1.1 Running Round-Robin Qualifications

First question: how many jugglers are taking part in the qualifications?

Second question: how much time do you have before you must finish?

If you have plenty of time, and under about 18 players, and everyone is up for a hardcore combat session, run the qualifications in a single group. This is by far the easiest way to run qualifications!

If you have more than about 18 players taking part, it's best to run the qualifications in two groups. To do that, go directly to the guide for running a qualification session with two groups, good for up to 40 players.

Before the tournament

Qualification sheet for up to 30 players in one group - PDF

Qualification sheet for up to 40 players in two groups - PDF

Download and print one of the above two files. 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.

Single group qualification

Once everyone has arrived, pass out the qualification sheets.

Ask everyone to write down their full name at the top of the sheet. Then ask everyone to write it so you can read it and understand it. Both their first and second names.

Tell everyone that they must stay until the end of the qualifications. If a player leaves early it is just a headache for everyone.

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.

Give each player a number, from 1 to 15, or however many players are taking part. Make sure the players write down their number at the top of the sheet as soon as you say it so they don't forget it.

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

Now begins the qualification matches!

Everyone must play everyone else. It doesn't matter what order the matches are played. People just keep playing new opponents 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:

  • 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.

If anyone arrives a late, after the matches have already begun, it's possible for them still to take part. Give them a piece of paper, the next number, and make an announcement that everyone has to also play the new person.

If a player leaves early for any reason and can't finish their matches, announce to all the remaining players that they should cross out that player's number, their match scores, and their win or loss. For the purposes of counting up match wins and points differences, matches with the player who has left will have never happened.

Once all the matches are finished:

  • If someone dropped out, again tell people to delete that person's match from their sheets.
  • 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

You should now sort all the sheet into order, with the following tie-breaks if 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.

You now have all the players and their seedings. 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.

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.

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.

A sample knockout tournament bracket

As everyone has taken part in the qualifications, and everyone has played the same opponents, no random draw is needed when making the knockout brackets. In this case, the players' names should be entered into the bracket strictly based on their seeding. So seed 1 should play seed 8 in the round of 8, seed 2 vs seed 7, and so on.

Players Round of 8 matches Semi-Final matches Third place match Final match Winner
1. Andrew 1 vs 8 Semi-Final 1 Loser of semi-final 1 Winner of semi-final 1 Winner
8. Rachel
5. Helen 5 vs 4
4. Eric
3. Doreen 3 vs 6 Semi-Final 2 Loser of semi-final 2 Winner of semi-final 1
6. Mike
7. Sammy 7 vs 2
8. Bethany

For more than eight players, round of 16 matches should also be played according to player seedings. Note: in these cases many players receive a bye to the round of 8, so there might only be between two and six round of 16 matches.

With 10 players in the knockout, in the round of 16:

  • Seed 9 plays seed 8
  • Seed 10 plays seed 7

With 12 players, the same as above, but also:

  • Seed 11 plays seed 6
  • Seed 12 plays seed 5

With 14 players, the same as above, but also:

  • Seed 13 plays seed 4
  • Seed 14 plays seed 3

With 16 players, the same as above, but also:

  • Seed 15 plays seed 2
  • Seed 16 plays seed 1

That's it!

You can now move on to running the knockout part of the tournament.

If you have any questions, suggestions, or feedback about these instructions, please email me: luke@juggler.net

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