Design for a small-group competition

[Revised: 2020-11-23]

INTRODUCTION
We want a format for a one-day local competition. We expect 12-20 teams to participate. Teams have not been seeded (ranked for relative skill) before the competition. We want the competition to allow most teams to play several games, but we don’t want the competition to be too physically grueling. We want the competition to have a qualifiers phase to seed the teams, followed by a playoff phase to determine the winner(s). The qualifiers phase should take around four hours to complete. We want the design for the qualifiers phase to be robust— to easily handle a case where there is an odd number of teams or a team drops out before the end of the competition. The playoff phase is a single-elimination competition allowing approximately one hour for two simultaneous semi-final games, followed by approximately one hour for the final game.

THE COMPETITION FORMAT
The qualifier phase consists of a partial Round Robin of short-form games: games played to 6 ends. (For our page of pre-calculated matchups, visit our Round Robin schedules page.) Note that after 6 ends the two teams may have the same score, and one or both of the teams may have more than 13 points.

A game of 6 ends should take approximately 30 minutes to play. Scheduling games at 45-minute intervals allows all games in a round to finish and for players to have a 5-10 minute break between games. Scheduling 15-minute breaks after every other game insures that players get reasonable rest periods during the competition and builds flexibility into the schedule. Five short-form games means that each team is guaranteed about 2.5 hours of playing time during the qualifier phase of the competition. A team may drop out of the competition at any time.

08:00‑08:45am COMPETITION BEGINS. Team registration and check-in
08:45‑09:00am Team match-ups are announced, along with competition-level rules, etc.
9:00‑09:45 short-form game 1
9:45‑10:30 short-form game 2
10:30-10:45 15 min break
10:45‑11:30 short-form game 3
11:30‑12:15 short-form game 4
12:15-1:00 LUNCH BREAK (45 minutes)
1:00‑1:45 short-form game 5
1:45‑2:00 15 min break. The control table assess the results of the qualification phase and announces the teams to play in the semifinals
2:00‑3:00? PLAYOFF PHASE STARTS. Two simultaneous semifinal games are played to 11 points
3:00?-3:15? 15 min break
3:15?-4:30? final game played to 13 points
4:30? COMPETITION ENDS. Congratulations and prizes to the winners

Note that the schedule is flexible and ad hoc changes are possible. For example short-form game 5 could be eliminated, it could switch time-slots with lunch, etc.

The results of the qualification phase will be determined using the following procedure.

  • A team’s points differential is the number of points by which it won or lost a game. If team A beats team B with a score of 9-6, team A’s points differential for that game is 3; team B’s points differential is -3. In case of a tie, both teams have a points differential of zero.
  • After all qualifier games have been played, each team’s average points differential (APD) is calculated, and the teams are ranked by their APDs, then by average total points. A team’s APD is its total points differential, divided by the number of games that the team played.
  • In the semi-finals, the team ranked #1 plays team #3, and team #2 plays team #4.

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