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Assigning Game Numbers and Locations

This is an excerpt from Organizing Successful Tournaments-4th Edition by John Byl.

The game numbers on the brackets for single-elimination, double-elimination, and multilevel tournaments were assigned with the assumption that there is one location. A couple of principles are used in assigning game numbers. The first principle is that game numbers should be assigned so that time between games is as equal as possible for each entry. The second principle is that when it is not possible to spread out the games equally, the higher seeds are given extra time. The extra time provides extra rest because they will compete in more contests in single- and double-elimination tournaments. In the example in figure 1.3, seed 1 is off for three games (or matches) before competing in game 5; seed 2 also has three games off. Seed 3 has only one game off, as does seed 4. In the next round, seed 1 has one game off, and seed 2 proceeds immediately to the next game. It was not possible to give each seed equal time off between games, thus the higher seed gains a slight advantage.

If we number the games 1 through 4 in order for each round, then seed 1 competes in games 1 and 5, and seed 2 competes in games 4 and 6. Seed 1 has three games off, and seed 2 has only one. For entries of a similar caliber, assigning game numbers in such a fashion is unnecessarily disadvantageous to seed 2.

If there are two or more locations, the same principles apply regarding the number of games off. In the example, games 1 and 2 are played first, then games 3 and 4, then games 5 and 6, and then the championship game. Seeds 1 and 2 both get a game off; the lower seeds (3 and 4) do not.

If there are two or more locations, then the locations need to be assigned to each game. If all the locations are identical, it does not matter to which location an entry is assigned. However, locations often differ slightly. For our purposes in this book and the accompanying website, location I is always the superior location, followed by location II, then location III, and so on. How do you decide which seeds are assigned to which location? There are two principles. The first principle for assigning locations is that the closer the seed numbers in a pair are to each other, the better the location. The second principle is that if several pairs of seeds are an equal number apart, the higher seed gets the better location.

In the example, using two locations, the order of games is as follows:

Location I 2 3 6 7

Location II 1 4 5

Game 2 is between seed 7 and seed 2, which is a difference of 5; game 1 is between seed 8 and seed 1, which is a difference of 7. Thus, game 2 is assigned the best location. The only exception to this rule is when there is a large tournament in which seed 16 might be competing against seed 14 (a difference of two) and seed 4 might be competing at the same time against seed 1 (a difference of three). If several locations are available, and the tournament is in the last two rounds, then seed 1 and seed 4 would get the preferred location over seeds 14 and 16. A tournament-scheduling grid is supplied in figure 1.4 to post with the tournament brackets so participants know when and where their next game is. The home team should be determined by assigning the higher-seeded team as the home team or by a coin toss or other predetermined means (you can see the home team designation on the brackets as indicated by the letter h on the draw sheets). The schedule templates that go with this book on the accompanying website calculate all these details automatically. Use the following tournament schedule to write in the games, locations, dates, and times.

Learn more about Organizing Successful Tournaments, Fourth Edition.

More Excerpts From Organizing Successful Tournaments 4th Edition