Teesside Snog Monster (jiggery_pokery) wrote,
Teesside Snog Monster
jiggery_pokery

An interesting and possibly original tournament format

1) A slightly belated happy birthday to hmtriplecrown for yesterday. :-) Poop, I got the wrong month. Happy birthday to jaq, for today, February 5th. :-D

2) BA and Virgin are having competing fare sales at the moment, at least for UK customers and possibly for overseas ones as well. The British Airways one runs until midnight on Tuesday 6th February; the Virgin Atlantic one, typically £1 cheaper, runs until 10pm on the same day. (Strangely, it seems that Virgin put its fare sale on first, BA responded and Virgin responded to BA with an extra level of even deeper discounts on a few flights.) It's interesting to clearly see how the date of the flight affects the price, in any case, so we can identify "low", "shoulder" and "peak" seasons for flight pricing schedules in general.

3) It looks like we're moving house! We have already been served a notice to quit our rented apartment by 18th March, so that part isn't in doubt, but it looks like we have a house to move into. Actually, if you'd asked me this on Tuesday, I'd have said "it looks like we have a bungalow to move into", but our application fell through for no fault of our own when the house purchase chain that the would-have-been landlord fell apart. I don't want to say too much about it for fear of jinxing the process, but the place we hope to move into is very pleasant and surprisingly large; it comes furnished and gives the impression that we're house-sitting for someone rather than that we're the suckers paying someone to make their buy-to-let investment work. The downsides are that we may only have it for about a year (see "house-sitting" above) and that some of the stairs squeak, but these are small downsides indeed to a large number of upsides. More, under appropriate Friends-lock, when we move in.

4) I have a note saying "Date" here on my list of things to post about. What the heck did I mean by "Date"? I have no clue.

In any case, there is a EuroMillions lottery draw this Friday with a guaranteed jackpot prize pool of €100,000,000 (£66,000,000 or so) which must be paid out and cannot rollover, being distributed to the non-jackpot prizes if necessary. The guaranteed prize pool means that it is not possible to use the size of the jackpot to estimate how many tickets are in play, so it'll be slightly harder than usual to work out how much really is being added and thus to work out whether it's a +EV draw to enter or not, but it is clearly less -EV than the no-rollover draw it replaces. I leave working out the constraint as to when the draw becomes +EV to enter, depending upon the denomination of entry fee, as an exercise for the interested reader.

5) The titular interesting, and possibly original, tournament format.

This is designed for competitions which do not necessarily want to generate a single champion, but want to generate a regular, potentially indefinite, stream of interesting and meaningful matches. For instance, it is more intended as a replacement for the Davis Cup team tennis competition than as a replacement for the Wimbledon series of tennis competitions; by another analogy, it would be a far more suitable replacement for the world professional boxing championship title structure than for a world amateur boxing championship. The tournament is applicable across the board to any competition where two participants compete and where it is possible to define a definite winner (so competitions ending in a draw might be resolved by the toss of a coin, for instance). This structure appears particularly appropriate for an ongoing game show, whether broadcast on TV, radio or by some other medium (live performance, LJ and so on).

The essential concept is that the tournament structure is based around there being eight outstanding competitors at any one time, with possibly a ready supply of other competitors who might replace relatively poor performers in the main competition. The tournament will determine which of the eight is to be considered the best at any one time, with formalised opportunities for any of the others to demonstrate their claim to be clearly the best or clearly the worst.

To seed the competition, draw the original eight competitors into four matches, associating the initial competition by whim, by seeding or by random chance. (Unfortunate random chance will work itself out quickly.) The four winning competitors should be drawn into two further matches, whose winners will form the first competitors in the upcoming Championship Match, and whose losers will form the first competitors in the upcoming #1 Contender Match. The four losing competitors of the original round should be drawn into two further matches, whose winners will form the first competitors in the upcoming #2 Contender Match, and whose losers will form the first competitors in the upcoming Relegation Match. This completes the seeding process.

A round of the competition consists of the current eight competitors arranged into four pairs, playing the Championship Match, the #1 Contender Match, the #2 Contender Match and the Relegation Match respectively. Based on the results of one round of competition, a champion will be crowned, one competitor will be identified as being relegated and the most suitable set of matches for the next round of competition will be decided.

Championship Match: winner declared champion of the tournament for this round and appears in the Championship Match next time, loser drops to the #1 Contender Match next time.

#1 Contender Match: winner declared #1 contender of the tournament for this round and appears in the Championship Match next time, loser drops to the #2 Contender Match next time.

#2 Contender Match: winner declared #2 contender of the tournament for this round and appears in the #1 Contender Match next time, loser drops to the Relegation Match next time.

Relegation Match: winner escapes relegation from the tournament for this round and appears in the #2 Contender Match next time, loser is relegated from the tournament and replaced by someone from outside the existing tournament structure who will join the tournament structure in the Relegation Match next time.

In short:

+------------------------+                               +------------------------+
|                        |                               |                        |
|      CHAMPIONSHIP      |------------------------------>|      CHAMPIONSHIP      |
|                        |                               |                        |
|         MATCH          |\                 ------------>|         MATCH          |
|                        |  \             /              |                        |
+------------------------+    \         /                +------------------------+
                                \     /
                                  \ /
                                  / \
                                /     \
+------------------------+    /         \                +------------------------+
|                        |  /             \              |                        |
|      #1 CONTENDER      |/                 ------------>|      #1 CONTENDER      |
|                        |                               |                        |
|         MATCH          |\                 ------------>|         MATCH          |
|                        |  \             /              |                        |
+------------------------+    \         /                +------------------------+
                                \     /
                                  \ /
                                  / \
                                /     \
+------------------------+    /         \                +------------------------+
|                        |  /             \              |                        |
|      #2 CONTENDER      |/                 ------------>|      #2 CONTENDER      |
|                        |                               |                        |
|         MATCH          |\                 ------------>|         MATCH          |
|                        |  \             /              |                        |
+------------------------+    \         /                +------------------------+
                                \     /
                                  \ /
                                  / \
                                /     \
+------------------------+    /         \                +------------------------+
|                        |  /             \              |                        |
|       RELEGATION       |/                 ------------>|       RELEGATION       |
|                        |                               |                        |
|         MATCH          |\                 ------------>|         MATCH          |
|                        |  \             /              |                        |
+------------------------+    \         /                +------------------------+
                               |       |
                               |       |
                               |       |
                         RELEGATED   PROMOTED


Anyone is, at most, four consecutive victories away from the championship.
Anyone is, at most, four consecutive defeats away from relegation from the competition.

It would be possible to extend the competition in exactly the same fashion to include a #3 contender match, a #4 contender match and so forth, but "#1 contender" and "#2 contender" are both reasonably meaningful titles ("#1 contender" means "you get to play the champion next time" and "#2 contender" means "you get to play the loser of this championship match next time for a title shot") in a way that "#3 contender" is not, and even strong teams will flirt with relegation from time to time. If anything, I would be tempted to remove the "#2 contender" match level of competition from the tournament to leave just "championship match", "#1 contender match" and "relegation match", rather than to introduce extra levels in.

I leave issues of relegation and promotion deliberately blank; it would be possible to have a lower division run on exactly the same lines whose champion is promoted to this division, or it could be possible to regionalise the competition and have several parallel lower divisions, the champion of one of which is promoted to the upper division. Past champions might be favoured for promotion back into the competition, along with marketable up-and-coming players, perennial crowd favourites and the like.

Heck, it's got to be more interesting than the current spate of meaningless friendly matches we get in international (association) football, or the threatened revival of the Home International series...

I am idly considering running an ongoing competition on LJ just to see how this works out in practice - but if you're a game-organising, tournament format geek and want to go right ahead then please fire away happily and don't wait for me. How the matches might be conducted (i.e., what sort of competition it actually is) remains completely open to question!
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