Sunday 27 January 2019

Challenge Tour round 1 is done

So we know what our countback order is for the first 14 (!) Pro Tour events of the year - Edhouse has first dibs, then whoever wins this final between Koltsov and Prins, Burton, then Carroll, with Rafferty and the loser of this final being some order of 5th/6th, Todd, Lynskey and Taylor following with Gilding and Askew the younger closing out a tie for 10th.

There's naturally been some conversation on Twitter regarding the length of the days of these - it's a bit long, but it's nothing new. Darren Johnson brought up the point previously and Jason Marriott's made the point on Twitter (although he's seemingly in a different time zone, a 15 hour day as he quotes would see you finish at half one in the morning - it's still a long day in fairness so we'll forgive him that).

There's a few things you can do here. The first is to stop pissing about waiting for the first event to finish to start the second. From the last 32 stage, you've got 16 boards (and rising) available doing absolutely nothing. They literally wait until the first one is over before starting. It takes five matches to play out the rest of the tournament - if you get 5 matches in on each of those 16 boards, you've eliminated 80 players. That's nearly a third of the field! That'll eliminate a serious amount of time. If this is a Dart Connect limitation then fair enough, but I can't believe they wouldn't be able to run two tournaments concurrently, you just need a bit of flexibility in scheduling - giving everyone in the last 32 of event one a first round bye if possible and moving their matches to the end of the board isn't difficult.

Secondly, you could always reduce the number of events and increase the prize pool in each of them. I think trimming it to two events would be a bit much, but you could get it down to three quite easily - on day one, just play down to the last 64 on the second event, and play that to its conclusion on day two. Combine this with the first idea and you could make a heck of a lot more progress and be done with the day in a reasonable amount of time.

One thing to think about if you went down the second route, and something I think I've suggested before, is to run the two events concurrently - play the round of 256 of the first event, then play the round of 256 of the second event, then repeat for the round of 128 for each. While you've got a bit more waiting around between your first 2-3 games compared to if you win, at least you don't have the situation where if you lose your first game in the first event, you're then waiting for five hours to play again, and if you lose your first two games you can get home/back to the hotel an awful lot quicker. Or, if you stick with four events on a weekend, you can play the last 32 onwards in parallel, or close to it - you're always going to get some backlog if players are still alive in both events, but I'd have thought you'd be able to trim a good chunk of time off.

Koltsov won that final, I don't know his residency situation so it'll be tough to say how many of the Pro Tours he can actually play. We'll see. On to the Dutch Open we go.

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