Tournaments are a great way to hone your game and build a network of friends. While they can be intimidating at first, the right preparation can help you make the most of your experience.
Whether you’re playing a local chess tournament or a grueling international competition, preparation is key to winning. Often, this preparation begins well before you step foot on the course.
The first thing you need to know about a tournament is what type of bracket it uses: Double elimination or round robin?
A double elimination bracket is a format that uses a set of winners’ and losers’ brackets (W and L for short). In this system, anyone who loses in the W bracket (their first loss of the event) is eliminated from the tournament.
The L bracket is almost identical to the W bracket but players who lose in this bracket (their second loss of the event) are moved into a section called “losers’.” The top of this section is called the “championship” or “Grand Finals” and the winner gets first place, the loser gets second.
This bracket is used in most major tournaments and is typically the one played in each tier of PGR and PGRU A-tier events. It’s also a popular format for amateur events, as it eliminates fewer players from the event.
Another common tournament bracket type is the Swiss system, which is based on seeding before the tournament starts. A player is paired up with a player who has the same number of points as them and plays out that match, giving each player 1 point for winning the match. The next round is then played out and the process repeated until one person has no losses.
Swiss systems can be a little confusing, but they are generally a good idea and are more efficient than the single-elimination format. In addition, they provide an easier method of eliminating players who have lost several sets, which can be an issue in the single-elimination format.
The other main bracket type used at most tournaments is the round robin system, which involves all players playing each other until every match has been played. This system is a great way to get more people involved in a tournament and has the added benefit of eliminating repeat matchups between players, as each player is only playing against one opponent in a round.
Lastly, some tournaments may be structured around an individual skill level. For example, some PGRU A-tier events run a tournament division that awards points for different levels of play. These points are then used to determine a player’s position in the division.
Some PGRU A-tier events also use a prize split, which is when players agree to evenly divide the prizes for their winning games. However, this is not considered bribery and does not affect the outcome of any matches.
In general, a tournament is a highly organized event that takes considerable time and effort to put together. As such, the best approach to tournament preparation is to pick one or two areas that seem most important to you and stick to them. Then, over time, you can start incorporating more and more of these practices into your routine.