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posted at 2013-09-23 22:33 by KiranY

From one of my teammate's:
"the fewer forfeits rule is not fair. we already got punished in 2 rounds for our unreliable player. still we managed to get same score, means we are actually better. so why get punished again then?"

I presume this rule was introduced to highlight the importance of having lesser forfeits or having reliable players which might be right in a way. But for all practical purposes wouldn't the team/captain already have learnt their lesson the hard way by losing out on valuable gp/mp? and despite the odds reached the same score, would be hoping for a playoff spot?

If the forfeits had occurred just before the last round or in the last round, then it can be argued that the team might not deserve a place in playoff, due to the reason that they might forfeit one of their boards in the playoff round too. Then it would not be a fair/competitive round to decide the champion. But what if the team having forfeits in the middle rounds had learnt their mistake and replaced with a more reliable player. Then they would only look forward to the playoffs right?

On another note, the next tie breaker is removing the lower boards one by one and calculating gp and mp etc. Is this method fixed or does it change from tourney to tourney. I thought we had a system, where we remove board results from the top and bottom in alternate tourneys. This would give equal importance to the lower boards too. Or even better is to remove b4 and then b1 and b3 etc.

All these tiebreaks occur very rarely, but when it does the rules should be such that they give equal importance to all the factors.

posted at 2013-09-24 05:58 by smallblackcat

The reason why 'fewest forfeits' is now applied before 'board elimination' is because it was thought that board elimination was entirely arbitrary. As you say, there's no reason why lower boards should have lesser importance in a team competition.

There was a rule about swapping between removing boards from the top and bottom in alternating tournaments, which was a holdover from the days when TL was played across both FICS and the ICC. This was removed some years ago, because it seemed needlessly complicated to have the rule change from tournament to tournament.

If there are suggestions for a fairer way of handling such situations, we are open to hearing them.

posted at 2013-09-24 08:21 by anandkvs

Having been the beneficiary of this rule in the past (TL54), I would agree that it is not fair and punishing a team twice for a forfeit doesn't seem to have much point.

For alternate system, why not use a system used in round robin chess tournaments, like the Candidates 2013?

Since wins with black etc. are not relevant in a team competition, the relevant tiebreaker in our case would be either higher match wins (1 match win is better than 2 match draws) or the Sonneborn-Berger.

These scores also have the advantage of being mechanically easily computable and can be displayed in the standings table.

posted at 2013-09-24 08:27 by anandkvs

Actually now that I think about it, wins with black can be relevant as well. However, I personally dislike the rule (and from an unscientific sample of articles I read online, many others disliked it as well) and think Sonneborn-Berger would be better.

posted at 2013-09-24 09:49 by smallblackcat

I don't think it makes much sense to count match wins ahead of match draws, since for example you can win a match with 3 draws and a win, and draw it with 2 wins and 2 losses.

Using a sum of scores-based tiebreaker makes sense, though there is the question of whether they are based on MPs or GPs. If it's based on MPs, this has the problem that the difference between 2-2 rounds and 2.5-1.5 rounds would be elevated even further than they already are. Using GPs would seem contradictory to the overall scoring system.

I would suggest using a sum of progressive MPs. It's simple enough to work out, and it counter-balances the possible advantage of playing an eliminated and disheartened team later in the tourney. Most importantly, it's very unlikely to result in another tie!

posted at 2013-09-24 10:39 by kirany

I understand it was arbitrary or changing from tourney to tourney but the point is, the tiebreakers 1,2,4 etc all focus on game or match 'points' (either won,loss or drawn represent merit). Introducing the concept of forfeits as the 3rd tiebreaker or in the middle doesn't make sense, since it relies on someone's misfortune. Some suggestions are:

1. Remove b1 and recompute MP and GP of all rounds (giving importance to lower boards first). And ofcourse match with MP first and then GP.
If its still a tie, remove b4 and calculate again. And finally remove b2. In this method instead of alternating between every tourney we have a fixed system to alternate between the boards.
And yeah I might be arguing for a change again if I am at the receiving end of this :P.

2. Calculate the black board's score in all the rounds. This gives importance to black's results since there is a general tendency to be satisfied with a draw as a black. The downside is, this has more chances of not resolving the tie than the 1st case. But atleast we are honoring black's play. Also if a forfeiting player played black in a round it would be counted again against the team. So that need not be taken into account otherwise it would defeat the purpose. We are counting only played game results.

posted at 2013-09-24 22:30 by PankracyRozumek

What about making the average *actual* rating of team players in all their games the 4th (or even the 3rd) tiebreaker? This would promote the team who has lower *actual* ratings but still managed to score as well as a stronger team.

This is unlikely to lead to further ties. It is easy to calculate automatically and display in the table if needed.

Sum of progressive scores, if I understand correctly, promotes the team which scored higher earlier in the tournament, right? So a team with scores 1-1-0 in three rounds would rank higher than team scoring 0-1-1? If this is the case, it might discourage some players from fighting till the end.

posted at 2013-09-25 03:37 by smallblackcat

If you mean using FICS ratings, then that is unworkable, since people are free to play FICS standard games at any time up to and even past the deadline for playoff pairings. I can imagine a scenario where members of tied teams are scrambling to lose rating points in the run up to the deadline. It could be done based purely on TL performance, but that would seem rather contradictory - the team whose players have better overall TL performance get eliminated.

I don't understand your concern about using progressive scores. Since this would only come into play when everything else (MPs, GPs, head-to-head) are already tied, it is not a disincentive to keep fighting till the end of the tourney, because everything else would still be in play (GPs come down to the very last game, as it is).

posted at 2013-09-25 05:02 by anandkvs

Progressive scores makes sense more in Swiss System tournaments, since if you score higher in early rounds, you meet tougher opponents. In Round Robin, Sonneborn-Berger is used often and makes more sense (defeating a higher-placed team counts more than defeating lower-placed player).

So Sonneborn-Berger based on Match Points seems the logical choice (I had meant this earlier, perhaps I was not clear enough).

posted at 2013-09-25 05:39 by anandkvs

Just to add something to sbc's point about Sonneborn-Berger (or any other system) based on Match Points weighting 2.5-1.5 vs 2-2 even more. There can be two ways of thinking about this

a) The second tie-breaker is Game-Points anyway, which works in the opposite direction (against narrow wins). To elaborate. Teams A and B are tied on Match Points with team A winning one (by 2.5-1.5) and losing one and team B drawing both by 2-2. Then the only way they can be tied on game points is if they have lost as narrowly as they have won (1.5-2.5)

b) 2.5-1.5 is a win and 2-2 is a draw, which is in the spirit of the team competition anyway. So the only thing which matters by analogy with single player competition is 1 point for a win and 0.5 for a draw.

posted at 2013-09-25 08:27 by KRMCHESS

I actually know of some leagues where if you get enough defaults you actually get match points deducted. I realise it can be difficult if you have unreliable opponents but it's also difficult for person whose opponent doesn't turn up since if they're anything like me then they've already put in a few hours of preparation where they prepare openings etc.

As far as a suggestion for an alternative goes I would propose what I call sportsmanship coefficient. Basically what it would mean is that any actions that make running TL harder get a negative while anything that makes it easier gets a positive. Examples could be as follows:

Receiving warning message about first contact in 1 day = -0.1
Missing first contact deadline = -0.3
Forfeit = -1
Captain choosing unavailable player = -0.5 (on top of forfeit if applicable)
Missing game and rescheduling = -0.5 for person who missed game, +0.5 for person who agreed not to insist on forfeit and play match later
Completing game with no issues (i.e. no negatives) = +0.2

There could be a few others and potential TD could award points if people have been particularly helpful or dock some if they've been quite unhelpful or their behaviour has been inappropriate. It's more complicated than forfeits although it should be possible to add it as a variable in standings so a quick easy comparison would be available. Of course it's merely a concept and figures are just ball park figures but such a system could theoretically give an incentive for people to schedule matches promptly and efficiently in such a fashion that it makes TD's jobs easier

posted at 2013-09-25 09:58 by smallblackcat

A couple of quick responses to the above suggestions:

I suspect that Sonnenborn-Berger has less value in a team competition, since the strength of the opposition is not necessary constant (i.e. sometimes teams field a weaker lineup).

I suspect that the 'sportsmanship coefficient' will appeal to some among the TDs. I'm afraid I have a more cynical viewpoint, which is that I don't like the extra effort it would take to calculate in what is likely to be a limited time between the end of play and the setting of playoff pairings.

I'll also note that the 'fewest forfeits' tiebreaker didn't come into effect this time. Not that this makes the debate any less valid.

posted at 2013-09-25 11:59 by joshuar

I would lean against sportsmanship being calculated as a coefficient (outside of straight forfeits), since many players might feel that there is a chance TD's or TL officials, penalties, and playoff spots are correlated.

posted at 2013-09-25 12:03 by KRMCHESS

Actually quite a lot of calculations for 'sportsmanship coefficent' could be done automatically and in real time since things like no contact messages are already automated while forfeits are implemented with i-0 or +:- that can be easily separated out from completed results while gain can be applied for any game where a player hasn't had an automated message or forfeit. All other cases already require TD intervention and would be no different to modifications to reliability rating currently done. Theoretically it could mean that in standings table you could have live values for tiebreaker thus reducing time.

Of course cynical viewpoint also works, especially as someone will have to put in a fair amount of work for a new feature that may potentially be used very rarely as fewest forfeit tiebreaker is very rarely used and it's perfectly understandable if it's considered a much better use of coding time to improve things used regularly rather than once in a blue moon

posted at 2013-09-25 14:41 by KiranY

Since most of the stuff like sending reminders are automated and the only job that TD has to do is, oversee the negotiations and make rulings. So when a situation arises which needs ruling, it is most likely due to a player not showing up or making contact which results in a forfeit. The victim team is already affected by the forfeit. There is no scope of sportsmanship in that particular situation. Ofcourse when a no show occurs some offer to reschedule. IMO rewarding these good acts (like agreeing to reschedule) should not affect the points or tiebreaks. These are brownie points and cannot be counted towards the real gp. On the other hand these can be counted towards improving one's Reliability rating.

A player loses a RR for not being reliable and now he gets it back by being more accommodating or sportive. This is separate from the fact that it increases if you finish a season without any forfeit. This would also be a form of encouragement to be more sportive and it will affect an individual rather than a team.

Resolving tiebreaks should be done purely by playing with gps and mps accrued so far either by applying the Sonneborn-Berger method or other methods mentioned above, since these points were gained by playing actual games.

posted at 2013-09-26 05:16 by PankracyRozumek

To clarify: by "actual rating of team players" I meant "TL rating of actual team players", so those players who actually played in each match rather than just team's Top 4 average.

If you think Sonnenborn-Berger is not good because of varying team strengths what about: average of all opponent's TL ratings? Considering different line-ups in subsequent rounds, it is quite likely to be a decisive factor. It is easy to calculate and display automatically. Finally it is easy to understand.

Shortly: I'd like anything but sum of progression scores :). I prefer even a coin flip :).

posted at 2013-09-26 08:58 by smallblackcat

I'm not against Sonnenborn-Berger, I just had an idea that progression scores would be better. Evidently you disagree, and I'm beginning to have second thoughts about it myself. I had thought that placing more emphasis on early rounds would mean less weight being given to 'dead rubber' matches late in the tourney. A problem with this is that we now pair related teams together in round 1. Also, the phenomenon of newbie no-shows is more prevalent in early rounds. So there are good arguments to de-emphasise early rounds too.

Sonnenborn-Berger has the advantage of simplicity and clarity, and of being used in comparable events elsewhere. Those are good enough reasons for me to sign off on it, though I should point out that I am only speaking as an individual here; I am not representing the views of TL staff as a whole.

posted at 2013-09-28 04:40 by anandkvs

I dislike the "sportsmanship coefficient" idea as well, whether or not it can be automated. It smacks too much of "behaviourism" (if you know the term from psychology), apart from the other reasons people have listed :P

posted at 2013-09-28 10:29 by Twikki

Here's my thought- throw out all unplayed games and recalculate MPs for the third tiebreaker. It wouldn't affect the rounds with unplayed draws; and it would be hard to game the system because you would be sacrificing GPs in the second tiebreaker for an edge in the third.

posted at 2013-09-29 00:17 by KiranY

Wow that sounds simple and effective. An yes it may not result in a breaking the tie but atleast it makes sense to have it as the 3rd tiebreaker.

posted at 2013-09-29 05:53 by smallblackcat

It basically reverses 'fewest forfeits'. Teams with more forfeit losses would recover their lost points essentially. I don't think that's a good idea, since a team should not be disadvantaged because their opponents didn't show up to play.

posted at 2013-10-02 09:34 by Twikki

I'll make one defense of my idea before giving up. :)

1) The Kashdan and Median-Buchholz tiebreaks alter scores for unplayed games;
2) Disadvantaging a team in a later tiebreak round for an unplayed game after they benefited from the unplayed game in at least one earlier tiebreak round doesn't seem that unfair;
3) The teams with more than one or two forfeit losses more than likely won't be in the running by the time this tiebreak is applied;
4) It has a minor benefit of making the round 7 games more meaningful if a potential playoff team is playing against a team that is out of it and no longer cares. For example, if the playoff team goes 2.5 - .5 with 2 unplayed victories in 3 games, then the playoff team needs to play and win the last game to protect their MP. Against a team that doesn't care, they will probably win but it's not a foregone conclusion. I think it's more fair to the other potential playoff teams which had to play the bottom dweller when they were more competitive. And...
5) It's really simple to calculate, and it's something that could be done as the event progressed; unlike systems which require all the results to be in before calculations can be made.

I do see the negatives (and one very specific scenario where it would be possible to game the system that I won't mention here.) But there are going to be tradeoffs with any system. By design tiebreaks turn numerical data into a subjective assessment - after the easy ones like MP & GP (a case could even be made for reversing the order of those two- is 5.0/12.5 a stronger result than 4.0/19), at some level whatever you use is a value judgement.

posted at 2013-12-03 19:59 by smallblackcat

Some may notice that 'fewest forfeits' is still in use as the third tiebreaker for T56. I just want to make clear that we are not ignoring the excellent and fruitful discussion here. It was simply that there was no opportunity to formally adopt a change prior to T56, because of the very short break between tourneys.

There will be a TD meeting prior to T57, at which this issue will be dealt with. Therefore, if anyone wants to do some more lobbying, now would be a good time!

posted at 2013-12-04 09:30 by LeifPetersen

Lowest rated team seems a good tie-breaker, using fixed TL ratings before the tourney.

posted at 2013-12-04 10:27 by KRMCHESS

Problem is that lowest rated team isn't fixed. I'll also note that from my understanding of TL rules a captain could theoretically change his entire lineup prior to round 1 but after draw so any team rating tie-breakers are pretty much meaningless. Possibly the average rating of selected players over 7 rounds is possible although in that case it just favours teams with players who have underrated TL ratings (I've seen many players with FICS standard 200+ above TL rating).

Personally I don't really mind what is chosen although my preference is for something that is easy to tell at a glance from standings page

posted at 2013-12-06 00:39 by KiranY

I think Twikki pretty much covered all the points. Hopefully it sees the light of the day :)