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Topic: Tournament Structure Discussion
Replies: 3   Views: 31,065   Pages: 1   Last Post: Nov 19, 2003, 11:42 PM by: dweebo

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Posts: 542
Registered: May 9, 2002
From: Northeast USA
Tournament Structure Discussion
Posted: Nov 16, 2003, 3:40 AM

Good Day all pente enthusiasts,

In my opinion there hasn't been enough use of the forums here lately so I decided to pick a topic that would be good to chit-chat about and start the ball rolling.

The topic for today is tournament structure. I am not alone in feeling like it has been a long time since the big DSG 4 tournament kicked off and many of us are eagerly awaiting the announcement for DSG 5 which will hopefully be bigger and better than ever! I have a feeling that some folks are busy planning it out right now. But before things become official I figure that the pente community might want to have some healthy input into how they would like to see things happen this time around.

Thus far, the two different structures that have been used for the big tournaments here at DSG have been Double Elimination and the Swiss System. Each has pros and cons and I can understand the arguments why folks would prefer to have it one way or the other. Personally, I don't really like the Swiss System. I'm not sure why. I admit that it is a well conceived system for many reasons and just one of the big advantages it has over Double Elimination is that it allows all participants to play many tournament games without feeling like you waited all year for the tournament only to get ousted right off the bat. Still, there's something exciting and inherently "tournament-like" about having brackets that culminate in the two surviving participants battling it out for the title. Well, let's try to put our creative juices to work and figure out a system that provides both of these positive elements, shall we? The system I propose below does just that, drawing its inspiration from the most recent structure used for the World Cup Soccer tournaments.

Assume that we get exactly 32 entrants. Perhaps if we get more, the "late arrivals" can battle for the last few spots in some kind of qualifiers or something -- anyway, it's an assumption that makes life easier.

Split these 32 entrants into 8 groups of four. Any logical grouping could be used in theory, but this is how it's done in the World Cup. I would further propose that the Top 8 entrants (based on active, non-provisional ratings at DSG) each get their own group, everyone else gets placed by luck of the draw.

Each group plays a Round Robin Tournament. This means that each player plays one match against each of the other three players in their group:
1 vs 2, 3 vs 4, 1 vs 3, 2 vs 4, 1 vs 4, 2 vs 3
In soccer, each match can end in a victory (3 points), a draw (1 point), or a loss (0 points). If we want to use this sort of approach within our Round Robin matches, we can define a Round Robin match to be exactly one set -- each player plays one game as white and the other as black. Winning the set 2-0 is a victory (3 points), splitting games 1-1 is a draw (1 point each), Losing the set 0-2 is a loss (0 points). Alternately, we can use the idea that you must "win-by-two", repeatedly playing sets until one person has won a set 2-0 (ie, no draws). In either case, at the end of the Round Robin structure, game result points are totaled. The top two competitors move on to the Elimination Round.

Granted, given the nature of pente, there may be many cases of a tie in the standings. Soccer matches often end in a draw also but there are many tie-breaking rules that come into play if two teams have the same number of match result points and tie for second place within the group. In fact, all four teams could easily tie for 1st place if every match is a draw. In pente, there are not so many tie-breaker possibilities. The only one that makes sense is a "head-to-head" review. For example, if exactly two competitors tie for second place within a group, and one has beaten the other in their head-to-head match, then that competitor advances. Otherwise, a tie-breaking match (with no draws allowed) would have to be played to see who advances. If all four players had tied standings, a semifinal and final playoff structure would ensue. If there were a 3-way tie for 1st or a 3-way tie for second then it just gets ugly

Thus, 16 teams makes it through to the Elimination Round, which is a single elimination bracket style tournament for the title. These games should be played using sets, where one player must win a set 2-0 to advance.

This format ensures that all participants get a minimum of 3 tournament games. Of course if larger groups are used there could be an even higher guaranteed minimum. Once large drawback that I can see is that if a player loses his first two games and it appears mathematically impossible for him to advance, it is sort of on your honor that you show up and play your third game to the best of your ability since the outcome most likely have an effect on which other competitors will advance.

If we want folks to have even more games to play, we can structure "consolation" games in the following way:
-- the two losers of the semifinals play for 3rd place.
-- the four losers of the quarterfinals play a four player elimination bracket for 5th place. The two losers in this bracket play for 7th place.
-- the eight losers of the round of 16 play an 8 player elimination bracket for 9th place. 9th place through 16th place can be precisely determined in a similar way as 1st through 8th above.
-- All players that do NOT qualify for the Elimination Round can qualify for a "consolation tournament", where, essentially they are all playing for 17th place (kind of like the winner of the college basketball's NIT tournament can claim 65th place ). This will mirror exactly the breakdown of the Elimination Tournament to determine which place everyone achieves in this tournament.

There are many ways that this proposed system can be tweaked. It's just one creative alternative to the "standard" Double Elimination or Swiss System formats.

Maybe all you pente addicts out there have your own ideas that you'd like to sound off on for how upcoming tournaments should be structured! Well that's what these forums are for! Use em! Or maybe you'd like to critique my proposal. Please do! I'd love to see other folks thoughts and opinions on the subject.


P.S. I'd LOVE to see, in addition to the big pente tournament, a keyro-pente tournament, a poof-pente tournament AND a d-pente tournament all as part of the DSG tournament 5 event.

If d-pente is not expressly supported at DSG by then it can easily be played anyway as follows: One player lists in the chat window the first four moves, two for white and two for black. Optionally, the two players can play an unrated, unofficial game to "set up the pieces". The player that is sitting in the player 1 seat will be the player that will be deciding on which color he wants for the "official game". The timer for the unofficial game will be set to 10/5. The first four moves must be played quickly enough so that the player one has more than or equal to 10 minutes remaining on his timer when his analysis of the position begins. He must type the phrase "white" or "black" into the chat window before his time expires else he loses the game (or for all the anal types that see some small flaw with this approach, place a stone somewhere on the A row to indicate white, place a stone somewhere on the T row to indicate black -- whatever). Of course, since the player who chooses the color does have a small advantage (although this can be countered in theory with a significant home analysis counter advantage), if d-pente WERE supported by the site, I would propose that the time spent in analysis of the initial position be used up from his game timer. Thus, the relatively "short" time limit of 10 minutes is used to simulate this handicap. Furthermore, etiquette common sense will tell you that you should be prepared ahead of time with a few d-pente initial positions that you plan to use in your match so that when it is your turn to declare the initial position you do not waste a lot of time trying to come up with one on the spot. Next, the game is cancelled, the correct seating is established, and the "official" game may commence with a normal tournament timer. The official game would also be unrated though since non-tournament rule positions are allowed in d-pente.


Posts: 375
Registered: Dec 16, 2001
Age: 40
Re: Tournament Structure Discussion
Posted: Nov 17, 2003, 8:34 PM

why one point for a draw and 3 for a win? I think a player who wins one and lsoes one shouldscore the same opints as a player who draws twice.


Posts: 542
Registered: May 9, 2002
From: Northeast USA
Re: Tournament Structure Discussion
Posted: Nov 17, 2003, 9:27 PM

Good point Dmitri. I think the reason that they do it that way in soccer is to promote aggressive, higher scoring play which is better for fans. Also, especially in round robin format, there is a tendency to "play for a tie" in cases where both competitors are mathematically guaranteed to advance if they tie. It is certainly debatable whether these concepts have anything to do with pente so this point and many other points in the proposed system can certainly be tweaked to suit our needs however we think makes the most sense.


Posts: 1,032
Registered: Dec 16, 2001
From: Powell, OH
Age: 37
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Re: Tournament Structure Discussion
Posted: Nov 19, 2003, 11:42 PM

We always have lots of discussion about tournaments, especially right before we get ready to start one! We are almost ready for sign-up to start, just clearing up a few details. We already decided some time ago to use the swiss system for both the A and B sections, we'll see how that goes. Sign-up will most likely be for a long period, since we want to start AFTER the holidays.

I am very disappointed in myself, for not getting this tournament moving quicker, that has consistently been a problem for me, keeping up with tournaments. Hopefully this one will run a little faster. I still dream of more support within the game room for tournaments, but I doubt I'll have time to get that setup.

I would like to add support for D-Pente, it's just one more thing that I don't have enough time for right now However your idea for how to play it would work just fine for now.

Maybe after tournament 5 winds down we can start some smaller, quicker tournaments to try out different formats like you've suggested.

Pente Rocks!
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