Saturday 3 February 2018

A selection of random thoughts

- Won't say much about the Masters, it's a non-event as far as I'm concerned, but it was good to see Barney back firing, the guy that runs the Darts Elo Twitter account, like me, has Barney making the top 4 of the Premier League, so it's good that he's showing form in an unranked exhibition where we're predicting him to do well in an unranked exhibition.

- Won't say too much about the Premier League either, interesting to see Whitlock play really well and Anderson choke away an unassailable lead, but the rest of the results didn't really tell us too much and those games could easily just be variance.

- Dutch Open is under way, looks like they didn't have quite as many entrants as originally planned (obviously in an event like this there's going to be plenty registering but not showing), but it still seems like an epic event. I really want to try to make it to the next one as it sounds like it's amazing.

- There were a few players on Twitter (Darren Johnson was at least one, Diogo Portela mentioned it on the weekly podcast) saying that the Challenge Tour days were far too long, and I've got to agree. They've got 200+ runners and they've got to run through all of them twice, that's a big ask. The answer, as far as I'm concerned, is to run them all concurrently. You can certainly save a bunch of time by making sure that as many boards as possible are being used at all times. What I'd do is this:

- Start the weekend on the Friday night, say at 6pm. Play through to the last 128 of events 1 and 2 of the weekend as a minimum, if time permits start playing the last 128 (say last game starts at 10pm). Do event 1 first, then event 2, and don't use the current system of people "winning their board" - draw up a running order, and allocate matches as boards get freed up. This also allows you to tweak the running order, if someone's drawn early in event 2 and late in event 1 you can move their game back to give them rest (you can even do this in advance, if someone's in the last 32 games on in a previous tournament you put the matches of those 64 players to the back of the queue). Only run events 1 and 2 on the Friday so that if players can't get time off work (if you play on a bank holiday weekend you can extend the session a bit) and can only play the weekend proper, they can still play events 3 and 4.
- On the Saturday and onwards, kick off events 3 and 4 first to have them catch up, then once you're at the last 64, you play all of event 1's games at the same time (I think they use 32 boards in these, if it's only 16 then it's shifted a round to play everything concurrently), then all of event 2's, etc etc. At the last 32 stage, you can now play two events concurrently - you'll need to tweak the running order a touch as there'll be players in both events as needed. I've not timed things properly but this should be a lot quicker, but the whole point is that you don't have spots where you're at the quarter finals of the first event and you've got many boards going unused.

- PDC are using something called DartConnect which sounds like it might be the holy grail of floor stats, but I've not seen what it can actually produce yet, and whether it can be worked to farm everything efficiently.

- Adrian Lewis is a bit of a silly boy. You need to work on the floor to stay in the qualifying places for majors as you're not in the top 16, and you go and get yourself suspended in the very first tournament. That's just about as unprofessional as it gets.

- First UK Open qualifier in the books, quite a few of the usual names at the business end but some surprises - the new Spanish kid having a real deep run, Dave Prins showing up, Cross going out before the money to Cadby, who should have had a good run but missed every match dart in the world against Whitlock, and some new/interesting names putting themselves on the brink of qualification already like Nentjes, Rickwood and Rod's lad. Also great to put Shayne Burgess back in the rankings, it's just like the old days.

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