Saturday, 23 June 2012

The random swiss

One of the problems of playing lots of repeated tournaments is that you may end playing the same players over and over. This was raised as a concern at Street Chess today, with the observation that first round opponents, and even key opponents, tend to repeat during a rating period.
This is not necessarily a new problem as a number of years ago the Canberra Chess Club experimented with 5 week events, but strong players found it annoying that they often had to play the same lower rated opponent every 6 weeks (ie in rd 1 of every event).
One solution is to experiment with various random swisses. The simplest way is to simply allocate the seeding numbers randomly, and pair from there.
Another possibility is to try alternative pairing systems. I previously posted about the New Zealand Chess Federations 'Reverse Pairings' method, which I since found out was invented to combat exactly this sort of problem. I've since been made aware of another system, the 'Italian Swiss' (or 'Clock Swiss'), which was a form of random swiss in the 1970's. As the 'Clock Swiss' is being presented at the upcoming Swiss Pairings Programs meeting in Istanbul (although in a more structured form), I will probably try and run at least one tournament with this system before the meeting. I don't expect it will result in too many bizarre pairings, but it may mix things up enough to placate the murmurs of the Street Chess crowd.

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