A reader alerts me to an innovative format that can be used to determine the winners of a four-team pool. This is usually done with a round robin, in which each of the four teams plays each of the other teams once (or, sometimes, twice). The Dual Tournament format instead plays a bracket that’s essentially a single elimination with a consolation to determine second place. What are the advantages and disadvantages?
What with most people staying at home to hide from the Covid-19 virus, there has been a good deal of interest in moving some tournaments that used to be played face to face to the internet. Challonge provides internet web services for tournaments of various kinds, and is particularly suitable for the new virtual tourneys. It has, among other functions, a “bracket generator“. I took a look at the kind of bracket it generates.
This post will complete the FEPS analysis of my recent backgammon tourney, run according to the Swiss system, by considering the fourth goal of tournament design: spectacle. Spectacle is not the glory of the Swiss system.
Whatever its other virtues and defects, the Swiss system is not good at catering to the needs of spectators. It is not good at producing high-stakes loser-goes-home matches. And it is not even good at producing a clear winner. There are good reasons why the Swiss system is all but unknown in professional sports.
We’ll continue the FEPS analysis of the Swiss backgammon tourney run last weekend, turning our attention to fairness. The results are, as might be expected, somewhat different depending for the different aspects of fairness. Fairness is experienced differently by different players. Continue reading “A Backgammon Swiss: Fairness”
Continuing with the FEPS analysis that compares the 32-player Swiss backgammon tourney I ran on Saturday with a format commonly used in past events. Now let’s consider how the two compare in the item of efficiency. There are two main aspects of efficiency to consider: the time needed to run the tourney, and the time and attention of the tournament director.
Last weekend I ran a 32-player backgammon tourney using true Swiss system pairings rather than the more usual bracketed elimination format.
There is much to consider in choosing between the two styles. In this post, I’ll consider the most obvious differences from the standpoint of participation.
A reader asked for advice about how to run a league for Padel – a racquet sport that’s somewhat akin to tennis or squash. He expects to have about 30 teams, and wants to play the league in three months, at one match per week for each player.
First, a side observation about the request. I find that I’m more likely to be asked about games and sports I haven’t heard of than about the ones that I’m already familiar with. Perhaps that’s because the well-established sports also have established traditions for how their tourneys are run. It’s the new sports, or at least the less common ones, for which organizers seek the help of the likes of tourneygeek. And so it’s these less common sports that are likely to generate interesting new ideas about how tourneys should be run.
The reader suggested a creative format: Start with a group stage, with groups of four. Then use the group stage to seed a double-elimination bracket thus: group winners go to round 2 of the upper bracket; group runners-up go to round 1 of the upper bracket; third-place teams go to round 2 of the lower bracket; and fourth-place teams go to round 1 of the lower bracket. Will this work? Is there a better way?
It is time, finally, to venture with gun and camera into the heart of darkness – making Swiss pairings. As our trusty native guide, we’ll use Bwana USCF – Chapter 2 of the USCF Official Rules of Chess (7th edition). Chess players have been running Swiss tournaments for years, so darkest Switzerland holds no terror for Bwana USCF. Still, we must be alert to the possibility the Bwana USCF will try to lead us into occult rituals peculiar to the needs of Chess.
There was one eye-catching feature of the small backgammon tourney we discussed yesterday. That was that it included only a partial last chance. Why would anyone run a partial last chance? Presumably, it’s because there isn’t enough time to run a full one. Let’s take a closer look at that issue.
Before discussing the ways that the Swiss system might be adapted to run small backgammon tournaments, let me show why I think something along these lines is needed by discussing the current practice for many such tournaments.