Idea for a 192-team "power-matched" pool play NAQT

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Idea for a 192-team "power-matched" pool play NAQT

Post by pblessman » Sun Jun 06, 2010 12:50 pm

While we are throwing out ideas on how to use pool play at HSNCT, here's my idea on how to run a 192-team tournament with round-robin play and some aspect of power matching:

1. Seed all teams 1-192 (probably should be done anyway for power matching IMHO...)

2. Schedule into 32 groups of six: 1-64-65-128-129-192; 2-63-66-127-130-191... you get it...

3. Rounds 1-5: Play five-match round robins. The top THREE teams advance to 1-0 playoff round, bottom three to 0-1 consolation round. (play off matches if necessary to determine advancement...).

4. Schedule "winners" (as a block) into 16 groups of six (teams from one round robin advance to the SAME round robin). Use a pre-programmed card system by "planning" in round two for the 1-64-65 group to be together with the 32-33-96 group etc. (assuming everybody advances according to form).

5. Rounds 6-8: Teams play the three teams from their group they haven't played yet. Matches against the teams they faced previously carry over (Everybody starts this 2-0, 1-1, or 0-2). The top THREE teams from each 1-0 playoff round advance to the 2-0 playoff round, bottom three to 1-1 consolation round. (play off matches if necessary...). In the "Consolation bracket" teams advance to either the 1-1 or 0-2 consolation bracket.

6. Schedule winners of 2-0 groups (as a block) into 8 groups of six (teams from one round robin advance to the SAME round robin). (Use a pre-programmed card system to avoid rematches... notice the card system applies to these groups of three as a group, i.e. groups of three advance as indicated by their one joint card... Each group of six has has a loser's and a winner's card...)

7. After day 1 everybody has played 11 matches in three round robins. 24 teams have "won" three round robins, 72 are 2-1, 72 are 1-2, and 24 are 0-3. At MOST four teams are 0-11.

8. DAY TWO: The 24 teams who have placed in the top three in each RR advance (in sets of three) in to four 3-0 round robins. The 72 2-1 teams advance to 12 consolation round robins (using your card system). The bottom 96 could be also scheduled, but they would under NAQT's current system advance to the "scrimmage" round.

9. Rounds 12-14: Teams play the three teams from their group they haven't played yet. "Winners" advance to two 4-0 RRs, losers play in eight 3-1 Consolation RRs (where winners of the 2-1 RRs go as well).

10. Rounds 15-17: Two 4-0 RR's, 8 3-1 RR's. Advance to: One 5-0 RR and five 4-1 RRs

11. Rounds 18-20: One 5-0 RR, five 4-1 RRs...

12. Rounds 21-22 (Advantaged Final)

Finish with:

First and Second Place: Top two of 5-0 RR... after advantaged final.
Third Place-Sixth Place: Places 3-6 of 5-0 "Championship Round Robin"
7th (Five-way tie) Champions of 4-1 RRs
12th (Five-way tie) Runners-up of 4-1 RRs
Etc.

This would require one extra round on Saturday, and one on Sunday, if I'm not mistaken. The only exception are playoff matches, but NAQT might be able to use some of the additional matches they have to write for Saturday anyway... assuming they have room limitations again and play 15, 16, or even 17 rounds even though each team only plays 11 games.

In have not run simulations of this, but this should lead the top teams playing a larger percentage of top teams. If a card system is used, this also COMPLETELY eliminate repeats (I believe) (apart from the advantaged final) and gives weaker teams at least ONE opportunity to play a top 32 team (this is one complaint I have heard from "weaker" teams... if you lose early to a second tier opponent you'll NEVER see a top team...).

Alrighty... this might be confusing... please ask questions if you need clarification. If you're not confused, go ahead and comment!
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Re: Idea for a 192-team "power-matched" pool play NAQT

Post by Deviant Insider » Sun Jun 06, 2010 5:47 pm

Like all systems, this one has some weaknesses.
* It would take a long time to play. Starting with the end of the fifth match, after every three matches, you have to figure out everybody's rank within their pool. With large tournaments, this always takes time, and this is a very large tournament. Also, given the number of rooms this year and last, HSNCT had a system where each team played two out of each three rounds, so to be efficient you want some teams playing their sixth match while other teams played their fifth (which is what has happened during Round 8 the last two years). Having each team play eleven matches would have required two extra rounds, and with the added delays it would go on past dinner time. Some of this could be adjusted for by only playing eight matches Saturday (using twelve rounds) and then giving teams only three guaranteed matches Sunday so that at some point the top teams can play without byes.
* It's debatable whether this system fairly gives out places beyond third. After third place, you have a lot of teams that have "won" five pools and "lost" one, and it seems strange to care what exact place a team had in its last pool but not in any of the others. It would be surprising to me if the system you described gave more reliable results than the current system.
* You're going to get a lot of pools, so you're going to get a decent number of circles of death. Because of timing, I don't think you would want to break those circles using any method other than paper tiebreakers. Under a completely normal scenario, a team finishing 3-2 in a pool would get a pool win and start with an 0-2 record in the next pool, but there would be a number of cases where a 3-2 team, due to circumstances beyond their control, would get a pool win and start with a 1-1 record or get a pool loss and start with a 2-0 record. There could also be some odd cases where a 3-2 team would get a pool win and start 2-0 in the next pool or get a pool loss and start 1-1 in the next pool. (If you don't think odd cases can happen, examine the HSNCT matches between Chatham Glenwood, Culver, DCC A, and Northmont.) In general, there's luck involved, because you don't know whether a loss in your first match is something that will be wiped clean after your fifth match or whether you will carry it with you for the rest of the tournament.
* This system is not very flexible as to the number of teams. NAQT could have had an HSNCT with very few repeat matches and uneven matches if they had stuck with 192 teams with the card system as they did last year. Because there were more qualified teams who wanted to play, they raised the number to 200, a trade-off that meant a less elegant system but more opportunities for schools to play their first HSNCT.

All that being said, I wouldn't call this proposal unreasonable. It's imperfect like the others. It might be interesting to try it out with a 48 team, 11 round-plus-finals tournament.

At HSNCT, if bottom teams want to watch top teams, they can watch them on Sunday with the current system. If they want to play a top team, they probably can work that out Friday night. [snark]If that doesn't work out and they want to approximate the experience, they can just play a match without buzzing in.[/snark]
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Re: Idea for a 192-team "power-matched" pool play NAQT

Post by Black-throated Antshrike » Sun Jun 06, 2010 11:01 pm

While redoing the HSNCT format is definitely a good idea, this one has major flaws.

* To be practical the event would need basically all the rooms in the hotel and conference center to be able to do this in less than infinity time. This is due to the fact that you need basically 15 or so separate war rooms that can combine stats almost instantaneously to be able to reseed all the people after every third round. Also the sheer amount of general confusion this would cause with less experienced teams would just add more time to the schedule. Also any protest, circle of death, or need for a tiebreaker in one section would just hold up the entire tournament.

* Another problem with this idea is the ranking of the teams. Doing this will cause teams that are generally unknown due to either geographic isolation or infrequent playing of NAQT tournaments to be incorrectly seeded. The most prevalent example of this would be the California team that each year makes a run into the top ten but isn't recognized by the majority of quizbowl on the east coast.

Although the need for a restructuring is more evident after this years nationals, this proposed idea is not really feasible, although it may be possible with adjustments across the board
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Re: Idea for a 192-team "power-matched" pool play NAQT

Post by nobthehobbit » Sun Jun 06, 2010 11:41 pm

Andrew Jackson's Compatriot wrote:* Another problem with this idea is the ranking of the teams. Doing this will cause teams that are generally unknown due to either geographic isolation or infrequent playing of NAQT tournaments to be incorrectly seeded. The most prevalent example of this would be the California team that each year makes a run into the top ten but isn't recognized by the majority of quizbowl on the east coast.
Seeding may not be quite so much of an issue (or rather, only as much of one as it is now). Geographic isolation is a problem, but it's more "infrequent playing of tournaments" than "infrequent playing of NAQT tournaments". From what I saw, State College played only 1 NAQT tournament this year (though they basically dominated it), but I'd be very surprised if SC A was given a seed lower than 3, if not 2. NAQT uses non-NAQT tournaments to seed ICT (for one, to seed hosts properly, and it's not like other ICT contenders play any NAQT tournaments other than SCT), and I'd be very surprised if they didn't do the same for HSNCT.
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Re: Idea for a 192-team "power-matched" pool play NAQT

Post by Black-throated Antshrike » Mon Jun 07, 2010 12:02 am

nobthehobbit wrote:
Andrew Jackson's Compatriot wrote:* Another problem with this idea is the ranking of the teams. Doing this will cause teams that are generally unknown due to either geographic isolation or infrequent playing of NAQT tournaments to be incorrectly seeded. The most prevalent example of this would be the California team that each year makes a run into the top ten but isn't recognized by the majority of quizbowl on the east coast.
Seeding may not be quite so much of an issue (or rather, only as much of one as it is now). Geographic isolation is a problem, but it's more "infrequent playing of tournaments" than "infrequent playing of NAQT tournaments". From what I saw, State College played only 1 NAQT tournament this year (though they basically dominated it), but I'd be very surprised if SC A was given a seed lower than 3, if not 2. NAQT uses non-NAQT tournaments to seed ICT (for one, to seed hosts properly, and it's not like other ICT contenders play any NAQT tournaments other than SCT), and I'd be very surprised if they didn't do the same for HSNCT.
You make a good point due to the fact that there are so many other options for tournaments now. I do feel it would be better to go more of the way of ICT: both with rankings and with the tossup length so that there will be less buzzer races at the end and help to correctly stratophy the teams.
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Re: Idea for a 192-team "power-matched" pool play NAQT

Post by pblessman » Mon Jun 07, 2010 10:34 pm

Andrew Jackson's Compatriot wrote:... you need basically 15 or so separate war rooms that can combine stats almost instantaneously to be able to reseed all the people after every third round. Also the sheer amount of general confusion this would cause with less experienced teams would just add more time to the schedule. Also any protest, circle of death, or need for a tiebreaker in one section would just hold up the entire tournament.
Logistics are clearly a concern. However, I think there are a few practical solutions:

1. You would indeed need 16 "war rooms," but they would really just be "lead" readers in charge of two groups (and three other rooms) at a time. These four rooms could finish the three-match round robins in four or five rounds, with one group finishing after four rounds, one after five rounds. The "lead" room would always have a bye in rounds one and five allowing them to work out standings and find any possible ties which have to be broken. So half the groups would have an easy solution to breaking ties, as they would finish on a bye with the lead room being able to run a (half?) match to break a tie or have two rooms run if necessary to break a four team crazy tie. Things could be scheduled so that the other group (finishing after round five) would start the next round-robin with a bye... then breaking ties wouldn't be that big a deal... Also you would have two of the three round robins ending at lunch or dinner, so tiebreaking is not as terrible then... i'm not good enough at math to work this out perfectly, but i believe this logistical issue could be solved.

2. In terms of confusion, this is really not worse than what we have now, as teams would once again have cards- there would be 1-64-65-128-129 and 192 cards for the group starting it's round robin with the one seed, and then the schedule would be pre-determined from there, with the big exception that ALL SIX teams drop off their cards at the "lead room" and after standings are determined they pick up the appropriate card. The top three teams from that group get 1, 64, and 65 respectively and then join 32, 33, and 96 in the next round, the top three teams from that group get cards 1, 32, and 33, and then join 16,17, and 48, etc.

3. Circles of death for third place are a concern, so I would like to modify my proposal a bit to address any delay issues in that regard: ONLY teams who are 3-2 in a round robin will be granted a tiebreaker match if they are tied for third. 2-3 teams who are tied for third will have their ties broken using paper tiebreakers (most likely PP20TUH in the RR). The idea would be that if you're 2-3 you shouldn't expect to move on, so if you don't due to a paper tiebreaker I wouldn't think that team can claim to have gotten "screwed." A 3-2 team however should expect to move on and should have a chance to fight for that "at the buzzer." This means that tiebreakers would be sharply reduced, as the only finishes which end up having 3-2's tied for third are:

5-0, 3-2, 3-2, 3-2, 1-4, 0-5 (requires one half match between the second and third-best PP20TUH 3-2 teams)
4-1, 4-1, 3-2, 3-2, 1-4, 0-5 (requires one half match between the 3-2 teams)
3-2, 3-2, 3-2, 3-2, 3-2, 0-5 (requires Hades to freeze over for it actually to occur...)

Taking a wild guess that the first circle death will occur in 15% of groups, the second circle of death in 5%, and the last one in 1%, and taking in to account that half the playoff matches can be done during the bye round of that group, and 2/3 of the remaining playoff matches would happen during lunch or dinner, we would only be left with 3% of groups causing a possible delay... and some of that could be avoided because a bye can be scheduled for the following round for that group (i.e. transitions are always synced with byes)
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Re: Idea for a 192-team "power-matched" pool play NAQT

Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh » Mon Jun 07, 2010 10:47 pm

pblessman wrote:The idea would be that if you're 2-3 you shouldn't expect to move on, so if you don't due to a paper tiebreaker I wouldn't think that team can claim to have gotten "screwed." A 3-2 team however should expect to move on and should have a chance to fight for that "at the buzzer." This means that tiebreakers would be sharply reduced, as the only finishes which end up having 3-2's tied for third are:
[...]
3-2, 3-2, 3-2, 3-2, 3-2, 0-5 (requires Hades to freeze over for it actually to occur...)
What of the 5-0 pool winner and 5 way tie at 2-3 for 2nd? This is equally likely compared to the above 3-2 times 5 scenario - they are pools with 5 teams of very comparable or compatible abilities and one outlier team significantly better or significantly worse than the other 5.
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Re: Idea for a 192-team "power-matched" pool play NAQT

Post by pblessman » Mon Jun 07, 2010 11:04 pm

I'd say in a five-way tie for second at 2-3 you'd take the best and second best PP20TUH and advance them and the other three teams are left out based on the idea that teams with only two wins shouldn't have any expectation of advancing. Kind of sucky but at if you can't win the majority of games in your group...
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Re: Idea for a 192-team "power-matched" pool play NAQT

Post by rjaguar3 » Tue Jun 08, 2010 5:17 am

pblessman wrote:I'd say in a five-way tie for second at 2-3 you'd take the best and second best PP20TUH and advance them and the other three teams are left out based on the idea that teams with only two wins shouldn't have any expectation of advancing. Kind of sucky but at if you can't win the majority of games in your group...
This makes no sense. So if five teams of roughly equal strength are put in a pool with a far inferior team, then you would have a tiebreaker, but if the pool instead happens to include a far stronger team, then you would not hold a tiebreaker? Going 2-3 in a pool with a very good team and 4 similar teams is good enough to get into a tie for 2nd and 3rd, so a tiebreaker is justified.

Also, your suggestion of automatically advancing the top seeded team in a 3-way tiebreaker and having the bottom two play off is faulty, as it forces the elimination of one of the bottom two teams based on a paper tiebreaker.
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Re: Idea for a 192-team "power-matched" pool play NAQT

Post by pblessman » Tue Jun 08, 2010 9:14 am

rjaguar3 wrote: Also, your suggestion of automatically advancing the top seeded team in a 3-way tiebreaker and having the bottom two play off is faulty, as it forces the elimination of one of the bottom two teams based on a paper tiebreaker.
This is the only way to do it... the only other possibility is playing a full Round Robin for the three teams, which takes three rounds AND risks another circle of death. PLUS nobody is getting eliminated on a paper tiebreaker, all teams have a chance to earn their spot.
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Re: Idea for a 192-team "power-matched" pool play NAQT

Post by Deviant Insider » Tue Jun 08, 2010 9:24 am

I don't think you're going to have the space to play off tiebreakers. When HSNCT had 192 teams last year, they had 64 rooms in use each round. I believe that they had a 65th room available to deal with rooms falling behind and other odd situations that could come up, but to work efficiently each of the 64 rooms needed to be used in each round. The 64 teams that had a bye each round could not take up one of those rooms to play a tiebreaker without the schedule becoming significantly less efficient. Adding more rooms would add to the cost of the tournament and add to the number of questionable moderators. (They had 67 rooms this year, but they got more than 192 entry fees.)

Also, even if you had the space, the logistics would be very difficult. Each mini headquarters would need several contingency schedules along the lines of: If Teams W, X, Y, and Z are available the first round, then Room A has X vs Y and Room B has W vs Z. If Z is not available but V is, then... Also, while you could have one headquarter for each merging pair of pools after round five, you would have to cross headquarters after rounds 8, 11, etc. This makes it more complicated and time consuming to figure out which teams are available at which times, which records carry over, etc.

If you used this system with only paper tiebreakers, it would be more time consuming per round than the system that was used this year. If you used it with half-packet tiebreakers, it would be significantly more time consuming.
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Re: Idea for a 192-team "power-matched" pool play NAQT

Post by jonpin » Tue Jun 08, 2010 10:12 am

pblessman wrote:
rjaguar3 wrote: Also, your suggestion of automatically advancing the top seeded team in a 3-way tiebreaker and having the bottom two play off is faulty, as it forces the elimination of one of the bottom two teams based on a paper tiebreaker.
This is the only way to do it... the only other possibility is playing a full Round Robin for the three teams, which takes three rounds AND risks another circle of death. PLUS nobody is getting eliminated on a paper tiebreaker, all teams have a chance to earn their spot.
The standard 3-for-2 tiebreaker mechanism is A vs B on a half-packet to qualify, {loser AB} vs C on a half-packet to qualify, on the basis of symmetry: just like no team should be eliminated on a paper tiebreaker, no team should be guaranteed advancement on a paper tiebreaker.
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Re: Idea for a 192-team "power-matched" pool play NAQT

Post by pblessman » Tue Jun 08, 2010 12:33 pm

Westwon wrote:I don't think you're going to have the space to play off tiebreakers.
I went ahead and drafted a schedule for this for the first day. Four rooms are required for each two groups, which would mean that there would have to be 64 rooms staffed. The first (five-match) RR lasts eight rounds, the two three-match RRs last five rounds each for 18 rounds the first day. Schedule-wise lunch will be staggered, so we could save 30 minutes at lunch, but we would have to start 30 minutes earlier AND finish 30 minutes later. Each lead room has a bye in the first and last room of each round robin. Half of the teams would be scheduled to have a bye at the end of each RR, and the other half to have byes at the start at each RR, so I think we could do TBs, although it would be tough. This is part of the reason I would NOT play off 2-3 teams.

The keeping track of stats thing has been mentioned several times as a potential problem. I think this could be addressed in a low tech fashion by marking results (W or L, Total Points, TUH) on each card for each match. Then at the end of the RR those numbers can be easily computed right off there when the six cards are brought together in the "lead room." It might be harder than I imagine, but I think this is doable.
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Re: Idea for a 192-team "power-matched" pool play NAQT

Post by jonpin » Tue Jun 08, 2010 1:57 pm

After looking at this, here are some down-sides:
*Of course, the multiple breaks. Breaks after 8, 13, 18 on Saturday, and after 21, 24 on Sunday, followed by the advantage finals.
*I'm assuming that all teams play all rounds as long as they are alive on Sunday. That means the start of Sunday needs 48 rooms. It also means that the tournament will have to stop for tiebreakers.
*It's too generous. Promoting three of six teams is what causes this to go on for a long time. A better idea would be to break into twos; the downside to this is how you mix teams that go top-two/not-top-two with teams that go third/top-two. I don't really have any good answers to that.

So here's my version of your idea, with the following principles:
*Double-elimination playoffs are preserved. Similarly, the advantage for the highest-performing teams of going into the playoffs "undefeated" is maintained.
*Only one break on Saturday, with a second break at the very end of the day (tiebreakers would be played first thing Sunday morning).
*This is the most controversial, perhaps: Teams start in 8-team groups, and only the top two advance, with all others eliminated from championship contention. This practice has been used at ICT since at least 2005, and at NSC the past two years.
*Teams should remain in relatively close quarters during play within a group.

This format does require 64 rooms on Saturday in eight blocks of eight rooms. Each block hosts a "conference" of 24 teams which plays the format from this year's CCCT*. If more moderator variety is desired, conferences can switch blocks at lunchtime.

Stage One (Rounds 1-11): Each conference is split into three groups of 8, which plays a round-robin.
Tiebreaker (Round 12): Break ties for 2nd, 4th, and 6th.
Stage Two (Rounds 13-18): Top two from each group cross-over; so do 3rd-4th, 5th-6th and 7th-8th. Since the top tier is the only one eligible for the championship, I would suggest that its play end in Round 17 so that those teams can gather in a meeting room during Round 18 for announcements as to their playoff fate. This marks the end of Saturday.

There are a number of ways to go from here based on how many to take into the playoffs. This is my suggestion:
Tiebreaks (Round 19): Break ties for 1st and 3rd in each conference.
Stage Three (Rounds 20-26): Double-elimination playoffs. Teams that finished first in their conference are given 1-8 seeds and placed in the winner's ("A") bracket. Teams that finished second are given 9-16 seeds and placed in the loser's ("B") bracket; teams that finished third are given 17-24 seeds and are placed in the B bracket. All 24 playoff teams gets a trophy.
Round 20: 4 A games, 8 B games (losers are 17th place)
Round 21: 2 A games, 6 B games (losers are 11th place)
Round 22: 1 A game, 4 B games (losers are 7th place)
Round 23: 1 cross-bracket game, 2 B games.

If unbeaten team won Round 23: Round 23 losers are 4th-6th; Round 24 is the B-bracket final; Rounds 25-26 are advantage final.
If unbeaten team lost Round 23: Round 23 losers are 5th-6th; all four remaining teams have a loss so Round 24 is semifinals; Round 25 is a one-game final.

*-With two differences: One, they don't play the finals; and two, I'd prefer if only the natural carryover game was counted.
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Re: Idea for a 192-team "power-matched" pool play NAQT

Post by pblessman » Wed Jun 09, 2010 6:49 am

I am aiming to have a field of 24 some time soon to try and run this on a smaller scale at Culver (without byes). 24 teams would result in an 11-match/3-round-robin schedule:

9-11:30 First RR (1-5)
12:30-2:00 Second RR
2;00-2:30 Break/Tiebreakers
2:30-4:00 Third RR
4:00-5:00 Advantaged Final (if necessary)

Should be interesting!
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