Friday, 27 December 2013

Tournament Draw Systems Explained - Part 2 Double Elimination

Welcome back to this series on tournament draw systems.  Part one introduced the series and talked about the single elimination system.  This is part 2 and we shall talk about Double Elimination.

There are 3 main variations of Double Elimination:

  1. Modified Double
  2. True Double
  3. Double with Repechage.
Modified double is the simplest, true double is a bit more complicated and the repechage is where things get a little crazy.   Most events that use a double elimination system tend to use the modified double elimination, but the Repechage system is what is used at very high level sport events such as the Olympics.  The repechage system itself has a lot of variations, but we will get to that when we get to that.

The basic concept of double elimination is similar to single elimination, where you have rounds, and the winners move down the tree.  The difference is, once you lose, you move down to the losers bracket and have an opportunity to fight for 3rd at the very least, and in some cases, silver, or even a shot at gold.

Let's start with Modified Double Elimination. In this system,  The person who doesn't lose any gets gold, the person who loses in the final gets silver, and the winner of the losers bracket gets bronze.  Sometimes you will have the two people who got to the end of the losers bracket get bronze, but usually, in modified double, there is only 1 bronze.  Confused yet?  Let's look at a picture.  We will start with a simple 8 person division, just like we did for single elimination.

8 person modified double no fight for silver
As you can see, the concept of rounds / quarters / semis/finals gets a little muddled, because of the dual bracket, but once you follow the Ws and Ls it's pretty clear how it all works.   The losers of the first round of the top bracket fill in the first round of the bottom bracket.  The winners of the first round of the bottom bracket move on to the second round of the bottom bracket, where they are joined by the losers of the 2nd round of the top bracket. 

The losers of the 1st round of the bottom bracket have now lost twice, and are out, they place 7th.   The losers of the 2nd round of the bottom bracket have no lost twice as well, and place 5th.  The winners of the 2nd round of the bottom bracket move on to the "final" of the bottom bracket, this is the fight for third place.  The winner gets bronze/third, and the loser gets 4th.   At the top bracket,  the third round is the final, the winner gets gold, the losers gets silver.  

In this example,  the gold medal winner has zero losses, silver has 1 loss, and bronze also has one loss. This is where one sometimes,  the loser of the final, will drop down to the bottom bracket, and fight for silver/bronze.  Like this:
8 person modified double w/ fight for silver
 Here, Alasdair loses in the final, drops down to the bottom bracket, and beats Bruce, to win the silver, and Bruce gets bronze.  

There is one other detail to keep in mind with double elimination.  In the second round of the bottom bracket, the losers switch sides.  L7 goes to the bottom half, while L8 goes to the top. This is so that they don't fight someone they have already fought.  Fighting someone you have already fought becomes unavoidable at the very end in the fight for silver/bronze sometimes. As you can see Alasdair and Bruce fought in the 2nd round of the top bracket, and then they fought again in the last fight of the bottom bracket. 

13 person modified double elimination bracket
As you can see, once you start having divisions with weird numbers, the byes complicate matters, as do the extra rounds, but the concept is still the same.  When you lose at the top, you move down to the bottom, and when you lose in the bottom, you are out,  keep winning, and you can work your way back to medal contention.   Like in the 8 person division, some events may chose to have the loser of the last fight on the top bracket drop down to face the last fight of the bottom bracket for silver, this way gold has 0 losses, silver has 1, and bronze has 2.

True double works almost the same as either of these modified doubles, except that the winner of the bottom bracket gets a chance at the winner of the top bracket.  In this case,  they need to beat the winner of the top bracket TWICE to get the gold, while the winner of the top bracket needs to beat the winner of the bottom bracket just once.  Thus everyone except the Gold medal winner has lost twice, in true DOUBLE elimination style.   This isn't a super common way of running the sheets, but it does happen, and it's kind of interesting to see if the underdog can take the cake. 

There are 3 ways that a true double elimination draw can end.  #1, the winner of the top brackets defeats the winner of the bottom bracket the first time. In this case, it's over, top winner gets gold, bottom winner gets silver.
True double, the shortest ending.

The second option is, the winner of the bottom bracket wins the first fight against the winner of the top bracket, setting them each to 1 loss each. Then the winner of the top bracket wins the 2nd fight, for gold, while the loser gets silver.
True double, top bracket winner still wins
Finally, the winner of the bottom bracket gets the upset, defeating the winner of the bottom bracket twice in a row, and taking gold, while the loser gets silver.
The ultimate upset, true double, with the bottom bracket winner taking the gold

So, this leaves us with the final, most complicated version of double elimination, the repechage.  Like all the others, there are a couple ways that this can work, but the general idea is,  if you lose, then the person that beat you has to win in order or you to get to the losers bracket.  

In they Olympics, for judo, this only applies if you lose to the four athletes in the semi(they split the athletes into 2 pools and do a repechage for each side, this picture shows how it would work with only 1 pool), lose to anyone else, and your out.  It sounds kind of complicated, but once you see it, it's not to bad.  

This system is used when divisions are large(ish), so I will use a 16 person division to illustrate it.  Sometimes, only the people who lose in the quarter finals get a second chance, which makes for a much smaller repechage bracket.   All the times I have seen repechage in action, the winner of the repechage gets bronze, while the finalists get gold/silver respectively.

You see that Matt and Alex are the finalists, so everyone who lost to them, goes into the repechage. The people who lost in the first and second round face each other, then the winner of that faces the person who lost in the third round. Then the two people left in the repechage fight each other for bronze, and the finalists of the top bracket fight for gold/silver.

So that pretty much covers the basics of the double elimination style.  Modified double is probably my favourite of all styles. It's efficient, and slightly more accurate at determining the podium then single elimination can be. I can't say whether I like the version where the final loser gets silver or if there is a fight for silver best, either is good. In theory, true double is the most accurate style, but to have to beat the top guy twice seems inefficient, and takes a long time, especially when you factor in the rest times between matches and whatnot.  

The third and final post in this series will be on the round robin system.  like single and double elimination, there are different ways of doing the draws in a round robin format.  

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Tournament Draw Systems Explained - Part 1 (Single Elimination)

The idea for this post came to me this morning, in that half awake / half asleep phase of waking up in the morning.  With more and more tournaments popping up, each with there own little ways of doing things I thought it would be good to do a post on the various draw systems that exist out there.

There are three main draw systems that are are used in competitions (and not just jiu jitsu, all sorts of sports and games use these systems).
  1. Single Elimination
  2. Double Elimination
  3. Round Robin
There are all sorts of variations on these three, and systems that combine them as well.  

Let's start with the simplest system:  Single Elimination.  This is what the IBJJF uses, and so does the OJA (for adults), and many other tournament organizers around the world.  The name says it all, if you lose once, you are out.  There are potentially 2 cases where there is an exception to the "single" part.  
  1. If it is a division of 3.  These are done in a weird way.
  2. Some tournaments will give 2 bronze medal, and some will have a fight to determine the third place.  This is often referred to as having a fight for "true third".

So, what does a standard single elimination bracket look like?  Let's start with the simplest case possible, an 8 person division.  Here is a sample of a standard, complete 8 person division.  As you can see, there are 7 matches in an 8 person division, with the winner of each match moving along the tree towards the final line. 

In all my sample draws, the red number will indicate the match number,  the blue is for the competitor names,  the green indicates who goes on that line, and the pink represents what that "round" is typically called.  

Sample Standard 8 complete 8 person draw sheet

So, in this case, the quarter finals are the first round, and the first fight is Mike Vs Ahmed and Mike wins.   The second fight is Adam vs Mandie, and Mandie wins. The third fight is Alasdair vs Matt and Alasdair wins, and the fourth fight is Stanlee vs Bruce and Bruce wins. The winners go to the next round and the losers are done.  Technically, if you lose in the quarter finals, you are part of a 4 way tie for 5th, while the winners move on to the semi finals.

In the first fight of the  semis(match number 5),  Mike faces Mandie, and Mandie wins again, moving on to the final.  The second fight of the semis Alasdair faces Bruce and Alasdair wins, moving on to the final.  Now, Mike and Bruce are out, tying for 3rd place.  

The final between Mandie an Alasdair is the 7th match.  Mandie wins, so is 1st, and Alasdair gets 2nd.

Here is a slightly modified case, for the tournaments that have only 1 third place.   As you can see,  there is an extra match.  The fight for 3rd usually happens before the final, so it is now match #7, and the final becomes match #8.   The losers of match #5 and Match #6 fight for third. The winner will be awarded the "true third".
I mentioned earlier that 3 person divisions were a little wacky.  There are 2 ways that a three person division can play out.   

Here is the first way:

It looks almost like a standard 4 person division, except that the fourth competitors place is filled in with the loser of the first match.  This is the way it works always.  The difference in how it plays out is determined by who wins the second match.   In this case,  Adam, who hasn't fought Ahmed yet,  won, so Adam moves on to face Ahmed in the final and Mike gets third place. Then, Adam, who wins the final,  gets first, while Ahmed, who lost the final, gets second place.

So, what happens if Mike wins the second match instead of Adam?  In this case,  the final does not happen, because Ahmed has already beat Mike (in the first match), So, Ahmed gets first, Mike gets second, and Adam gets third.
For single elimination, the more competitors you have, the more rounds there are,  so if there is between 9 and 16, there will be a round of 16 (which will have 8 or less fights in it), If there is between 17 and 32, there will be a round of 32.  For tournaments like the worlds, where there are divisions of 100+ the same system still applies, It is just broken down onto different pages, but the exact same process as a 8 person division is still followed.  There are just a lot more rounds. 

The complex part of single elimination comes when there are divisions sizes that don't end up perfect. The ideal sizes are: 2,4,8,16,32,64, 128, ect.  When a division doesn't have this number, then you end up with "byes" in the first round of matches.  A bye is when some competitors do not have to compete in the first round.  This is done so that the division can be narrowed down to a size that will work out nicely after that first round. 

Here is an example for a division of 13.  I've added a new colour, yellowish green, for Byes.  The byes fill in the blanks for fighters that don't exist.  Different tournaments / draw systems will represent this differently on their sheets, but the end result is the same.  Not everyone has a fight in the round of 16.  

The byes will be as evenly distributed as possible.  We don't put 3 byes at the top of the sheet and none at the bottom, or else the sheet will be lopsided. I do not know the exact formula for where the byes go, just that they are evenly spread out.   In this case, It kind of looks like I have 3 at the bottom, but Matt's bye is in the top half of the bracket while the other two are in the bottom half of the bracket.
Sample 13 person division to illustrate byes
As you can see, Matt, Dave, and Alex do not have to fight anyone in the first round, and automatically advanced to the Quarter Finals. Sometimes this will be represented by their name not appearing in the draw until the 2nd round,  and sometimes it is represented by the line for their first opponent just being blank.  I choose to illustrate it this way, so that you can see how the general structure o the sheet is still the same.

In this case, the people who lose in the "Quarter Finals" are a 4 way tie for 5th, and the guys who lose in the "Round of 16" are tied for 9th.

This is long enough for 1 post,   part 2 will be on double elimination and the various version of that system.  It starts off very similar to single elimination, but gets a little crazy depending on which variation is being used.  It's also my favourite base style.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

OJA Provincials Nov 30th 2013 Report

There is so much to talk about for this tournament!  It was my first competition back since the whole shoulder incident back in early may,  we had a really great team turnout, I refereed, I competed, I was in a gymnasium for 14 hours straight.  Good times.

I guess I will talk a little bit about the tournament itself first.  It was held at Brock University, in St. Catherines.  At first, I thought this was a pretty terrible idea, it's I didn't think anyone was going to bother making the trip out there, It's a long ass drive for anyone east of the GTA.  I think the location did affect who turned out, but a huge crew from Ottawa made the trek, which pretty much makes anyone elses excuse for distance invalid.

The distribution of competitors was not the norm, but there was a LOT of them there. I believe the had over 700 registrations (if someone does gi and nogi they count as 2).  There was a LOT of kids, and it seemed like more masters and seniors then a lot of other local events.  Some of the blue belt divisions were pretty sparse, but some of the purples had more then others.  On the ladies side of things, the distribution was even stranger.  There were 4 of us in a single weight class in purple and up.  Tiffany did move up from medium heavy, but still.  4.  in one weight class.  Even 3 would have been something worth mentioning.  The blue belts were also clumped together pretty well.

 The gym was very large, but had very little seating room.  It worked out ok, because there was a lot of room around the competition area to stand, but without bleachers, there wasn't really good place to store your gear and be able to sit to watch the matches.  This venue would be pretty ideal, if they had a way to bring in some bleachers along the one wall.  It was very bright, which was great for photos/videos  and the bathrooms were kept clean, and were very close to the gym which is also very nice.

The parking, in the cheap lot, was $7 for the day, not unreasonable, but it wasn't advertised. There also wasn't signs pointing towards the lot, until you got off the main entry road to the gym and were right on top of it.  I know a bunch of people ended up in the expensive lot, and paid $2.50 an hour to park!  When you are there from 8:30 am till 10:30 pm, that adds a pretty significant expense to the day.

The tournament staff was very friendly, and all the table workers I worked with were good at their jobs.  They kept the kids around, they got the scores right, and were very pleasant to work with.  There is always going to be one or two cases of them pressing the start/stop a bit off, but nothing disastrous happened.  It did seem like they were a few volunteers short, especially towards the end of the day.  Referees were working tables because there was no one else to do it.  I know it is very difficult to staff an event of this scale, especially with volunteers and especially when it goes so late.  Props to the ones who stuck around till the end.  People like you keep the jiu jitsu world going.

The event started almost on time, I want to say about 10 or 15 minutes late.  Which isn't to bad, when you consider how many kids registered for the wrong divisions.  There was a lot of talk on the interwebs about how to keep the kids from holding up the entire day.  There is no perfect solution, but I think that running them on a few mats, instead of taking up the entire morning and early afternoon on them would get things running better.  I also thing that the tournament needs to be 2 days.  A lot of people say that this is to hard for out of towners, but let's be honest, no one who is an out of towner want's to have to be at a tournament for 14 or 15 hours, then drive home that night anyway.

The tournament ended up being about 2 hours behind by mid-afternoon.  It was a multitude of small things piled on top of each other that causes this to happen. Kids not being what they say,  kids going to the bathroom, adults going to the bathroom, having a lot of the referees also compete (guilty as charged, it causes shortages).  Volunteers needing breaks or the bathroom, lunch, watching their kids, ect, ect ect.  None of these things on their own will cause a serious delay, but they add up.  One thing that I think would help a lot, would be queuing up divisions on mats.  It seemed like they didn't start looking for the next division to run on a mat, until the previous one was 100% complete.  This leaves a mat empty for at least 5 minutes, and sometimes much much longer.  You can't go to crazy queuing up divisions and matches, or if you get a serious injury or the like, you end up with even worse delays and one mat running way way later then the others.

I got to referee a division of really great kids,  It was a white belt division, but these kids had some serious skill.  The two that stuck out most were Dash, and Malick.  Dash had more energy than I have ever scene, and his coach did a really amazing job focusing him and his energy throughout his matches.  Malick was cool as a cucumber in his matches, showed great technique, always listened to me and was really kind to the kids he fought.

I refereed some of the nogi blue belt matches at the end of the day,  by this point, we had been working/competing for 12 hours with very little rest/breaks.  I reffed a match with Remy, from one of the ascension schools.  He had some really nice jiu jitsu, and was very polite.  He swept a guy from an ankle lock attempt and I totally missed the points. He very politely asked me about them, and I got out of my haze and awarded them. I could have penalized him, in theory, but that would probably be against the spirit of the rules.  At this point, I realized I was pretty brain dead, and a couple of the remaining referees got together and used the  reff system to finish off the day.  None of us were fresh enough to be doing the job alone anymore.  I got over ruled on a couple calls (when I was a corner). 2 of which were excessive celebration penalties after a win.  They wouldn't have made a difference in any of the matches, but I think that people need to know that they could be penalized for it, and at big events like pans, worlds, ect the referees WILL penalize you for things that may or may not be excessive, if they are feeling negative.  To me, being a bit anal about it locally, will help them keep to the straight and narrow when they get to the big leagues.

Warning: Rant:
This tournament is labeled the "Provincials"  but it is open to people who aren't from Ontario. This is m biggest pet peeve about it.  I know it's just a label, but when you are trying to build the sport into a model that follows other olympic sports, and are trying to make it legit.  Having Americans compete in it, makes the name a sham.  There were some great competitors out, from non-ontario, and it's great that they come to the events we have here, because it gives our guys good matches, but I feel like the tournament called provincials is not the place for that to happen. I have the same issue with the IBJJF "Nationals" and grapplers quest "world championships" and even the IBJJF "worlds" and "Pans".  When I told my co-workers about the tournament they were like "oh yea, so if you win you go to nationals?"  no... "oh, is there qualifiers for it?"  no... "oh, so why is it provincials?"  who knows.

End of rant.

Alright, now that I have that little rant out of the way, let's talk about my first competition back in 7 months.  As you probably know, at the Ontario Open last year, I got kimuraed and my shoulder wasn't to happy about it.  There are some tears in there now, and it took pretty much 6 months of not using it a lot and doing physio ect to get it to a manageable state.  I did have a surgery scheduled for February, but have since canceled it.   I was pretty nervous about competing with it, but it held up fine.

In my weight class, I faced Natalia in the first round.  We fought a long long time ago, when I think I was still a white belt! She arm barred me pretty quick.  She is also coming off some time off, from over training and being burnt out.  It was awesome to see her back on the mats, and having fun.  I won that first fight by kata ha jime, which is like a collar choke from 1/2 having there back.   In the final, I faced my more local (and less one sided) nemisis, Tiffany.  I had a good plan going into the match, and almost executed it, but left my arm in the wrong spot and she took care of that pretty quickly.  I cannot make any mistakes fighting her!   we are now 3 wins for Tiffany, 2 wins for me.  I hope to even that score back up in 2014 :).

In the absolute, which was actually the same 4 competitors, because like I mentioned earlier, we were all together, I drew Caitlin in the first round.  The only time I had competed with Caitlin in the past was at a zombie house back when we were both blue belts.  We had a great round and I had scored 2 armbars on her back then.   I got a good judo throw on her to side control, and managed to maintain that position for a few minutes,  I got knee on belly a few times, but didn't maintain it long enough most of the time to score the points.  I was looking for mount, armbars, chokes, taking the back, but her defense was very good.  I got sloppy on an armbar, and the match spiraled out of control in a hurry.  We ended up with her on my back out of bounds and when we reset in the middle I quickly got the hook out, and scrambled like crazy.   I don't remember what the score ended up being at the end, but it was a little to close for comfort.  I hope she competes a lot in 2014, because it was a really really fun match!

In the purple+ absolute final, I faced Natalia again.  She fought Tiffany in the first round, and won on points.  SO we had both had a full 8 minute length match. 8 was a weird choice for match length. Purple belt matches are 7, and black are 10, not sure where the 8 came from, because we were supposed to be fighting black belt rules.  Or maybe they went down to brown, since brown was the highest in the division.  That actually makes sense.  Anyway,  I don't remember how the match started, but I ended up in side control, and was looking for armbars and knee on belly some more.  I got my hand in deep in her collar and got a paper cutter choke for the win.

The last match of the day was against Tamara, who won the blue belt absolute.  This was the match for the trip.  It was black belt rules, 8 minute match.  I don't remember exactly how it started either, but we ended up coming up, she was trying to get to my back and I was like "Oh hey, black belt rules, let's go for a knee bar".  I admit, it was in the back of my head all day to try to get a leg lock of some kind, I blame Egor the leg lock king.  We ended up with me turtled fishing for the knee for quite some time, not a very exciting bit of jiu jitsu there, but I realized she was sitting to heavy for me to get roll and extension for the knee bar so I grabbed her foot for the toe hold instead.  I rolled through and got the tap.

Going into this tournament, my only real goal was to not get hurt.  coming off of the long layoff, which was just coming off of another layoff from a concussion, I really just wanted to be able to go home in one piece and be able to compete again soon.  The trip was always in the back of my head, but I wasn't going into the day thinking "I am going to win that trip".  That being said, man, am I ever glad I did.  It was an amazing birthday present to myself to earn it.  I was semi-planning on going to pans anyway, but I just spent 1600 bucks on my car, so that plan was a bit up in the air as of the week before the tournament.

So, it was a pretty great day for me,  It was also a pretty good day for my team!  We had a good sized group out, I think about 18 competitors or so, not bad for a club who's 4th year anniversary is coming up! The kids looked great out there. They didn't all win medals, but they showed great jiu jitsu and a great attitude.

One thing that was pretty funny for me to see was some of them being a little to active and not holding a position long enough to get their points.  We always encourage them in the gym to not camp out and to keep moving, but they took it a bit to far and went mount, side, mount, side, mount side, back and forth, for like 1 second each. I guess it's something we will have to clarify a bit with them when the roll.  One thing I saw from a lot of the kids divisions was kids getting to mount and not going anywhere from there.  It's the downside to not having any submissions, but it lead to some pretty frustrated kids, who just got stuck in mount for 3 minutes.  Let's be honest, if all the person in mount is doing is trying to stay there, it's really really really hard to get out.  I feel like stalling could/should still be called from there, if they aren't looking to go to the back control, or something. I don't really know what the solution is to this.

It was great to see Brad out competing again.  He had a pretty long layoff for his tooth situation and ended up taking home the gold medal in his division after a very close final match.  Will be good to have him back on the tournament circuit with the rest of us crazies.

I could write a paragraph about every single team mate who competed, but that would get pretty boring for you guys, so I will just add 1 more thing about all that.  It was great to see Stephen earn a couple silver medals.  He's had a pretty rough go of things, with touch draws, close matches and has been kept off the podium at blue till now.  He avenged a loss from earlier in the year, and showed some pretty slick jiu jitsu through out the day.

Last bit about my teammates competing I swear.  Alasdair and Bruce had a really exciting match.  There was quite the crowd watching them and it was intense!  Alasdair won on points after Bruce evaded and gutted out of all his submission attempts.  I think these two will have a great friendly rivalry going for 2014.

Pura closed it's doors for the day for this tournament, so everyone could come out and support the team.  It was AMAZING to have so many people out cheering, hanging around, and supporting us competitors.  It really helps when you are in a tough match to hear someone cheer for you.  I've been to tournaments completely alone, and it didn't really bother me that much, but after having so much support and seeing the team all together like that, I never want to compete alone again.  By the time my absolute was over, there wasn't a lot of people left, but a few stuck around and it was amazing to be able to share that experience with them.  I totally don't blame, or hate on, or hold it against anyone who didn't stick around, those kids were from there from like 8am, and I didn't finish fighting till at least 8pm.  The fact that so many non-competitors came out to watch, and that so many competitors stayed longer then they needed to was amazing.  So, Thank You ALL for your support at the event, and every day at the club.

Changing gears again...

It was sad to hear/see that someone had stolen all the gold medals and a lot of the silvers.  Word on the street is it was some random kids, but no one will every probably know.  This just highlights the need for more staff at events like this.  The OJA handled the situation though, and will be mailing out the medals to all the people who did not get one.  They had a set for doing the awards and pictures for though, which was nice.

This tournament wraps up the 2013 season in Ontario.  There isn't any more competitions until January.  January and early 2014 is looking pretty busy, with a couple sub onlys, ascension, pro trials and a mysterious tournament from the cbjjf apparently coming to town.  The OJA sub only is going to be in Kitchener, which will be a pretty good change of scenery.  I like that the OJA is moving tournaments around the province, I know the GTA has a pretty good chunk of the competitors in the povince, but contrary to popular belief, Toronto isn't the centre of the universe, and they should be willing to make a short trip out of their bubble for a few events a year.

I think that's about it.  I feel like I am missing some things that I wanted to talk about, but this is pretty long now, So I guess they can wait, or be forgotten or whatever.   I am planning on writing a 2013 recap/ summary/looking back post in the new little while It will probably be combined with a looking forward to 2014 type things.  Highlight the events I am looking forward to, and my goals for the year.

Cheers!  See you on the mats!