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 Post subject: EGC 2016 Tournament Organisation
Post #1 Posted: Tue Aug 09, 2016 6:29 am 

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The registration at the congress start was organised by Manja Marz, Germany, supported by translators from different countries and so proceeding smoothly and very quickly. Only the tournament agreement form was a bit imprecise.


Most rounds started on time or with an only small delay. The only exception was the Main round 1 with one hour delay. A few side tournaments started a few minutes late because their organisers needed a dozen of minutes to lay a dozen group sheets onto the tables.


Updates to walllists were often delayed and sometimes missing. I had to beg for updates a dozen of times; sometimes this accelerated updates a bit. Some walllists are still missing even online: the list of European Championship participants and the 13x13 KO finals.

There was an app for online viewing of walllists but I belong to the "old school" travelling without electronic device, not importing any to Russia, not trusting a hotel's WLAN, not trusting too specific apps. Hence I belong to the participants needing printed walllists on the walls.

Walllists and their immediate updates are essential for knowing about the tournament progress, one's own standing, the standing of competitors and opponents, and checking for any accidental mistakes by the organisers when entering the results.

E.g., in most rounds of the main tournament, an update for the results to the previous round would be put on the wall only a few minutes before the current round, only pages 1 and 2 at the top players' playing rooms in floor 18 and the other pages only in the main playing hall in floor 2. As a consequence, when I got some successful lowly ranked opponent, I could not assess his results because his opponents would appear only on the later pages. Taking the lift at busy times could take more than 5 minutes in one direction, so spending much of one's own thinking time to assess my opponent would be impossible in practice and I would be forced to play him as somebody of unknown strength.

After Main round 5 on Friday, we had to let the weekend tournament pass in between before seeing the updated walllist only on Monday just before round 6.

There is nothing difficult about putting walllists on the walls: just print them and put them on the walls! Not doing so quickly is a great disservice to the participants.


The Main, Weekend and Rapid tournaments were McMahon tournaments with SOS - SODOS tiebreakers. In McMahon tournaments without Wins as a tiebreaker before SODOS, the tiebreaker SODOS is flawed because it is not invariant under the arbitrary McMahon bottom bar setting: ... ournaments ... html#sodos

Therefore the EGF Tournament System Rules recommend not to use SODOS. At the beginning of the congress, I suggested to the congress organisers to reconsider and possibly abandon or replace SODOS. Instead of SODOS, SOSOS or lottery would be more honest randomisers if a secondary tiebreaker is deemed necessary at all.

Nevertheless, the tournament organisers made the very great mistake of using SODOS without preceding it by Points in McMahon tournaments. Ing is not the only one preferring flawed tiebreakers. Tournament theory is there to learn from - not to know it all better and repeat the fundamental mistakes of the past.

If SODOS is the secondary tiebreaker after SOS, it is meaningful only at the top of the tournament field. So let us study the impact. In the Main tournament, we had

Place Name      MMS Pt SOS SODOS
2 Shikshin Ilya 33  8  315 251
3 Chan Yitien   33  8  315 249

Because luckily the SOS-tied players had the same Points 8, the SODOS flaw did not become active in this case. So SODOS application was as meaningful as it can be. However, why use SODOS anyway? Instead using Direct Comparison (if you like, applicable only to exactly two players, as is possible here) would have avoided all the theoretical problems of SODOS:

Place Name      MMS Pt SOS DC
2 Shikshin Ilya 33  8  315 1
3 Chan Yitien   33  8  315 0

(Because Ilya beat Chan.) In the Weekend and Rapid tournaments, luckily SODOS did not impact the order of the very top players.

European Championship

Specific walllists for this tournament were missing, AFAIK, so it was hard to follow the current standings of the tournament because they had to be inferred from the Main walllists during rounds 1 to 5 and looking into the EC playing room during semi-finals and final. During rounds 1 to 5, the boards were in the same room as the top boards of Main, so watching games was easy enough for the top 100 Main players. During the semi-final, it was possible to enter the extra room. During the final, doing so was in vain because a fence prevented approaching the board. Ilya Shikshin won for the 4th time. The unlucky Alexandr Dinerstein lost his first two games and then did not play in Main so ended up at its place 62; only Igor Tychko with 2:8 score and final place 98 beat him in the fight for last place of a European top group player.

Main Tournament

The top group consisted of 28 Europeans, firstly 10 non-Euopeans and later another 2 non-Euopeans. The top group players had rating 2500+ so that seven players with rating 2499 were not in the top group. 24 of the Euopeans were (also) playing for the European Championship but, from the walllist, one cannot know which of the 28 they were. While EC players may drop the Main after dropping out of the EC, Main players in the top group but not in the EC might not drop the Main. We cannot know if all did it correctly because we do not know which the EC players were and which not. Needless to say, the Main walllists ought to have indicated the EC players. At least one can infer the top group players by identifying the top bar 25 and, for each player with final MMS 25+, identifying his initial MMS by rounding down 1/2 for the number of his dropped rounds added to his Points.

While one Taiwanese (Chan Yitien) made place 3, Huang Yi-Feng 5d Taiwan got an initial rating of 2500, entered the top group, missed one round (illegal unless for proven exceptional circumstance), got 2 wins and ended on place 99. Again we see the difficulties of judging strengths of unknown Asians.

Yang Jun 6d KR and Lee Hyuk 7d KR entered the top group to play only a few games during the second week. When Matti Siivola and I formed the Tournament Supervisors in earlier years, we would rather have protected the top group and let them enter one McMahon group below.

The McMahon groups were built not by rank but by rating: 2499-2400 = 1 below top group, 2399-2300 = 2 groups etc. The final result list with funny orders of ranks and ratings proves again that ratings are as inconclusive as ranks these days.

However, if one does use rating, consistency demands that the Tournament Agreement ought not to have used a 5d+ critrion but a rating 2500+ criterion. If the tournament's organisers believe more in ratings than ranks, then they must in fact do so.

And the winner was... Kim Youngsam 7d KR. This is his second Open EC title after 2011 regardless of the different spellings on
The first four players had 8 wins and so their places were decided by the tiebreaker lottery. Ali Jabarin had the least SOS. Why? Maybe because he won his first three games, so qualified for the EC Finals quickly and, in rounds 4 and 5 of the Main could, on average, get only relatively weaker opponents because fewer top competitors were available then: others had dropped out of the EC and also quit the Main. So, in round 4, Ali played against a non-top-group opponent (with 2499 rating and rounded down McMahonScore due to playing only in one week and so missing the odd number of five rounds). SOS is as perverse as always.

13x13, 9x9 and Lightning Tournaments

The 13x13 Preliminaries were Swiss. This system is stupid because, in between every two rounds, there is much waiting time for the pairings. Altogether it was about 2.5h playing plus 2h waiting. 16 players were to be seeded but, after 5 rounds, 24 players had 4+ wins. It was good that the 4 pointers could play playoff games to qualify, except that these games were scheduled half an hour before the announced starting time of the finals so that some missed the information in time. I made it to my average, the quarter finals.

For the 9x9 and lightning, the tournament organisers realised that group qualifications are more suitable. A typical group had 8 players. In the 9x9, only the top player of every group of the 16 groups would qualify. The organisers had not specified tiebreakers but I would qualify both by direct comparison or SODOS.

They asked everybody for comments on their organisation, so I commented that complete tiebreakers must be preannounced. They learnt partially and specified SODOS for the lightning tournament's seeding. This time, however, also the 2nd place players would qualify. Naturally, some groups (incl., you bet, mine, as caused by my last round win) had cyclic ties including equal Direct Comparison for 2nd place. At least the tournament organisers solved this neatly by letting the tied players play playoff games. Hence concerning the seedings, although under-determined, everything was fair.

Russians are not used to round-robin groups and did not understand the importance of abiding by a set order of pairings in every round. Some players and referees managed to create delays by obstructing orders, thinking that everybody would have a right to play as soon as there would be an arbitrary next opponent from the group. Whether it was such an intervention by a referee or his half point loss agains me in my 9x9 group, Andrejy Cheburakhov 5d then quit playing his remaining games in the group, giving free wins to his remaining opponents and so easing it for them to compete against me, especially since I had lost my first game trying to cut and kill in a handicap game resulting in being cut and killed (cute 9k!). His action was in vain as I continued to win all my other group games to qualify. Maybe the action was unsportsmanlike but my point here is about organisation: bad organisation (such as obstructing a set pairing order) can cause trouble.

Playing rooms

The top two playing rooms were good. The main playing hall was a bit too dense and had a terrible air conditioning resulting in quite a few players getting a severe cold. This was unnecessary as the air conditioning could have been regulated, but was not always adjusted when necessary.

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