Tournament Level Requirements Explained

Host event

A Fight Night Combat tournament typically takes place at an annual juggling convention or festival. A tournament that takes place outside of a larger juggling event is generally not as accessible as one at an event that attracts many more jugglers for many more reasons than just combat.

If a host event takes place more than once within the calendar year, it makes counting rankings points more complicated due to the last-52-week nature of the FNC Current Rankings, and the year-so-far nature of the Race Rankings. Having multiple tournaments in a single city unfairly advantageous to players who live in that city.

A larger size of the host event means that more players are available to take part in the tournament. It also means there may be a budget set aside for the organization of the Fight Night, or that high ranked players may be invited to attend the convention for free, or with travel expenses paid. The rough guide is that the bigger the juggling convention, the higher level a tournament may be:

A city convention is one that expects to attract jugglers who live within the city or it's immediate surrounding area.

A regional convention may be named after a city, but expects to attract jugglers from a large part of its country. Typically many jugglers will travel a few hours to get there and stay overnight.

A national convention is one that attracts jugglers from an entire country. It may be named for the country, or it may just be one of the largest conventions in that country.

An international convention is one that attracts a large number of visitors from other countries, particularly distant countries, not just those close by.

A listed tournament is one that it appears in the published convention schedule, or in the workshop schedule, to make sure all players at the convention can take part in the qualifications if they would like.

A promoted tournament is one that is mentioned in the convention's advanced promotional material alongside other events such as special shows, games, open stages, etc. This can be on printed leaflets or posters, or online on the convention's website, Facebook event page, or other public websites.

Advance Notice

Advance notice is how far in advance a player may expect to find out about the tournament, make plans to attend the host juggling convention or event, and participate in the tournament. A spontaneous tournament only planned once the event has begun, and without previously being announced or listed, doesn't allow possibly interested players to take part.

The tournament should be added to the FNC tournament calendar and publicly announced either on the FNC Facebook Page or in a news post on the FightNightCombat.com front page. For higher level tournaments, with more points available, the tournament must be announced further in advance.

In addition to the tournament itself being announced and listed in advance, a 750 level tournament must also be listed as such a minimum of four months before the tournament.

Qualification Participation

If only eight players take part in qualification for an eight person knockout, it is possible for a player to win zero matches in either qualification or the knockout and still be awarded knockout points. This is not fair to people who win some qualification matches at a different tournament without reaching the knockout, and who then receive fewer points than someone with zero match wins in either qualifications or the knockout.

Players who receive a wildcard entry into the knockout stage of the tournament do not contribute to this number.

Knockout Participation

The minimum players for the knockout stages of a tournament is eight. Four or six players in the knockout rounds means a player needs to win fewer matches to earn the tournament winner's points.

As a general guide, everyone who has a winning record in qualifications (more wins than losses and/or a positive points difference overall) should take part in the knockout. This means that if most players seeded 9 to 12 have winning records, there should be four round of 16 matches, with the top four seeds getting a bye to the round of 8.

If only the 9th seed after qualification has a winning record, the knockout can start at the round of 8 without this reduction failing the requirement. See Brianza 2015 for an example of this situation.

If, after qualifications, all players seeded 13 to 16 have losing records, there should not be more than four round of 16 matches. See Lublin 2015 as an example of too many round of 16 matches in a tournament.

To save time during the Fight Night event itself, round of 16 matches do not have to be played on stage or for an audience. Any number of round of 16 matches can take place directly after qualifications. These pre-Fight Night matches should always be played to five points, not three points, to differentiate them from qualification rounds, and to make sure they are fair for the players who don't make it to the main event.

Open/Invitational

A tournament is considered an open event by default, meaning anyone who wants to take part in qualifications may do so, and not be excluded. If there is any criteria of selection into the qualifications, it is considered an invitational event.

If there is no qualification process at all, and players are entered directly into the knockout rounds, the tournament is also considered an invitational event.

Qualifications open to everyone means more people can be involved in Fight Night Combat, can gain points, or register participation at more tournaments (important due the European Masters requiring three or more tournaments in a calendar year).

Qualification Type

Ordered by fairness:

I. Full round robin qualification is where all participants play matches to three points against all the other participants in turn. This allows for the most precise ranking of players when considering the win/loss ratios and overall points difference. It also means players can be placed in the knockout bracket using "strict" seeding, so that in the round of 8, seed 1 meets seed 8, seed 2 meets seed 7, and so on.

II. Partial round robin qualification. For tournaments with a high number of participants, it might not be possible for every juggler to play every other during qualifications, due to time, space or logistical reasons.

In this case the jugglers should be split into two groups, A and B, and each juggler in group A should play against every juggler in group B, and vica versa. In this case the cutoff for who makes it to the knockout rounds is less precise, so a playoff may be required between two players seeded 8 and 9 or 12 and 13 if they have the same win/loss ratio and points difference, and they were in the same qualification group and didn't play each other.

Also, the players should be placed in the knockout bracket using a semi-random draw. In the round of 8, seed 1 could meet either seed 7 or 8, and seed 2 meets the other. Seed 3 could meet either 5 or 6, and seed 4 meets the other. In the semi-finals, seed 1 could meet either seed 3 or 4, and seed 2 meets the other.

While less rigorous than full round robin qualification, partial round robin qualification is all that is needed to fulfill the qualification type requirement.

III. Open group combat qualification is not as rigorous or as fair as round robin qualification. It tests not for one-on-one three club combat skills but group combat instead, which is significantly different. It allows for players to progress through the bad luck of other players with whom they have no contact during qualification, and has a high level of randomness.

More importantly, it allows for far fewer players to accumulate meaningful rankings points. In an eight player knockout, only those eight players gain more than a single point. Everyone else, due to not winning any round of open combat, is only awarded a single point for their participation in the tournament.

Finally, it is more difficult to determine the seeding based on group qualifications. The first player to win a round of group combat is not necessarily the best one-on-one combat player, due to the randomness inherent in group combat and that it tests for different skills. In this case, the current FNC rankings should be used to determine seeding, with unranked players seeded according to qualification order, and a semi-random draw to place the players in the knockout bracket.

IV. Invitational. Having no qualification at all, where players are invited directly to take part in the knockout, is the least fair for players. Players can't accumulate any meaningful points as they can in round robin qualifications, but they also can't even register their participation at the tournament (important due the European Masters requiring three or more tournaments in a calendar year).

Seeding and placement in the knockout bracket is less fair with an invite only tournament, especially if the players are not in the FNC Current Rankings or don't have previous FNC results.

Minimum points per match

A match lasting until a player reaches five points strikes the best balance between fairness for the players and time spent per match in knockout rounds. For the highest level tournaments, every match should be played to until one player wins five points.

As long as players start their next point within 20-25 seconds, and the tournament announcer/host doesn't waste time, eight matches to five points can be completed in about 45 minutes, and 12 matches to five points in about 70 minutes.

While smaller events may play the round of 8 matches to three or four points to save time, it should be noted that usually more time is wasted between the points and between the matches than while the players are actually juggling. If players are encouraged to begin points briskly, and the tournament announcer introduces the the next match without wasting time, playing all matches to five points doesn't take significantly longer.

Third place matches do not count against this requirement, and can be played to three points.

A player should only need one point more than their opponent to win. Having to win by two clear points is not a good fit for one-on-one combat matches, as it introduces unhelpful incentives to the player behind in the score. If the score is at 4-4, the next point wins.

Results data submitted

This is a very important requirement! Good record keeping and submission of full results data is important to fairly reflect the players' achievements in the tournament and across multiple tournaments. The tournament organizer is responsible for keeping track of participation, scores and results, but it is in the players' best interests to make sure the tournament director is doing a good job with this, as missing results data is the quickest way for the tournament to drop to a lower points level.

Follow this link for an outline of the full results data required. And follow this link for a form that can be used to submit results data.

Third place match

A third place match should be played to give the winner of the second semi-final a few minutes to rest before the final. A third place match does not need to be played to as many points as the semi-final matches; three points is enough for a fair contest.

No third place match means players miss out on otherwise available points. If there is no third place match planned in advance, both losing semi-finalists should be awarded the same points. If a third place match was planned, but a losing semi-finalist is not available to play for any reason, they forfeit the match, and the remaining semi-finalist is awarded third place by default, along with the third place points.

Photos and Media

Photos and video from the tournament should be shared or made available for the purposes of news reporting, record keeping, entertainment, and the general historical record. A group photo of all the players who made it to the knockout is a fun way to begin the Fight Night event and shows the audience who is taking part.

To share the action with people not at the tournament, video of the later matches is invaluable. This can be edited into a video featuring just that tournament, and also used for player or tournament highlights at a later. The tournament director or camera person does not have to do any editing, as footage can be submitted for editing and publishing via FightNightCombat.com.

Results data submission deadline

All match results and qualification data must be submitted by the Tuesday following the tournament. Player rankings are used to make qualification groups more balanced and fair, so the new rankings must be available before any tournament held the following week or weekend.

As there are often multiple tournaments held on the same weekend, the rankings and results database can only be updated once all the results data from all the tournaments are submitted. It is unfair for some tournaments to have to wait for the late submission of data of another tournament.

The results of the tournament should also be available for the purposes of news updates.

This requirement can be waived, and the deadline extended, if the tournament director gets in touch in a timely manner.

Bonus Requirements

Participation Level

The Participation level is calculated by the number of ranked players taking part. Each player contributes a value between 0.93 and 0.005, depending on their place in the current 52 week rankings on the date of the tournament.

A tournament can make up for missing other requirements by the "bonus feature" of the participation of a large number of highly ranked players. The tournament must match the participation level of previous tournaments of the same points level (about 2.8 for National 500 tournaments, or 2.2 for Prestige 300 tournaments), or the tournament at the same host event the year before must have met this minimum level.

By allowing the previous year's tournament participation level to count towards this bonus, the participation level may dip due to a smaller number of higher ranked players taking part than the year before. If the tournament participation level remains low for a second year in a row, it will fail to meet this bonus.

History of Tournament

If the convention has been taking place for many years at a certain level, a lapse in one or two requirements can be overlooked to keep the level of the tournament consistent year-on-year. This is in case a convention is postponed or held in another location, and the normal number of jugglers can't make it.

© Copyright 2017, Luke Burrage. All rights reserved.