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October 15th, 2002


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04:31 am - Chris Dickson not up for the cup
About the only yacht racing competition that anybody knows is the America's Cup. Technically, the America's Cup is the final match race between the defending champion and the challenger; the Louis Vuitton Cup is the competition which finds the challenger. The Louis Vuitton Cup is in progress at the moment. There is a British team (er, "syndicate") which naturally I support.

However, the rare "Chris Dickson" loyalty exception applies. When there is a participant in any competition called Chris Dickson, I naturally shout for Chris Dickson's team and forget all national loyalties. There is a yachtsman from New Zealand called Chris Dickson who is moderately famous for having achieved a 37-1 record in his country's first America's Cup entry in 1987 before losing in the semifinals. Unfortunately, he's not sailing this year so his team, Oracle BMW Racing, gets little Chris Dickson love from me. Anyway, Google reckons I'm the most famous Chris Dickson in the world. (Hurrah! I used not to be. Next challenge: becoming the most famous jiggery pokery in the world.) Perhaps Chris M. Dickson will have to send Chris "Yachtsman" Dickson a book as compensation.

All the Chris Dicksons in the world would be of only tangential interest if the competition were dull, though. Happily, the Louis Vuitton Cup is not dull; it is, instead, clever. About "Australian Rules Football finals" levels of clever.

There are nine syndicates which start the competition. The first stage is an all-play-all double round robin guaranteeing each syndicate two races against each of the other eight competitors. The ninth placed syndicate is eliminated, with the top eight going through to the quarter-finals. More to the point, it gives the top eight syndicates their seeding positions for the rest of the competition.

The main competition operates on the principles that the top four qualifiers need to lose twice to be eliminated from the competition, but the fifth to eighth qualifiers are eliminated after only one loss. This is similar to the aforementioned Aussie Rules finals structure, but more consistently applied - in Aussie Rules, even the top-rated team will be eliminated if it wins its first game and loses its second one. The way that the format achieves this is very clever.

Are you familiar with the concept of a "double elimination" competition? Everyone knows knockout tournaments, which are sometimes referred to as "single elimination" - one loss and you're eliminated from the competition. "Double elimination" is far less frequent but operates on the principle of two losses are required to eliminate you from the competition. I understand it is used in Beach Volleyball under the name "1, 2, Barbeque".

Specifically, all the competitiors first participate in a "main bracket" in exactly the same fashion as a standard single-elimination contest. However, when you get eliminated in the "main bracket", you are moved into the "losers' bracket", which is also a single-elimination contest. Losing in the "losers' bracket" is enough to eliminate you from the competition altogether. The clever part is that the later in the "main bracket" you lose, the later you are introduced into the "losers' bracket" and the fewer matches you have to win in the "losers' bracket". At the end, you will have a "main bracket" champion who hasn't lost a game, a "losers' bracket" champion who has only lost one game and everyone else who has lost two games.

The two bracket champions then face each other in the grand final. (It's quite possible that they may have faced each other in the final of the main bracket already.) If the "main bracket" champion wins, then this gives the "losers' bracket" champion their second defeat, which is enough to eliminate them. However, if the "losers' bracket" champion defeats the "main bracket" champion, both teams have lost one game and so there's a final game between the two to decide who wins overall.

The precise operation is effectively a series of phases. Each phase consists of one round of the "main bracket", plus as many rounds of the "losers' bracket" as are required so that there only as many teams remaining as the number of losers that the next round of the "main bracket" will produce.

So, for an eight-team competition, you have:
# PHASE ONE
8 teams on 0 losses   0 teams on 1 loss   0 teams on 2 losses
* Play four games in the "main bracket"
4 teams on 0 losses   4 teams on 1 loss   0 teams on 2 losses
* Play two games in the "losers' bracket"
4 teams on 0 losses   2 teams on 1 loss   2 teams on 2 losses, who are eliminated
# PHASE TWO
* Play four games in the "main bracket"
2 teams on 0 losses   4 teams on 1 loss   2 teams on 2 losses, who are eliminated
* Play two games in the "losers' bracket"
2 teams on 0 losses   2 teams on 1 loss   4 teams on 2 losses, who are eliminated
* NB Only one team will come down from the "main bracket" next time, 
  so play another game in the "losers' bracket"
2 teams on 0 losses   1 team on 1 loss    5 teams on 2 losses, who are eliminated
# PHASE THREE
* Play one game in the "main bracket"
1 team on 0 losses    2 teams on 1 loss   5 teams on 2 losses, who are eliminated
* Play one game in the "losers' bracket"
1 team on 0 losses    1 team on 1 loss    6 teams on 2 losses, who are eliminated
# PHASE FOUR
* Grand final between "main bracket" and "loser's bracket" champions


Easy, really. Would a diagram help?

Incidentally, it's possible to extend this to any number of teams, but it's much less neat if the number of participants isn't an exact power of two. Triple, quadruple or further eliminations are possible; each phase starts with the "main bracket" and treats the subsidiary brackets in increasing order of losses, performing appropriate numbers of rounds in each bracket so that the bracket above will "send down" the correct number of losers next time.

Now the clever thing about the Louis Vuitton Cup is that this is effectively what happens, with one change. The top four seeds are given their advantage, and the bottom four seeds their penalty, by assuming that the first round happens and that the top four seeds beat the bottom four seeds. Then the teams are in their proper place for the rest of a double elimination tournament.

That's exactly how the official tournament graphic works, except that it slightly shifts the phase definitions to end, rather than start, with a round in the "main bracket" and then back-extends the lines so that the "main bracket" matches appear to take place at the start, rather than the end, of each phase. The happy consequence of this is that losers in the "main bracket" appear to be immediately used in the "losers' bracket".

Very, very clever.

At some point I will examine what might have happened had this system been in place for the Australian Rules Finals instead of their bizarre matrix. Technically I would argue that this Louis Vuitton style double elimination is superior because it permits the top seeds their double elimination advantage for longer. Practically, it might involve too many matches to be practical for Aussie Rules, particularly for the lower-seeded teams.

One day I want to write a hopefully-definitive treatise on sports tournament organisation. (Add this to my ambitions list as #101. #102 is "Fly from Teesside Airport".) Multiple elimination tournaments aren't universally appropriate, but they're both clever and fascinating.

Ahem. After, effectively, the first half of the double round-robin, team "GBR Challenge" are in fourth equal place with a record of 4-4. I dread to think what the tie-breakers are should the double round-robin complete with ties for that crucial fourth place...

It is amazing - but not in a good way - how little I can get done in a day and yet still feel it was productive. :-/

I attended the second meeting of the Cleveland Speakers' Club's 2002-03 season this evening, two weeks after my trip to the first meeting. Eleven attendees, one fewer than the first meeting. At that first meeting, there were eight returning from the previous season and four newcomers. This time, there were eight from last season (seven from last week and another returner), two of the four newcomers and another newcomer. The newcomer brought the average age down and was the second lady at the meeting, but it turns out that her older daughter was a friend of someone three or four years ahead of me in school. (Her younger daughter is doing her A2-levels at the moment and is thinking of applying to Durham University. Might I nudge any questions from said younger daughter in your direction, please, athena_arena?)

The evening was themed around the environment. In the first half of the evening, two of the returners gave six-minute speeches. I am in two minds as to how good they were; they didn't contain as much content as I would like to have heard and weren't particularly emotive or convincing in a session based around the exercise "Mean what you say", but they were certainly very well delivered. Then the club descended into freeform debate of the issues, which was apparently not normal procedure.

The second half of the evening saw the remaining members assigned a topic, with some weak connection to the over-riding theme, and given perhaps 10-15 seconds' brief discussion of what this topic concerned. You then had to get up, take the lectern and deliver an impromptu two-minute speech on that subject. I got "police car chases and the effect of modern technology", whereas other speakers got topics like "restrictions concerning the newly-controlled access to Durham Cathedral", "the apparent increase of bad language on television and in society" and "whether insurers should be able to refuse to insure houses at high risk of flooding".

It was a pretty easy speech to make. All I had to do was describe stinger devices, "Police Camera Action" and related shows, GPS units, helicopter views and a bit of general emotion-laden waffle. I felt that I went a little over my proscribed two minutes, but when the red light for "two minutes" came on I wrapped things up fairly quickly. Unfortunately, the timekeeper read out my actual time: 2'58". (Not all my fault. The timekeeper admitted that he was in error with the light system because he was so distracted by my speech.) The speech felt nervy, but not too bad. Apparently I had good posture and managed to avoid umming and erring, both of which were just about correct. On the other hand, I failed to make good eye contact with the group as a whole, preferring to only gaze at the ladies. :-/ (It was something that I was trying to think about, but does need some practice.) My back leg felt extremely shivery through nerves and I did feel that I was spitting out sentences with little fluency, one unconnected word at a time. Still, it wasn't the disaster I had feared it might be and I know I will improve with practice.

It remains in the balance whether I will attend regularly or not; after two meetings as a visitor, we're starting to approach "make your mind up" time and I need to decide whether to commit to the whole season. The impromptu speech-making is interesting and fun, though I could happily live without it. I'm not sure whether I'm keen enough on speech-making to seriously prepare, say, two or three semi-extended six-minute speeches over the course of the year, though. While the people are extremely polite and friendly, not least because I am in a different generation to them, I do find it hard to connect with them on an emotional level. I'm sure that they'll turn out to be extremely useful contacts, but I'm not sure I could really make friends there.

The conclusion is that this feels like something that I feel I ought to do rather than something I feel I want to do. I shall think on.
Current Mood: Mixin' up a little bit o' fear
Current Music: My song!!!

(17 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:ealuscerwen
Date:October 15th, 2002 12:23 am (UTC)
(Link)

It is a matter of perpetual sadness to me that no-one famous is called Corinne Berg.

There is another Corinne Berg on Google whose dog, called 'Premiere's Makin It Extra Hot', won a superior performance prize for jumping well. This may or may not be the same Corinne Berg as the excellent triathlon champion from Krugersdorp High School in South Africa(there's a picture).

Corinne is a sufficiently unusual name that I feel a weird frisson whenever someone who has the same first name as me is on TV or in the papers. When I arrived at the Medieval Studies Conference in Leeds one year, the first person I met turned out to share the name Corinne, and that felt really peculiar.

I think that you deserve to be more famous than the yachtsman, anyway. He hasn't dedicated nearly as much of his time to writing stuff which entertains and amuses.

Eal.
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:October 15th, 2002 09:13 am (UTC)

Powerful naming magic

(Link)
:-)

By the same token, I was always amused when another Chris Dickson wrote into computer magazines of my youth...

http://www.pdom.com/baby_names.htm is a meme that was going around for a while last week; plug your names in and it'll come up with some stats for you.

It estimates that there are about ten people called Corinne Berg in the USA and that there are about 900 Bergs in the UK, putting your surname around about 5683rd equal in popularity. (Dickson, so spelt, is about 317th in the UK, which I suppose is probably "about average" - not common enough to be common, not rare enough to be rare.)

It'll also invite you to register domain names. www.corinneberg.com is still available; snap it up before the South African triathlete does. Or perhaps you could use it as an excuse to get in touch with her and share the domain name - perhaps you could be northernhemisphere@corinneberg.com and she could be southernhemisphere@corinneberg.com ? (For that matter, www.ealuscerwen.com is still available too...)

Apparently there is not expected to be even one person in the USA called Hanbury Hampden-Turner. What are the chances of that happening, eh?
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:October 15th, 2002 09:18 am (UTC)

Of course, this has all been leading up to:

(Link)
It estimates that there are about ten people called Corinne Berg in the USA.

Which would at least make for a relatively inexpensive overall, but highly expensive per-person, "Are you Corinne Berg?".

What has that done to the graph?
[User Picture]
From:ealuscerwen
Date:October 16th, 2002 01:07 am (UTC)

Re: Of course, this has all been leading up to:

(Link)

Corinne Berg is presumably quite an uncommon combination, with a Middle European/Scandinavian surname and a French first name.

D'you think I should visit them all, Chris? I've been wanting an excuse to go to South Africa for a while ;)

Perhaps people who share our names follow paths we could have taken. Have you ever considered taking up yachting?

Eal.
[User Picture]
From:ealuscerwen
Date:October 16th, 2002 01:09 am (UTC)

Re: Of course, this has all been leading up to:

(Link)

The shame of it is that, given there wouldn't be one of Hanbury anyway, we can't further narrow him down by including middle names.

Eal.
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:October 16th, 2002 12:03 pm (UTC)

Re: Of course, this has all been leading up to:

(Link)
I believe there can be only one Hanbury DeJarnette Lancaster Buchanan Hampden-Turner in the galaxy. (I'm not even sure that's the full line-up of names - I always remember getting to a count of seven, not six...)

One of these days the world shall have to get Hanbury to start his own LiveJournal. I'd love to know what he's up to these days. (I did see him briefly earlier this year, at Nick Parish's DipSoc reunion games convention, but didn't get the chance to speak more than a couple of words to him.)
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:October 16th, 2002 11:48 am (UTC)

Re: Of course, this has all been leading up to:

(Link)
I have yachtsman Chris Dickson's address (c/o Team Oracle BMW racing in Auckland) and am very tempted to send him at the very least a Christmas card, just to see what happens. I'd send him a book if I had a few spare, but I don't.

Likewise, I haven't contacted scouse mouse Chris Dickson (who, incidentally, has a friend named Corinne) or real estate Chris Dickson. (I think the latter Chris Dickson used to own www.chrisdickson.com, though that's now owned by a random scum web company.)

I once had someone (another cmd, even) randomly mail me saying "Cool, you have my name", but he never returned my polite reply :-/
[User Picture]
From:ericklendl
Date:October 15th, 2002 01:51 am (UTC)

No question about it...

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I think you're very brave for even considering making speeches in the company of experienced speechmakers and hypercritics. The fact that you've done a couple and got a reasonably good response raises you further in my estimation.

Now, put together your obvious talent for getting together enjoyable material on random subjects with some newly acquired techniques for speaking about them in an engaging manner, and achieving Ambition #93 is virtually a given.

The alternative - having to think of a new Ambition #93 - hardly bears even thinking about. :-)
[User Picture]
From:addedentry
Date:October 15th, 2002 03:57 am (UTC)

Re: No question about it...

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Seconded. The forum may not be ideal but the procedure is the right one. I've seen you address small gatherings and you have excellent voice projection and the ability to hold an audience's attention; improvement is therefore (merely) a matter of technique and practice.

I admire anyone who sets about acquiring a skill in such a rational way instead of shrugging and wallowing.
[User Picture]
From:ringbark
Date:October 15th, 2002 02:40 am (UTC)

New Zealand

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As a New Zealand resident, it's hard not to be submerged in Louis Vuitton/America's Cup coverage.
In other news, I am the most famous Ian Halliday in the world too.
[User Picture]
From:huskyteer
Date:October 15th, 2002 03:11 am (UTC)

FWIW

(Link)
Congratulations! It appears that I am the web's very favourite Alice Dryden, but it's a slightly less abundant name - though it is one I share with Jefferson Airplane's drummer's mother and the author of Church Embroidery.

No need to ask which mark rigby-jones gets ten pages of Google results all to himself...
[User Picture]
From:addedentry
Date:October 15th, 2002 03:50 am (UTC)

Re: FWIW

(Link)
One reason my (few) namesakes appear high on searches is that I felt they each deserved a prominent link from my homepage. It would be entertaining to pretend to be a singing quarterback from Ann Arbor, but perhaps only for me.
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:October 15th, 2002 09:25 am (UTC)

Re: FWIW

(Link)
You are clearly Owen Massey #1 and the quarterback is evidently Owen Massey #14. This leaves us the matter of sorting out the rankings between #2 and #13. Insert your own "Who is number one? You are number six." reference in honour of <lj not-user="jvvw"> here.

Perhaps I ought to organise a double elimination Massey tournament in the Louis Vuitton Cup style...
[User Picture]
From:zorac
Date:October 15th, 2002 10:28 am (UTC)

I Am The One And Only ... Not

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Intensive poking through the Google search results for my name (all 409 of them) turns up precisely one reference that's not to me - someone advertising student accommodation in Leicester. I'm not the only Mark Rigby-Jones in the UK. My entire world-view has been shattered :-(

There are certainly a lot more Rigby-Joneses on the web than there used to be - maybe one or two others last time I searched (probably a couple of years back). A fair number of those are family, but there are plenty of names I don't know.

PS Putting my name into the site Chris mentioned turns up little except the fact that there are apparently 5,600 female Marks in the USA.
PPS Apologies for the Chesney Hawkes reference...
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:October 15th, 2002 03:57 pm (UTC)

Re: I Am The One And Only ... Not

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Chesney Hawkes gets an "Ooh, nasty" from me.

You may not be the only Mark Rigby-Jones but somehow you'll always be the only mrj :-)

400 Rigbys-Jones are not without the realms of practical genealogy. There's something that your folks can do now they have retired to the South of France for the long, hot days. There are probably fairly few surnames where a complete history could be produced, but R-J could be one of 'em.

"Markie" is apparently a vaguely-common female forename in the USA. A miscellaneous model on a US game show was called "Markie Post". Not sure what... ah, it's an abbreviation of Marjorie.
[User Picture]
From:lambertman
Date:October 15th, 2002 07:34 pm (UTC)

Re: I Am The One And Only ... Not

(Link)
Apropos of nothing, but I feel I must interject that Markie Post went on to become a very well-known actress of the '80s and early '90s on the hit series(es?) "The Fall Guy," "Night Court" and "Hearts Afire."

That's all :)
[User Picture]
From:huskyteer
Date:October 16th, 2002 03:18 am (UTC)

Re: I Am The One And Only ... Not

(Link)
> but somehow you'll always be the only mrj

Apart, of course, from Mac OS Runtime for Java.

MRJ 2.2.5: The Next Generation.

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