Sunday 18 November 2018

A Swiss tournament, and how it works in practice


When talking about the future of the Grand Slam a couple of posts ago, I mentioned that rather than having a group stage, they should run it as a Swiss format instead, which I've always thought makes things a lot fairer and interesting in any tournament where you don't have a straight knockout, and while I've also suggested it for other things (it would be perfect for Q-School, as it's designed to order competitors as a whole and with Q-School, you don't care about a winner, just the top however many players to fill tour cards), I don't think I've ever explained or demonstrated how it works in practice. So let's have a go at it.

The gist of it is that you play a certain number of rounds of games. In the first round, you can match players up in a number of ways - either completely randomly, via some sort of seeding system, or a mixture of the two, it doesn't really matter but for this demonstration I'll divide the players into two pots and draw one against the other.

In future rounds, you are drawn against a player who, as far as it reasonably possible, has the same number of points as you. Here, it'd be the same number of legs won.

Who will we have in? I suggested you could expand to 40 players if you got rid of the group system, so let's do that. Let's have everyone that won a PDC tournament this year on top of those that qualified anyway:

1 Cross, 2 van Gerwen, 3 G Anderson, 4 van den Bergh, 5 Wade, 6 van Barneveld, 7 Wright, 8 M Smith, 9 Suljovic, 10 Payne, 11 Cadby (as this is all hypothetical, I'm letting him back in), 12 Whitlock, 13 Clayton, 14 Price, 15 White, 16 Hopp, 17 Ratajski, 18 Mansell, 19 de Zwaan, 20 King, 21 Aspinall, 22 Noppert

We're going to invite back the same 8 BDO players, so that leaves 10 spots to fill. Let's go with the winners of subsidiary tours that aren't already qualified:

23 Barnard (Challenge Tour), 24 Humphries (Development Tour), 25 Labanauskas (Nordic/Baltic Tour), 26 Ilagan (Asian Tour), 27 R Smith (DPA Tour)

Crap, that's still five spots to fill. We still need to have a PDPA qualifier, so we'll go with four spots from that as well as the women's world champ:

28 Ashton, 29 Chisnall, 30 Gurney, 31 K Anderson, 32 Lewis

Here I've just gone with the four players not qualified with the highest points per turn this season. We then have 33 Durrant, 34 Mitchell, 35 Unterbuchner, 36 Harms, 37 Williams, 38 McGeeney, 39 Robson, 40 Smith-Neale.

Done. 40 players. We will play four rounds of six legs each, for the first round, we'll go completely randomly. It should be noted that when I simulate things, I'm going to need to proxy for Ilagan, Smith and Ashton - looking for players that I think should be around a similar standard, I'll go for Quantock, Stevenson and Langendorf respectively. Whether these are accurate really doesn't matter, but let's go randomise and simulate:

Friday evening:

Raymond Smith 3-3 Wesley Harms
Michael Unterbuchner 1-5 Gary Robson
Michael Barnard 2-4 Mark McGeeney
Josh Payne 3-3 Jeffrey de Zwaan
Kyle Anderson 4-2 Nathan Aspinall
Luke Humphries 1-5 James Wade
Rob Cross 3-3 Dave Chisnall
Jonny Clayton 4-2 Gary Anderson
Corey Cadby 4-2 Mickey Mansell
Peter Wright 4-2 Gerwyn Price

Saturday afternoon:

Scott Mitchell 2-4 Dimitri van den Bergh
Ian White 2-4 Darius Labanauskas
Michael Smith 4-2 Adam Smith-Neale
Mensur Suljovic 4-2 Krzysztof Ratajski
Lisa Ashton 1-5 Danny Noppert
Max Hopp 2-4 Mervyn King
Adrian Lewis 2-4 Jim Williams
Michael van Gerwen 5-1 Lourence Ilagan
Glen Durrant 1-5 Simon Whitlock
Raymond van Barneveld 1-5 Daryl Gurney

That's the first round done. Now we match players with the same number of legs won with each other, starting at the top: Robson, Wade, Noppert, van Gerwen, Whitlock and Gurney all had five legs and will face each other, McGeeney, Kyle Anderson and everyone with four legs will play each other and so on. We just need to make sure that those with three legs don't have a rematch, which may come up more often in later rounds. So let's go:

Saturday evening:

Luke Humphries 2-4 Michael Unterbuchner
Michael Barnard 2-4 Nathan Aspinall
Josh Payne 4-2 Raymond Smith
Wesley Harms 4-2 Dave Chisnall
Kyle Anderson 3-3 Mark McGeeney
Gary Robson 3-3 James Wade
Jeffrey de Zwaan 3-3 Mickey Mansell
Jonny Clayton 4-2 Corey Cadby
Gerwyn Price 1-5 Gary Anderson
Peter Wright 4-2 Rob Cross

Sunday afternoon:

Scott Mitchell 6-0 Adam Smith-Neale
Max Hopp 3-3 Adrian Lewis
Dimitri van den Bergh 5-1 Mervyn King
Darius Labanauskas 1-5 Mensur Suljovic
Jim Williams 1-5 Michael Smith
Lisa Ashton 1-5 Glen Durrant
Lourence Ilagan 4-2 Raymond van Barneveld
Ian White 6-0 Krzysztof Ratajski
Simon Whitlock 0-6 Daryl Gurney
Danny Noppert 3-3 Michael van Gerwen

These all split up nicely enough to allow nobody to play back to back - note that because we had an odd number of players with four wins, we've needed to bump a player at random with three wins, which turned out to be Cross (similarly, that forced Mansell up into the three win pool). So after two games, Gurney leads the field on 11 with van den Bergh, Suljovic and Michael Smith behind on 9, eight players on 8 and so on until you have Smith-Neale, Ashton and Ratajski on 2. On to round 3:

Sunday evening:

Raymond Smith 6-0 Michael Barnard
Luke Humphries 2-4 Gerwyn Price
Wesley Harms 1-5 Jeffrey de Zwaan
Michael Unterbuchner 4-2 Dave Chisnall
Josh Payne 2-4 Mark McGeeney
Mickey Mansell 2-4 Rob Cross
Nathan Aspinall 3-3 Corey Cadby
Jonny Clayton 6-0 Gary Robson
Gary Anderson 3-3 Kyle Anderson
James Wade 2-4 Peter Wright

Monday evening:

Max Hopp 1-5 Simon Whitlock
Glen Durrant 4-2 Jim Williams
Adam Smith-Neale 2-4 Krzysztof Ratajski
Danny Noppert 4-2 Ian White
Mervyn King 3-3 Darius Labanauskas
Adrian Lewis 5-1 Lourence Ilagan
Mensur Suljovic 3-3 Michael Smith
Lisa Ashton 1-5 Raymond van Barneveld
Michael van Gerwen 4-2 Scott Mitchell
Daryl Gurney 4-2 Dimitri van den Bergh

So far, it's worked out that the players on each number of points have split nicely so we didn't have any players going on back to back sessions on the same day, this might be unavoidable in some scenarios but it's now moot, as everyone is back on the Tuesday. Right now the cutoff is on 10 legs as to whether you'll finish in the top sixteen and advance to the knockout stages, so what is good to do here is to schedule the games that probably aren't going to matter in the afternoon session, and then have the evening be full of matches where anything might happen. So let's go with it:

Tuesday afternoon:

Lisa Ashton 2-4 Adam Smith-Neale
Luke Humphries 4-2 Michael Barnard
Max Hopp 3-3 Lourence Ilagan
Mickey Mansell 0-6 Krzysztof Ratajski
Gerwyn Price 4-2 Jim Williams
Darius Labanauskas 2-4 Dave Chisnall
Peter Wright 2-4 Danny Noppert
Daryl Gurney 4-2 Jonny Clayton
Jeffrey de Zwaan 3-3 Mensur Suljovic
Michael Smith 4-2 Michael van Gerwen

Tuesday evening:

Gary Robson 4-2 Mervyn King
Wesley Harms 3-3 Raymond van Barneveld
Mark McGeeney 1-5 Dimitri van den Bergh
Raymond Smith 1-5 Gary Anderson
Michael Unterbuchner 2-4 Josh Payne
Rob Cross 2-4 Corey Cadby
Nathan Aspinall 2-4 Ian White
Kyle Anderson 3-3 Scott Mitchell
James Wade 2-4 Simon Whitlock
Glen Durrant 2-4 Adrian Lewis

This would give us a final standings of:

19 - Daryl Gurney
16 - Jonny Clayton, Michael Smith, Peter Wright, Dimitri van den Bergh
15 - Mensur Suljovic, Gary Anderson
14 - Danny Noppert, Michael van Gerwen, Jeffrey de Zwaan, Simon Whitlock, Ian White, Adrian Lewis
13 - Kyle Anderson, Scott Mitchell, Josh Payne, Corey Cadby
12 - Mark McGeeney, Raymond Smith, Glen Durrant, Gary Robson, Krzysztof Ratajski, James Wade
11 - Michael Unterbuchner, Rob Cross, Nathan Aspinall, Wesley Harms, Raymond van Barneveld, Gerwyn Price, Dave Chisnall
10 - Mervyn King, Darius Labanauskas
9 - Jim Williams, Max Hopp, Lourence Ilagan, Luke Humphries
8 - Adam Smith-Neale
7 - Mickey Mansell
6 - Michael Barnard
5 - Lisa Ashton

Now it's pretty easy to see that the cutoff is on 13 points, and the usual tiebreaker in these sorts of events is to go by the strength of schedule - i.e. look at who you played and see how many legs your opponents won. This generally works alright, so let's see what happens if we work out the seedings for the knockout stages, listing the number of legs won by the opponents in brackets:

(1) Daryl Gurney - 19 (57)
(2) Jonny Clayton - 16 (59)
(3) Dimitri van den Bergh - 16 (54)
(4) Peter Wright - 16 (48)
(5) Michael Smith - 16 (46)
(6) Mensur Suljovic - 15 (52)
(7) Gary Anderson - 15 (52)
(8) Michael van Gerwen - 14 (52)
(9) Simon Whitlock - 14 (52)
(10) Danny Noppert - 14 (49)
(11) Ian White - 14 (47)
(12) Jeffrey de Zwaan - 14 (46)
(13) Adrian Lewis - 14 (40)
(14) Kyle Anderson - 13 (51)
(15) Scott Mitchell - 13 (51)
(16) Josh Payne - 13 (49)
(17) Corey Cadby - 13 (45)

You'd need to find some other tiebreaker between Suljovic and Gary and then Kyle and Mitchell (no real point between van Gerwen and Whitlock), would probably flip if it's just for seedings or playoff if it's to see if you got through or not, but that's by the by - hopefully this demonstrates how such a tournament could work.

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