This is a suggestion of how the European Championship could be decided unambiguously and without outside interference through a double elimination tournament, without separating it from the European Open completely.
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Suggestion: Select the 16 top players based on peak rating in the period since the last congress (i.e. starting with the resulting rating of last year's congress).
Optional: Allow the organizers to nominate one player (local champion, youth talent, or similar), and select the remaining 15 by peak rating as above.
The top McMahon bar should be set in such a way that there are between 12 and 20 players in the top group. If no setting achieves this, use a top bar resulting in the smallest possible number of players larger than 20, then use a super group of 16 players from this top group. These players, and those in the Top 16, start with an equal number of points for McMahon purposes.
The European Open is played as any other McMahon tournament, with players on equal MMS paired amongst themselves, avoidance of pairing the same players twice, and mostly fold pairing based on SOS within score groups (Same Country/Same Club avoidance only in lower groups).
The European Championship is played as follows:
Bass: You would need some serious marketing skills to make the strong Korean players want to come to the tournament, since the system would guarantee that their only interesting matches would be against other Koreans for the first week and a half of the tournament. Maybe something along the lines of having a superbowl type special event on the final day, with the winner of the "eastern division" (open tournament) facing the new European Champion (western division) to decide the Overall Champion of the Congress. Or something. :-)
Herman: This is not true, because the players in the winners bracket play rounds 3, 5 and 7 in the Open. That means that except for rounds 1 and 2, at least 8 of the top 16, including the very strongest, will be playing in the Open. And since those in the winners bracket will not be paired against each other, they are pretty much guaranteed to play against strong Koreans (e.g. if there are 16 players in the top of the Open, then the 4 of them with 2 wins after round 2 will all meet a top 4 European)
Bass: Sorry, my mistake.
isd: It might be that CJK players simply come to congress to enjoy Europe. I think the top CJK players already know they are better than European players and wouldn't be that interested in playing them.. ? Just a thought :)
RobertJasiek: The geatest disadvantage is the possible small number of 5 wins to become the European Champion. The disadvantage is so great that your otherwise cute construction is not good enough.
Herman This is a generic comment that double elimination is a bad system. I disagree, and given the fact that even single elimination is in wide use in top events, so do most other tournament organizers, it seems. In the current system, you can be European Champion with 7 wins against mostly 3-5 dans, while never having played against most other top Europeans, so my system is clearly an improvement over that.
RobertJasiek: Regardless of what I think of double elimination as a system per se, my comment above is not meant to be a generic comment that double elimination is a bad system. - If you look at earlier EGCs, you will notice that the EChampion usually wins 8 to 10 games.
Herman: Actually, the most usual score for EC in the last 12 years is 7, especially in recent years with the participation of strong Asian players. With the current system, top European players can generally expect to play 2-3 of their games against Asian players, and 1-3 games against weak European players. Effectively they only play about half their games against other top Europeans and need to win 4 or 5 of those to be EC.
RobertJasiek: I will post a table on life_in_19x19.
Bass Another kind of tournament bracket could be used to give more games to the winners' bracket; the only (AFAIK) reason DE has one bracket missing half of the rounds is that the system can easily be generalized for any number of players that way.
Willemien I have more and more problems with it. Maybe if it could be transformed into a 6 or 7 rounds swiss tournament then I think it would be okay. But can we discuss this all at [the discussion at L19| http://www.lifein19x19.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=45&t=727&p=12420#p12420 ]
tapir: I wonder if the current system will lead one day to the opposite result, that a player contending for overall victory in the egc, will lose that one on a tie breaker because he was playing in the european championship sub-tournament.