Organizing a Tournament
In order to hold a tournament, a number of decisions should be made and clearly communicated to the participants. These include:
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When organizing a tournament, choose an appropriate date. Try to find a date that does not conflict with other tournaments too much by looking at the tournament calendar of your own country, as well as other possibly relevant calendars (neighbouring countries, the European go tournament calendar, etc).
You start time should be chosen in such a way that it allows you to play the number of rounds you want, but should also allow enough time before the start for players to travel to your location.
The best location depends on your tournaments. For small, informal tournaments, it is often fine to play in bars or restaurants, especially if they have the option to give you a separate playing hall away from noise. For larger tournaments, you might look at renting a hall or checking the availability of locations for other mind sports, like chess centers.
Some tournaments are open to all comers, others restrict entry based on rating or other qualifiers.
In all cases, you should note clearly what fees (if any) players are expected to pay in order to participate, and whether there a discounts available for some players. Common discounts include those for children, students, weaker players or stronger players.
Usually, when organizing a tournament, you will use the ruleset that is used by your national go association. If you plan not to follow this practice, communicate this clearly to participants.
Other than a ruleset, you will have to announce tournament specific rules, such as:
There are several tournament formats that you can use. The best one depends on the circumstances. As a rough guide, some of the tournament systems are discussed here.
Generally, tournaments have several purposes. These might include:
- Determining a single winner amongst the participants.
- Ordering players by playing strength.
- Giving players an opportunity to compete.
The priority or the above purposes should be a factor in the choice of your tournament setup.
Seeing pairing pages for more detailed information.
The Round Robin tournament system gives players ample opportunity to compete, and is very good at ordering players by strength, though it does not necessarily result in a single winner. In most settings however, round robin is unrealistic, because it requires a number of rounds roughly equal to the number of players. For large groups of players, time constraints do not usually allow this. It is mostly popular in small groups or when a lot of time is available (such as in a year long competition). In some situations, you can divide the group of players into smaller groups, and have each sub-group play round robin. This is often popular in combination with a system for promoting and demoting players from one group to another based on their performance.
The Knock-Out tournament system is very good at determining a single winner, and requires a relatively small number of rounds to do this (the 2 log of the number of players). Its drawbacks include that it is not good at ordering players other than the tournament winner, and it does not give most players a lot of opportunity to play, as most players are eliminated early.
The Swiss tournament system is still reasonably good at determining a single winner, and is also quite reasonable at ordering the other participants. All participants will also be able to play in all rounds. If the number of rounds is equal to log base 2 of the number of players, it will determine the winner just as well as knock-out would. If it is larger than that, it becomes more like round robin, in that it becomes better at ordering players, but ties for first place may occur.
The McMahon system is a variant of the Swiss system, which awards players some initial points based on their grade/rating prior to the tournament. This has the drawback that many players will never be able to win the tournament, but the advantage is that it needs even less rounds than Swiss to determine a winner, and also that it eliminates games whose outcome is extremely predictable (such as a 4 dan playing a 7 kyu). Other than that, it has the same advantages and drawback as Swiss. All players can play all rounds, with the added advantage that they will generally play against interesting opponents (of roughly the same strength).
Don't forget to state in advance the winning criteria or Tiebreakers.
- Mostly used is Absolute Timing ('Sudden Death') for blitz and normal games and
- Absolute Timing plus Canadian Timing (for Overtime / Byoyomi); see also progressive overtime (10-20-30-.. stones in 5 minutes) and Total Average Timing
- The path page Time Systems collects more ideas for time keeping in tournaments and other contests.
- Do you have enough material (boards, stones, clocks) to allow all the participants to play?
- Are there prizes? Who is eligible to win a prize?
- Can you use any Tournament Directing Software
- Do you want to broadcast the games, or record them for later?
- How are you going to report? See Tournament reports.