A tournament (colloquially, tourney) is a competition to produce an overall skill ranking of players by arranging them into a structured bracket in which they engage in individual matches to raise or lower their rank. The tournament is commonly organized in such a way that the strongest player is determined as the champion. A number of different formats exist for achieving this goal, including the round-robin and single-elimination tournaments.
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Tournaments are frequently organized by players to determine the best player in a given game, such as Melee or the esports of fighting games. Tournaments are a key part of the competitive culture of these games, which often involve high levels of skill and large amounts of capital investment by participants. Tournaments are typically held in a variety of locations around the world, though most competitions are concentrated in the United States, as it has a very large and generally talent-rich playerbase and hosts some of the most prominent tournaments such as GENESIS and EVO. Other large communities of gamers exist in Canada, northern and western Europe, Australia, and Japan.
Most tournaments are designed to be fair in terms of determining the actual best competitor, and to ensure that the final rankings accurately reflect true strength. To this end, the tournament should eliminate the potential for meaningless or tactical results, collusion among players at the expense of third parties, and other issues.
The tournament should also allow for a sufficient number of matches, as well as providing an efficient structure. In order to reduce the amount of time required for tournament progression, round-robin and other alternating-round formats are often used. These types of formats also make it possible to prevent some competitors from experiencing an easier or more difficult tournament progression than others due to faulty seeding or being placed against other players who play characters that counter the player’s.
A double elimination tournament is a common alternative to the standard single-elimination tournament, in which every player is guaranteed at least two sets of matches, and the winner of each set wins a higher rank than the loser. This can be an effective method for reducing the time needed to complete a tournament, and is often used in the case of larger tournaments where players are likely to have more than one loss.