Seeding and Rankings Debate

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Steviola
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Re: Seeding and Rankings Debate

Post by Steviola » Thu Sep 01, 2011 9:44 pm

From the point of view of an experienced organiser, I would strongly discourage the BFA imposing certain formats and event structures. Tournament organisers go to extreme efforts and should be allowed great flexibility on the way their tournament will run.

This thread is hilarious, although the offensive nature of some of the posts is quite surprising. Why should Rich have to put up with this bull? The very suggestion that a "witch hunt" might occur on the basis of a disputed event format is worrying - surely you lot have more interesting things to be doing?

For the record Jon, I was one of those dastardly "experienced tournament organisers" that manipulated, sorry, I mean "advised", Rich on the seedings for the KO stages. Having discussed the subject at length with two other equally evil "experienced tournament organisers", it was felt that the fairest solution would be to seed the KO stages by BFA rank. I definitely did not benefit from the decision.

You can argue the toss off of it but there are pros and cons for doing it either way: At the end of the day a decision had to be made.

I agree with you James that transparency is very important. After all, if it was known for certain how the rankings were to be seeded, then Jon would have won his group, everyone would've performed like their rank suggests they would, and STILL you would have missed out on the money/Jon would have played Tom in the final/someone would've got screwed over by goal difference because they were slightly worse than the other guy.

Happy foosing

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Re: Seeding and Rankings Debate

Post by Jonathan may » Thu Sep 01, 2011 9:53 pm

Steve, I have post-registered for Isha, but haven't received a confirmation. Can I still attend?
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Matt Price
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Re: Seeding and Rankings Debate

Post by Matt Price » Thu Sep 01, 2011 9:54 pm

Steviola wrote:From the point of view of an experienced organiser, I would strongly discourage the BFA imposing certain formats and event structures. Tournament organisers go to extreme efforts and should be allowed great flexibility on the way their tournament will run.
Point taken. However, I feel that imposing something like this would actually take the pressure off a TO rather than make their job more difficult. They would not have to deal with issues like this, they would be in no doubt over which format to use and, given that you acknowledge their are pros and cons for both methods it would allow consistency.

Although Jon I accept that an agreement of an acceptable 'endorsed' method might be hard to reach.

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Re: Seeding and Rankings Debate

Post by Steviola » Thu Sep 01, 2011 10:09 pm

Matt - it's negligible.

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Re: Seeding and Rankings Debate

Post by ed_taylor » Thu Sep 01, 2011 10:21 pm

It is good to hear the opinions and views of everybody here. I want to make clear that I don't think either I or other people posting here ever intended to hand out 'abuse' or offence to anyone. I appreciate that things are always better discussed verbally than written, where tone of speech is much harder to gauge. The ranking issue (james' issue 1) which I am supporting is something I feel is unjust but like I said, clarification (and transparency) here is key and that's what I'm valuing from responses all round.

I was there next to the desk when the decisions were made at the barrells and appreciate that many experienced people were involved in making the decisions. I also appreciate that without most of these people, the competitions which I enjoy attending just wouldn't happen. All of these people love the sport, and love making it enjoyable for everyone else. I'm grateful for all the good work that goes into all of this, and especially loved the barrells tournament, not least because of the great atmosphere which we all played in, and the people we got to play with.

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Re: Seeding and Rankings Debate

Post by Teeb » Fri Sep 02, 2011 11:28 am

At most tournaments there are n00b events such as novice and semi-pro singles/doubles which are taylored to meet the needs and wants of the players ranked in those categories and the Open events are taylored to meet the needs and wants of the top players. In this tournament there was only the one event for singles and doubles and it seems both the top players and the n00bs expected the events to suit them. N00bs want a lot of short format matches and a lottery for the seedings as it gives them the best chance to get a result which punches well above their weight. Pro's want long format matches and a, perhaps artificially, fair seeding to give them the best chance of making their seed.

Rich did a fantastic job of trying to strike a balance between the two, Groups followed by SE is rarely used in England for Open events and is not a pro friendly format but is easy to understand and means lots of short format matches. By opting to seed knockouts, which I did suggest to him, from the ranking list this was his way of also catering for the pros.

I will also add that Rich is one of the most honest and fair guys I know, and would never taylor a tournament just because he felt it gave himself an advantage.

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Re: Seeding and Rankings Debate

Post by Matt Price » Fri Sep 02, 2011 11:42 am

Teeb wrote:By opting to seed knockouts, which I did suggest to him, from the ranking list this was his way of also catering for the pros.
Tom, with respect, pro's are already catered for because they are seeded into a group that favours them. They are placed in a group where they *should* win all their games and therefore have the best chance of going through the group. To then also seed the knockout ensures that this happens twice, discounts the groups almost entirely (placings have not decided who goes through the group, they have decided who gets discarded) and is overly biased towards higher ranked players that have underperformed or been outplayed - they are given a second chance when they are the people less likely to need one.

If knockouts are seeded by group performance then they *should* give the same results as a ranking-seeded knockout if everyone performs as they are expected to. However, it is an improvement on ranking-seeded because it takes into consideration and rewards good performance in groups.

Goal difference in groups shouldn't matter if the top seed wins all their games so actually there is NO incentive to crush n00b players - as long as they win the game score is unimportant.

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Re: Seeding and Rankings Debate

Post by Teeb » Fri Sep 02, 2011 12:02 pm

matt price wrote:Goal difference in groups shouldn't matter if the top seed wins all their games so actually there is NO incentive to crush n00b players - as long as they win the game score is unimportant.
I agree with this, but goal difference has been used in the past to seed knockouts.
matt price wrote:pro's are already catered for because they are seeded into a group that favours them.
This sentence does not make sence. Double Elimination is a pro friendly format, Groups + SE is a n00b friendly format. Rich chose groups + SE, which is n00b friendly.
matt price wrote:If knockouts are seeded by group performance then they *should* give the same results as a ranking-seeded knockout if everyone performs as they are expected to.
I would agree with this if long formats are used during group stages, but they are not. A race to 7 goals is a lottery. *should* is a very misleading word when you are talking about short formats.

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Re: Seeding and Rankings Debate

Post by Matt Price » Fri Sep 02, 2011 12:22 pm

Teeb wrote: I agree with this, but goal difference has been used in the past to seed knockouts.
Fair enough. I would suggest that this not be used and either:
i) Random draw (prior to the tournament start) be used to decide which groups will play each other in a group seeded knockout
or
ii) Players seeded by group wins and random draw to decide who plays who.
Teeb wrote: This sentence does not make sence. Double Elimination is a pro friendly format, Groups + SE is a n00b friendly format. Rich chose groups + SE, which is n00b friendly.
Ok, I didn't quite word that right. I didn't mean to suggest that group events favour pro players. What I meant was that the group is favourable to the pro player because they should be able to beat everyone else in the group. They have purposely been seeded first in a group. If you then also seed them by ranking in the knockout, you are effectively favouring them twice because of their ranking.

I would however slightly disagree that group events favour n00b players. Yes, they might prefer them because they get more games and pro players might not prefer them because there is a greater chance of a fluky loss, but a pro player should still beat a n00b majority of the time, regardless of slop etc.
Teeb wrote: I would agree with this if long formats are used during group stages, but they are not. A race to 7 goals is a lottery. *should* is a very misleading word when you are talking about short formats.
So we shouldn't reward players who perform better than expected in their groups because they were lucky to do that well? You cannot know whether someone has performed well or got lucky, but the point is they may well have got through a group despite the odds and deserve to be rewarded by a slightly easier draw.

I loved this tournament but I didn't really go for ranking/prize money etc. If a format of this kind was run at a higher category tournament I would be a lot more annoyed mainly because THE RANKING THAT YOU RECEIVE FROM A TOURNAMENT SHOULD REFLECT YOUR LEVEL OF PERFORMANCE AND SUCCESS WHILST AT THAT TOURNAMENT and not be retrospective based on your rank!

I would gain less ranking points for not going through one stage of the knockouts. That is not based on my performance (think I came second in my group) that is based on the fact that seeding drew me against Steve L. I could well have had an easier draw with group seeding. Therefore, I lose ranking points because of my current rank and not through my performance whilst at the tournament.

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Re: Seeding and Rankings Debate

Post by ybbun » Fri Sep 02, 2011 12:47 pm

matt price wrote:Goal difference in groups shouldn't matter if the top seed wins all their games so actually there is NO incentive to crush n00b players - as long as they win the game score is unimportant.
Except it's risky for any player to assume they'll win all their games. Goal difference is used as a decider to rank players within groups, so it's always important for a top player to win by as much as possible, in case they lose one or two other games and end up tied on wins with someone.

We can avoid this problem (somewhat) by using head-to-head results to split ties, although you'd still have to use goal difference if head-to-head was equal.

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Re: Seeding and Rankings Debate

Post by Matt Price » Fri Sep 02, 2011 12:53 pm

ybbun wrote: Except it's risky for any player to assume they'll win all their games. Goal difference is used as a decider to rank players within groups, so it's always important for a top player to win by as much as possible, in case they lose one or two other games and end up tied on wins with someone.
But because the groups are seeded in the first place, the onus is on the higher ranked players just to win their games. Yes, goal difference does play a part, but it does for ranking-seeded knockouts anyway as goal difference is still potentially used to decide who doesn't go through from the group.

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Re: Seeding and Rankings Debate

Post by Bundy Volume 1 » Fri Sep 02, 2011 1:02 pm

The results of this debate are going to be really useful at all the Cat C and higher tournaments which have Groups SE for Open events we have....oh....hang on..... :wink:

Boris must be loving this thread, doing even more to kill off the idea of GSE for Open events.

So everything here is kind of a moot point when it comes to UK tournament. So calm down guys. Maybe you guys should contact the ITSF about their WCS events, but then they do have the worlds best seeding and ranking system for these tournaments, so not much point there really. Think the only really protest against ITSF WCS tournaments was a calm petition signed by 300 odd people, if we get like this after a Cat E (impossible to lose ranking points btw), non-snake, fun-based event God knows what would have happened had the RS WCS happened here :P .

(P.S Matt, you may have played Jon May in the 1st round KO if alternate seeding methods had been used at Hereford)

(P.P.S - *love* (....) the fact this debate is getting more interest from committee members than our forum has been getting)

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Re: Seeding and Rankings Debate

Post by jamesofptfs » Fri Sep 02, 2011 2:27 pm

Glad to be of service Joe and good to see your enthusiasm for this debate shining through. It is still important though as Groups+SE will be used again at tournaments even if just in divisional events.

My points about who the decision favoured were not intended to accuse anyone of trying to gain unfair advantage. I was there while alternatives were being discussed and can confirm to any doubters that noone was doing it deliberately for personal advantage - they were all looking for the option that they believed was best for the tournament. They probably also thought it was fair. Most of them did gain from the decision - I think some finished 3rd in their group but then got ranked in the 6-10 range and so were more able to win their next match but I say this not to suggest it was manufactured that way as I don't think the implications of the method I suggested were even thought through at the time. I say this because perhaps as a whole it made them unable to see why I was upset at the time - I tried to explain it but I don't think it was understood from the point of view of lower ranked players who would be given no chance of progressing further through no fault of their own. I would stress that I would not have gained much - I finished 3rd in my group so would have played a top player anyway though may have avoided Tom at least with a bit of luck. I argued mainly for Phil who deserved more of a chance than he was given having topped his group.

Tom raises double elimination as favourable to top players. I support this method as favourable for everyone. It is seeded once, as is reasonable, but it means that lower ranked players, after almost certainly losing early to a high ranked player, still have a chance to play matches and make some progress (although it would be more exciting to have SE by the quarter of semi final stage to avoid double dips and playing the same player in 2 or 3 matches even if it did mean someone fell a round short of where they hoped).

In single elimination following groups everyone should similarly be given a chance to progress. Tom worries he'll meet Jon in a quarter final - this is unlikely to happen but it might - one will finish T-5. You just have to be prepared that in a short format tournament you might fail although at least the quarter final would be a long format - so no real excuses. Seeding still progresses you far enough through the tournament before you have to work for your wins. Alternatively top seeds could skip groups altogether and sit around while the rest of us try to qualify. If 3/4 of the positions were decided by groups - the worst qualifiers could play seeds and the best would have relatively easy matches and a good chance to progress. This is fair - everyone has an opportunity to do well and there is a perfectly seeded knockout with no chance for the top players to mess it up by playing actual matches.

I would favour a BFA default position for the sake of clarity but leaving organisers the chance to change things for a tournament if they wish. These being something along the lines of groups decided by 1.points (wins) 2. head to head 3. goal difference from head to head (avoiding influence of novice slop) 4. goal difference 5. goals scored 6. forward shootout between tied players. I would also hope for a correcting mechanism to balance group size (for a lucky 4th place qualifier etc) such as removing results from the last placed team in larger groups and a default scoreline (7-2 or something) against no-shows then comparing by 1. points 2. goal difference 3. goals scored 4. forward shootout between tied players. I would also hope this default includes that players cannot be seeded twice by rank. There are other ways to give top players a chance to make a final - this is not legitimate.

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Re: Seeding and Rankings Debate

Post by Teeb » Fri Sep 02, 2011 3:09 pm

jamesofptfs wrote:Tom raises double elimination as favourable to top players. I support this method as favourable for everyone.
I'm afraid DE is not the best format for new players to the game as it confusing to the layman and reduced the chances of worse players doing well.
jamesofptfs wrote:Tom worries he'll meet Jon in a quarter final - this is unlikely to happen but it might - one will finish T-5.
I think you meant to say that Jon worries he'll meet me :D

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Re: Seeding and Rankings Debate

Post by Boris » Fri Sep 02, 2011 3:23 pm

The BFA cannot impose too-strict guidelines on tournament formats because TDs need the flexibility to make decisions 'on the fly' to ensure a tournament does not drastically overrun, this is particularly true for one-day events. The only strong policy we have is that in cases of winning triplets (a group where 3 teams have an identical W-L record each having lost only one game) all qualify, but in losing triplets (where one team beats everyone and 3 teams take equal second having lost 2 games each) goal difference or head-to-head results can be used to separate the qualifying team(s).

The two tournaments to be held in Liverpool and Bristol will be using GSE for all events, as they are one-dayers, multitable and must all be finished on the day. I do not like SE knockouts in principle, particularly for open events, but sometimes compromises have to be made to enable events to happen. I remember the days when 4-DE event one dayers with 30-40 players, OS, OD & e.g. NS & SPD, on 4-6 tables would finish at 3am or later. Thankfully those days seem to be behind us.

For ITSF tournaments there was a petition around 18 months ago with over 300 signatures opposing the qualifiers + SE KO format for WCS events. Since then the only change has been a fairer seeding system for qualifiers. I have long proposed a modified DE format for the main events, with the final being the winners final and 3rd place being taken by the winner of the losers bracket. That way meeting Fred or Rob in an early KO round does not put you out of the tournament/prize money/ranking points, and allows the final to be scheduled for e.g. live TV coverage without having to wait for the losers bracket to catch up.

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Re: Seeding and Rankings Debate

Post by bigjumbo » Fri Sep 02, 2011 3:50 pm

Boris wrote: The two tournaments to be held in Liverpool and Bristol will be using GSE for all events, as they are one-dayers, multitable and must all be finished on the day ...
In light of the above discussion then, would it be too cheeky to ask how you are going to seed the KO part of these events? BFA rank or performance in the groups?

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Re: Seeding and Rankings Debate

Post by ed_taylor » Fri Sep 02, 2011 4:05 pm

Teeb wrote:
I think you meant to say that Jon worries he'll meet me :D
lol

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Re: Seeding and Rankings Debate

Post by cmau » Fri Sep 02, 2011 4:29 pm

I am sorry firstly to Rich for not attending this amazing tournament but James has brought up some very interesting points which I feel compelled to query even though I wasn't there.

What is the point of groups or more accurately putting the top seeds in the groups when there is another seeding round after the groups? Why not have the top players skip the groups and play in the seeded knockouts directly?

"Well done James, you've topped your group convincingly beating the number 2 and 8 seeds along the way but all of that means nothing now as you're going to play the number 1 seed."


^This is just an example, it didn't really happen.

I mean this with no sarcasm or ill will towards anyone but in my humblest opinion this scenario just looks so unfair.
Last edited by cmau on Fri Sep 02, 2011 4:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Seeding and Rankings Debate

Post by Boris » Fri Sep 02, 2011 4:31 pm

bigjumbo wrote:
Boris wrote: The two tournaments to be held in Liverpool and Bristol will be using GSE for all events, as they are one-dayers, multitable and must all be finished on the day ...
In light of the above discussion then, would it be too cheeky to ask how you are going to seed the KO part of these events? BFA rank or performance in the groups?
Performance in the groups!

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Re: Seeding and Rankings Debate

Post by Christopher Lyall » Fri Sep 02, 2011 5:17 pm

Hello,

The ultimate goal of the tournament is to rank all of the entrants by ability. That is the key point. All of the reasons for not using more accurate systems than Groups and SE or DE, such as swiss or round robin, are fundamentally pragmatic - to ensure the tournament finishes on time, to make it more exciting, to cope with table restrictions, to deal with the fact that players don't want to play all of their matches with long formats because then they'd never leave etc. The system that results attempts to best rank the players, but isn't great. Now, the truth is that when using the restricted Groups and SE system, seeding the knockouts by ranking does better rank the players than by group result. Take a look at the results list. It looks good, it's what I would expect. I can't honestly say that I think James is one of the top 8 players that were at the tournament (sorry), so in that respect I believe that the tournament has done well in achieving its ultimate goal, at least in ranking him. Even judging him on how well he played on the day I still don't think he was top 8.

Now, someone mentioned something about James not being able to "get the result he deserves" because he came up against Tom too early. What result exactly did he deserve? Deserve is such a strange word to use in this situation - he "deserves" to finish the tournament as his ability places him with respect to the other players. If he is the 9th best player there then the only thing that he can "deserve" is to finish 9th. There may be disagreements about this, but I think 9th is right. The subtle trap that you have fallen into is as follows: it is AS MUCH of an injustice for a bad player to overperform as it is for a good player to underperform. To claim anything else is false accounting. You just don't hear about it because a bad player overperforming usually results in everyone dropping maybe 1 position at the end which isn't that big a deal as no one player has that much to complain about, but from a utilitarian point of view is equal to a good player underperforming and dropping way down when they were potential high finishers. I contend that if James had finished higher and taken a spot at 5th then that would be as unfair to whoever as a result lost out on a higher place because of it as James is claiming that the current system is to him.

Now obviously Groups and SE even with seeding is still inconsistent and quite poor at working out who the best players are, but again, looking at the final results, I think the job was done well. Still, there will be variation across the year, and going to tournaments sometimes James will end up overanked and sometimes underranked at the end of the day just by quirks and good/bad luck in the opponents he faces. Sometimes the system will work with him and sometimes against him, and sometimes just right. On this occasion, I believe "just right" has been achieved, but it is tempting to claim otherwise because of the apparently fixed nature of the knockout seedings, at least superficially. I mentioned pragmatism earlier, and how essentially the ultimate goal of the tournament is to rank all of the best players. Well you may have noticed that if we were perfectly achieving this goal every time then there would be no reason for anyone but the top players to come to tournaments if they were always going to finish as their relative skill level dictates. So, one other of the concessions tournament organisers are forced to make is using a system that does actually encourage upsets and goes entirely against the ultimate goal of the tournament, in order to keep you hooked on the drug of potentially overperforming. There are analogies with poker. Even as a pro I still quite like formats that don't perfectly rank me because the joy of winning even though I'm not the best and don't really deserve it is no less sweet.

If anything this tournament has ended up ranking the entrants TOO correctly, in using the seeding by rank, and has done away with the potential for the upsets that actually keep people coming to tournaments. THIS is the valid complaint, although I doubt anyone would actually make it. What is NOT valid to complain about is unfairness caused by seedings because people "deserved" to finish higher, just because on this occasion the system didn't swing in their favour. Ultimately where you "deserve" to finish is down to your ability - not to your seeding or to how much the system can potentially fudge in your favour on this occasion. You could, if you so choose, make the valid objection that actually 9th is too low for you compared to the other players, and that you deserved 5th. If that were true then it would be a completely valid argument, but I don't believe it is true. However what you are then really complaining about is your rank in the BFA rankings. If you deserved by virtue of skill to finish above 9th then you should definitely be higher ranked in our ranking list than at least all of those players that in your mind after qualifying deserved to finish 9th, so you should be high semi-pro maybe. And really your complaints about the tournament format are misdirected - the seeding after groups system works, but if you believe that you deserved a higher finish then you deserve a higher rank, and so a higher seeding which helps you to claim that higher finish.

tl;dr: The format isn't the issue. If you deserved to finish higher then you should have a higher BFA rank and would have then received a higher seed in the knockouts.

Chris

PS next time just hope you come up against a rubbish pro like Simon :wink:
Last edited by Christopher Lyall on Fri Sep 02, 2011 8:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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