Australian Championships & the PRR

The 2010 Australian Championships are going on right now in Adelaide, Australia, and rather unfortunately, the field doesn’t look as strong as it did in previous years, with some notable exceptions. Nevertheless, there are still a number of good players to look out for, and the current leader, Alastair Richards, is going on a pretty impressive streak… (as usual, the lack of annotation is lamentable, but not as if Singapore annotates any of its competitions)

As for me, I had an unrated “mini” tournament yesterday, with a double round-robin format against Dorai, Kian Boon and Tony. I managed to steal this one with 5 out of 6 wins, the last 2 being close ones which I don’t think I should have won. I was rather (though not completely) happy with my play in about 5 of the 6 games (no, if you were wondering, I was happy with the one I lost).

Since Tony was there, I had the opportunity to ask about the 1st Progressive Round Robin tourney, going to be held in Sengkang CC on the 24th of April (Saturday), as I did hear that there were some disputes going on with regards to the details of the tournament (the PRR tourney was Tony’s suggestion). Turns out that some of the more interesting disputes were over issues of fairness – more specifically prize money.

Would like to discuss some of the concepts raised here.

1. Is it fair if a player outdoes another player (in terms of spread, but is equal on wins) and receives a better prize because he has had easier pairings in general (e.g. player A is forced to play Nigel 5 times in a King-Of-The-Hill format, player B overtakes player A at the last moment after facing 5 easier opponents)? Why?

2. If you suggest question no. 1 is unfair, would it be fair to, in a Progressive Round Robin tourney, restrict the prize money of the lower groups of players, because their pairings would be easier than those who remained at the top group throughout (arguably)? What might be a good way to implement this?

3. Or would you otherwise suggest that prize money be given in accordance to average rating of opponents played? (i.e. if I had 6/9 wins against a field of average 1950 compared to another player with 7/9 against a field of average 1750, I would be given the higher prize money) Again, what might be a good way to implement this?

4. If you suggest question no. 1 is fair, would you suggest giving out prizes purely based on number of wins and spread in a PRR tourney? (i.e. if a player wins 7/9 games but fails to make it to the top group, he could possibly be given the top prize) If not, how would you give out prizes in a PRR?

5. What if, as it is possible with the PRR tourney, there are 4 segments, but only 3 round-robins (i.e. the bottom group would have totally no chance to rise to the top group)? Would it still be fair to give out prizes based on number of wins and spread?

I believe many of the concerns listed above have resulted in this complicated tournament prize structure (which begs a number of questions, but I don’t want to get myself involved in too many technicalities at the moment… maybe I’ll just wait for the tourney to happen).

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