A tournament is an competition between at least two competing parties, each of which is taking its own course on the path to achieving a common goal. More specifically, the word can be used both in the single sense: a tournament can be won by one team. However, the second sense of the word is also commonly used: a tournament can be won by any team. If a tournament requires that teams play in repeated rounds until a common winner is found, then the word literally means “round play”.
So what is meant by the single sense? In a single tournament, the objective is simple: one team is trying to answer a question or perform some act that satisfies a set of criteria. Usually, this requires that teams play in several games over multiple days with only a small change in the format every day. The other purpose of a tournament is to find the optimal answer to that question, so that it can be applied to a real-life setting. The problem is that finding the optimal solution can be difficult, because it involves an a priori knowledge of the optimal parameters for performance (how well a team plays in situations like a soccer match, for instance).
So how do you find the optimal solution, and achieve it in a timely manner? This is where the tournament format comes in. Instead of teams playing in a single tournament, there are usually a series of four or more inter-team tournaments, with each of the teams playing at least one game against every other team in the series. This means that teams have to play each other within the same set of rules, but they also need to spread their schedule over a larger time scale than would be the case if they played in single games.
Tournament format allows for a more concise way of determining the optimal answer. Because of the large number of possible answers, a team that finds the most answers right away is most likely to win that tournament. And in sports, where the margin of success is relatively small, it’s not uncommon for a team to win a number of games in a row before being found out, as happened to the U.S. national baseball team in the World Series last year. But by using the cyclic method of play, it makes it much easier for teams to adapt to each other, and to the tournament format itself.
A team that finds the most answers right away is likely to win its first tournament, regardless of how weak its group might be. In previous tournaments, teams have been seeded based on their RAP meter rating, which measures the strength of a team based on the total number of runs that it’s scored. By making sure that its RAP meter is high, teams ensure a good chance at winning the first tournament. Of course, the more the team scores during the tournaments, the better its chances of winning. The seeding is also done to keep from creating a team full of young, inexperienced players, who might show up only to lose interest once the tournament gets underway.
But how do the seeds get picked? The process used to pick seeds for the tournament is much different than what is done for single and double league matches. In the former, the players with the highest averages in the batting categories are given first, while teams with the highest and lowest RAP ratings are put in opposite teams. With the latter method, teams are grouped according to the average RAP they’re producing during the season, then a formula is used to determine which team will be placed where. The first and second place teams in the tournament are usually given the most seed money while the teams finishing third and fourth aren’t as favored. But the whole thing is dependent on how many matches the teams in the tournament have played already, since the more matches they’ve played, the more chances there are for them to win.