1.2 Two Group Round-Robin Qualifications

Qualifications using two groups of players is suitable for up to 40 players. It has the benefit of speeding up the qualifications, and by cutting down on the total number of qualification matches for each player.

Unfortunately, it is more complicated to run.

For this system to work:

  • There must be an even number of players
  • All players must arrive and sign up before the qualification matches begin.
  • Late-commers won't be able to join in.
  • If anyone drops out, it becomes very tedious to sort out the paperwork.

So if you have time, and under 20 players, it's worth just going with a single qualification group

Before the tournament

Download this file: Qualification sheet for up to 40 players in two groups - PDF


Make enough copies so everyone can have their own sheet, along with plenty to spare (as you can never have too much spare paper).

Make sure you have plenty of pens, or ask everyone taking part to bring a pen for themselves.

Two group qualification

For this system to work, the two qualification groups must be as equal as possible. The fairest way to assure this is to use a handy form here on fightnightcombat.com. The form uses current player rankings and individual players' high rankings to allocate players fairly into two or four groups:

Qualification Guide for a Tournament Happening Today

If that form isn't available, you can just keep track of players using pen and paper. However, it will be your responsibility to split the players into two groups of equal player strength based on your own knowledge of their skills, and if possible, current rankings.

As players arrive to sign up

For each player taking part:

  • Give them a qualification sheet and ask them to write their name on the top.
  • Ask the player to write down their full name at the top of their sheet, clear enough for you to understand it, first name and second name.
  • Immediately check the box next to their name in the qualification form linked to above.
  • If they are not yet registered (never taken part in a Fight Night before):
    • Write their name on a piece of paper
    • Write 1002 next the first name, 1003 next to the second name, and so on (this will make sense later).
    • Tell the unregistered player to make a note of this number ABOVE their name on their sheet of paper.

Once every player has a sheet, and there is an even number of players ready to take part, announce you are closing qualifications signup!

Next, enter the number of unregistered players taking part, and the number of groups (2). Hit "Recalculate" on the form, and you should be ready.

Here is a link to a sample qualification guide form featuring 24 players in total, with 5 unregistered players.

Into two groups

Tell all the players you are going to put them into two groups, Group A and Group B, and to be ready with their pens.

Read down the list of names, saying "A-1, Jochen Pfeiffer, A-2, Jon Peat" and so on. For unregistered players, you should be able to just say their temporary number, eg. "1003", and they will know who they are.

Group A numbers should start a A-1 and run up to a maximum of A-20. Group B numbers should start at B-21 and run up to a maximum of B-40.

The numbers of Group B do not start at 1 but at 21. It seems weird, but believe me, during qualifications it will be less confusing for everyone involved. There won't be two players with the same number, so nobody will end up playing the "wrong number 8" or anything like that.

Tell people they must stay around after their final qualification match to count up their totals and to not take their qualification sheet away with them. All papers must be handed in at the end for results submission.

Ask everyone to put a line through their own number on the sheet, as they won't play against themselves.

If you bookmark the qualification guide form, you can later click the link on that page that reads: "open this link in a new browser window/tab to submit the players' qualification and tournament results".

Now begins the qualification matches!

Everyone must play everyone else in the opposite group. Nobody in Group A plays anyone else in Group A, only the players in Group B.

It doesn't matter what order the matches are played. People just keep playing new opponents in the opposite group until they don't have any left! Near the end, they should call out the number of the jugglers they still have to play. Some jugglers will play more slowly, so don't worry too much about some people finishing all their matches earlier than others.

Before these matches begin, explain:

  • Only play against jugglers in the opposite group.
  • Each match should be played first to three points.
  • Winning matches is the most important thing, but in the case of equal match wins, points difference and total points scored are considered. So even if a player is behind 2-0 in a match and don't think they can win, it's always worth trying to get that extra point.
  • Tell people NOT to fold up their papers and put them in their pockets. The papers get sweaty and disgusting and fall apart. Instead, tell them they should put the papers well out of the way on one side of the playing area, where nobody will step on them or slip on them. Having some benches or tables with all the papers on is very handy.
  • Each match shouldn't take too much space. If people are running away from each other too much, the matches interfere with each other and take too long.
  • There are no referees for qualification matches, so it is up to the players themselves to be honest and fair. If another match interferes and causes a drop, it's good form to replay the point.

Also explain how to write down the results:

  • Find the number of the opponent you just played.
  • Put your score (0, 1, 2, or 3) in the "Your Points" column.
  • Put your opponent's score (0, 1, 2, or 3) in the "Opponents' Points" column.
  • If you won the match, put a "1" in the "Win" column and a "0" in the "Lose" column.
  • If you lost the match, put a "0" in the "Win" column and a "1" in the "Lose" column.

If people just tick or otherwise mark the win or lose column, the chances are that if they make a mistake and try to correct it, they will end up messing up their final win/loss total due counting errors later. Putting zeros and ones in each column is a very sure way to avoid errors.

Once all the matches are finished:

  • Each player should count up how many points they scored in total, across all their matches, and put that number in the white space below that first column.
  • They should also put the total number of points scored against them below the second column.
  • Then they should subtract the number of points scored against them from their total points scored. This can result in either a positive or negative number, or zero. The higher the number, the better! This is their "points difference" number, and it should be marked "+20" or "-5" in the white space at the bottom of the sheet.
  • The players should also put down their win total and loss total. These should always add up to the total numbers of players who took part in the qualifications, minus one. So for 15 players, the wins and losses should add up to 14.
  • If anyone has made a mistake, they can hopefully work out the real results of a match by looking at their opponent's score sheet.

At this point it is fun to ask "Did anyone not win a match?" and then "Who won one match?" and continue up to "Who won all their matches?" It's a fun way for everyone to get a feeling of who did well, and a chance to give encouragement to those who didn't do so well.

Collect all the sheets into two stacks, Group A and Group B

You should now sort all the sheets into order, keeping Group A sheets separate from Group B sheets, ending with two sorted stacks. For each stack, with the following tie-breaks if two or more players are equal:

  • Match wins.
  • Points difference. Higher is better.
  • Total points won. Higher is better.
  • Head-to-head among tied players.
  • Position in the 52 Week Current Rankings. Higher rank is better (5th rank beats 25th rank).
  • Players' highest ever rank in the 52 Week Current Rankings (this can be found at the top of a player's page on this website).
  • Number of previous tournaments entered. Higher is better.
  • A coin flip or other random draw.

If three or more players are tied initially, use the earliest possible tie-break to eliminate the lowest player from the tie. Then repeat the tie-breaks from the start to decide who comes out ahead for the remaining players.

Now the tricky part

This is way easier to explain in person, and I'll make a video soon, but for now I'll put it into words.

  • Put the two stacks of sheets side by side, face-up, ordered so the top players from qualifications are on top, descending to the lowest players at the bottom.
  • Of the two visible player sheets on top of the two stacks, one player will have won the qualification match between them.
  • Take the winning player's sheet and put it face down to the side, beginning a third, face-down stack.
  • Again, of the two now-visible player sheets on top of the two stacks, one player will have won the qualification match between them.
  • Take the winning player's sheet and put it on the face-down stack.
  • Repeat this process until all the sheets are face-down in the third stack.

Turning the final stack face-up, you will now have all the players and their seedings.

The groups will not have been completely equal, so don't worry if a multiple sheets are removed from one group's stack in a row. There may also be more of one group in the top eight, or 12, or 16 than the other group. Again, this shouldn't be a problem, as it just shows one group was stronger than the other.

The next question:

How many players should be selected to take part in the knockout?

For the purposes of determining the tournament level (250, 300, 750, etc), the minimum players for the knockout stages of a tournament is eight. The maximum is currently 16.

As a general guide, everyone who has a winning record in qualifications (more wins than losses, or if equal, a positive points difference) should take part in the knockout, rounded up to the next even number. If that's less than eight players, take the top eight seeds, even if more than two have have losing records in the qualifications. If it is more than 16, just take the top 16.

This means that if seed 9 or 10 have winning records but not 11, there should be 10 players in the knockout. If 11 or 12 have winning records, but not 13, there should be 12 players in the knockout. And so on.

For more than eight but less than 16 players, many top seeded players receive a bye to the round of 8, so there might only be between two and six round of 16 matches.

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.

Typically, with a 16 player knockout, the four matches in the round of 16 featuring the top four seeds are played directly after the qualifications, and not on stage for an audience, as the unequal skill levels means there isn't much chance of either an upset or an exciting match.

Now you have the seedings and you know how many players are taking part in the knockout...

From here you can go on to the next part of the tournament guide: Seedings to Tournament Bracket

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