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Oct 11, 1998, 3:00:00 AM10/11/98

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I'm curious as to what people would suggest as the tournament format

that would best ensure that the final results were reflective of

skill. The format should assume a tournament that might take two days

or more of play to complete.

that would best ensure that the final results were reflective of

skill. The format should assume a tournament that might take two days

or more of play to complete.

Two things are obvious:

1. Any format should be seeded, to ensure that the better players are

not concentrated in any one competitive group.

2. The more backgammon that is played, the better.

(Before I go further, let me say that I'm somewhat but not

overwhelmingly interested in considerations of convenience and

logistics, and that answers should be given without respect to match

length, but only in relative terms. That is, if you assume that a

single 15-point match takes as long to play as (say) 4 5-point

matches, that should be a consideration in choosing between two

formats that would employ either one long match or four shorter ones.

But either format could be based on longer or shorter matches, with

similar changes in effectiveness.

Let's say you are playing a small local tournament. You choose to

play single elimination with random draw and 5-point matches. It

doesn't really matter that much that the best players will not always

win, or even that a really weak player might win now and then. Over

time, the better players will win the most and that's what you sort of

hope for.

I'm not looking for something with drama, test of mettle, or the like.

Single elimination has that drama and tension throughout, and you can

never complain that something happened in a match between two other

players. But it might not provide the highest chance of the best

player winning. Even in a seeded format, there is enough luck that a

clearly better player could lose to a weaker one in a medium or even

long match. You now have the best player sitting on the sidelines

while the tournament continues, when he could be demonstrating his

skill.

I'd like to make a suggestion as to a format, but I'm posting this as

fodder for thought and to stimulate discussion. I'm going to assume

you have 64 players, and six sessions to complete play in. Clearly,

one alternative would be a single-elimination bracket. Is there a

better way?

You begin by dividing the players into groups of approximately equal

size and strength. In each group, you play a round-robin. A certain

number of players from each group qualify to the next round. A

percentage of the score is carried over, say 50%

In the second round you again play a round-robin, with a percentage

carryover, and then a third round-robin. Eventually you come down to

four players. They play a round-robin of longer matches, with the top

two qualifying for a finals, with carryover.

For example:

Start with 64 players, in 8 groups of 8. Play a round-robin of

5-point matches, 7 in all. Qualify the top 4 in each group. In case

of ties, perhaps have a tiebreak procedure if there is a tie at 3-4

but guarantee everyone with a record of 4-3 a place in the next round.

Now, take 32 players in 4 groups of 8 (if one or two groups has 9,

this isn't a major problem other than scheduling). Cut to 16 players,

with scores being matches won in the second round plus half the

matches won in the first round. Bear in mind that some of the

randomness of the strength of the field is being somewhat quickly

eliminated.

The next round might have longer matches, say, two groups of 8 playing

a complete round-robin of 9-point matches, qualifying only the top 2

from each group. Again, score is half the score after the previous

round plus score from this round. So first-round matches by this

point are counting 1/4 and second-round matches counting 1/2; also

ties are becoming far fewer.

The final four play a round-robin of 9-point matches. The top two

qualify for the finals. The finals might be a 19-point match or

thereabout, BUT the player with the best cumulative score in the

qualifying rounds starts with a score equal to his margin over second.

For example, let's say players A and B won the following:

A B

Round 1 5 6

(carryover) 2.5 3

Round 2 4 5

(carryover) 3.25 4.00

Round 3 5 5

(Carryover) 4.12 4.50

Round 4 3 1

Total score 7.12 5.50

In the fourth rond, player A won all three matches while the other

three players each won and lost one against the other two opponents.

Player A of course qualified for the finals, player B advanced since

his carryover from previous rounds happened to be highest of the three

others. In the finals, player A starts with a 1.62 point advantage

over Player B, rounded to 2, so the finals starts 2-0 to 19.

Is this complicated? Well, probably more difficult to understand than

to actually do. I hope what I've suggested is vaguely clear. The

real question is - is this more likely to produce a situation where

the best player wins, the second-best player is second, etc., than six

rounds of single-elimination play where each match takes as long to

complete as would a round-robin of 7 5-point matches?

A second question. In a single-elimination bracket, which is better:

1. A single match to X points; or

2. Best 2-out-of-3 or 3-out-of-5 of matches to Y points;

where the expected total time to complete each option is the same.

Just looking for ideas and input - thanks.

Oct 11, 1998, 3:00:00 AM10/11/98

to

Hank Youngerman wrote:

>

> I'm curious as to what people would suggest as the tournament format

> that would best ensure that the final results were reflective of

> skill. The format should assume a tournament that might take two days

> or more of play to complete.

>

> Two things are obvious:

>

> 1. Any format should be seeded, to ensure that the better players are

> not concentrated in any one competitive group.

>

> 2. The more backgammon that is played, the better.

>

[snip]>

> I'm curious as to what people would suggest as the tournament format

> that would best ensure that the final results were reflective of

> skill. The format should assume a tournament that might take two days

> or more of play to complete.

>

> Two things are obvious:

>

> 1. Any format should be seeded, to ensure that the better players are

> not concentrated in any one competitive group.

>

> 2. The more backgammon that is played, the better.

>

For 64 players, I would suggest a 6 to 8 round Swiss tournament with 7

point matches at each round. This guarantees that everybody plays 6 or

8 matches regardless of performance, and in the last several rounds,

they play against players who are at a similar perfomance level with

each other.

In case you are not familiar with the Swiss system:

1- sort all 64 players according to their rating (this is why you need

an accurate rating system)

2- divide the group into two halves from the center and pair up the

first round in such a way that player ranked 1 plays against the one

ranked 33, 2 against 34, 3 against 35, etc.

3- Once the first round matches are finished, line up the winners (again

rating order), divide the group into two; pair them up like you did in

the first round... similarly , pair up the losers. There are rules to

deal with the odd playes, etc. that I will not get into details at this

point, but let me know if you need these details. Note that two players

cannot play against ech other more than once.

4- At the end of the second round, pair up all the players who won two

matches; then pair up those who won only one; then pair up those who

lost both matches.

5- Proceed in a similar fashion with pairings until all te rounds are

done.

This system was created to identify a clear winner from a large group of

participants in a few rounds. It has been tremendously successfull in

chess tournaments and has took over the traditional round-robin system

for most open tournaments.

Hope this will add to your library of tournament format ideas.

Cheers..Osman

--

Osman F. Guner

os...@prodigy.net

http://pages.prodigy.net/osman

Oct 13, 1998, 3:00:00 AM10/13/98

to

In article <362120f4.32225351@news>, Hank Youngerman

<hankyou...@home.com> writes

>

>You begin by dividing the players into groups of approximately equal

>size and strength. In each group, you play a round-robin. A certain

>number of players from each group qualify to the next round. A

>percentage of the score is carried over, say 50%

>

>In the second round you again play a round-robin, with a percentage

>carryover, and then a third round-robin. Eventually you come down to

>four players. They play a round-robin of longer matches, with the top

>two qualifying for a finals, with carryover.

>

It sounds a pretty good format for sorting out the most skilful players;

the problem I foresee is that round-robins can be difficult to keep

organised - if players finishing games pick their next opponents at

random from those currently idle, you can end up with a backlog of games

and players unable to find a fresh opponent. Also, slow players can

cause horrendous problems when they have to get through 7 matches. An

alternative would be within each group of 8, play it like a four-round

mini-Swiss. If the top 4 go through, then good players have to lose at

least twice, usually 3 times to get knocked out. There's enough slack in

the pairings that you don't end up waiting for two individuals to be

free to pair up for the last round, and enough play to make sure skilful

players will (probably) make it through to later rounds.

<hankyou...@home.com> writes

>

>You begin by dividing the players into groups of approximately equal

>size and strength. In each group, you play a round-robin. A certain

>number of players from each group qualify to the next round. A

>percentage of the score is carried over, say 50%

>

>In the second round you again play a round-robin, with a percentage

>carryover, and then a third round-robin. Eventually you come down to

>four players. They play a round-robin of longer matches, with the top

>two qualifying for a finals, with carryover.

>

the problem I foresee is that round-robins can be difficult to keep

organised - if players finishing games pick their next opponents at

random from those currently idle, you can end up with a backlog of games

and players unable to find a fresh opponent. Also, slow players can

cause horrendous problems when they have to get through 7 matches. An

alternative would be within each group of 8, play it like a four-round

mini-Swiss. If the top 4 go through, then good players have to lose at

least twice, usually 3 times to get knocked out. There's enough slack in

the pairings that you don't end up waiting for two individuals to be

free to pair up for the last round, and enough play to make sure skilful

players will (probably) make it through to later rounds.

--

Julian Hayward 'Booles' on FIBS jul...@ratbag.demon.co.uk

+44-1344-640656 http://www.ratbag.demon.co.uk/

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