Sunday 23 April 2023

An old manual pairing system

 I've spent the last 3 days in Sydney, attending a CCLA meeting, buying and collecting books, and generally having a small break from Canberra. One book I picked up (courtesy of GM Ian Rogers) was the Australian Chess Championship Yearbook 1971-72. I have a few of these books (although not this one), and they are more than just a games collection. They often contain lots of extra information about chess clubs of the time, short biographies of players, and current rules and regulations.

In this edition, there were the Swiss Pairing Rules for the 1971 Australian Championship. The most interesting feature was the ordering of players. This was as follows

1. Score, highest first

2. Colour difference (0,+-1,+-2)

3. Sum of opponents ratings - lowest sum first

4. Start rank

Then starting at the top an opponent was found for the top remaining player by choosing a player from the highest scoring group, with the greatest opposite colour difference, and the highest SOR. Of course players could not play the same opponent a second time. This was done until a third of the pairings had been done, when pairings from the bottom  were worked out, until the bottom third had been done. Then the middle group was paired (top down I assume). There were minor rules to deal with groups that could not be paired, as will as determining colour for players with an identical colour history.

As with most pairing systems of that time, the rules were more of a "guideline for arbiters" and I assume that there were cases when a D.O.P simply decided that a set of pairings "looked right"


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