out more non-chess stuff which is desirable for a chess tourney.' – Feb 10, 2023 at 10:07' Do you disagree?
    – BCLC
    Commented Mar 21 at 14:43
  • Still disagree for the same reason, if "non-chess stuff" means trying to guess your opponent's bid (which I assume it does.).
    – D M
    Commented Mar 21 at 20:16
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jf328

'Best strategy in a second price auction is to bid their intended time. I won't say it's more fair, but it certainly takes out more non-chess stuff which is desirable for a chess tourney.' - Feb 10, 2023 at 10:07

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