Handle odd numbers of teams

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Handle odd numbers of teams

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Handling odd numbers of teams in Swiss pairs is a real nuisance for organisers even using three-way matches.

3-way means you take three teams out of the draw for two rounds, and they play a "Mitchell" for those two rounds and so completing two matches in two rounds.

e.g. round 1: 11v12 (1), 12v13 (2), 13v11(3) with the board set in brackets.

round 2: 11v13(3), 12v11(1), 13v12(2).

This called "playing a 3-way over two rounds".


(1) The scoring can only take place after playing two rounds.

(2) There are three board sets used whereas other teams in the event play only two sets in the same time. A board duplication issue.

(3) Usually the teams in the 3-way are at the bottom of the draw and are seen as disadvantaged or even punished.

(4) If the first round of the 2 is before "lunch" no discussion can take place.

(5) Where the total number of rounds is odd the last round match cannot be completed except by halving the boards in each match.


A 3-way can be played over one round by halving the number of boards in each match. This is inherently a disadvantage to the players and also with a low number of teams these three teams have played each other for the purpose of future draws and so may run out of new opponents.


Both these situations are handled by ASE Scorer, entering the results of each match (and possibly half match) where the results are calculated by the players.


There are two scoring methods available in Swiss teams in the ASE Scorer.

(1) Teams

(2) IMPs from boards.


"Teams" means the players calculate the scores and the results entered by the director as mentioned above.

"IMPs from boards" the board scores at all tables are entered by the director (as in pairs events) or captured using table top devices. Scoring compares the results at the two tables and converts this to IMPS and ultimately VPs.

Where the number of teams are even this method is routine. An odd number of tables changes this situation.


When setting up the event you will be asked if you want to "use board scores to calculate IMPs" in 3 way matches.

If you tick this option then all 3 way matches will share the boards on each round. The 3 way matches will play the same board set as all other teams in the event. The teams in the 3 way will complete the match in one round even though they are playing different teams at each table.


If you do not tick "use board scores to calculate IMPs" in 3 way matches then it is assumed you are entering the scores manually FOR 3 WAY MATCHES and session one scores are added to session two and so catering for your playing two half matches in each session. You still have the option of entering board scores for all the other head-to-head matches and score using "IMPs from boards".


NOTE: If you tick this option then all 3 way matches will share the boards on each round.

Also you will notice the draw shows, for example, in the first round of the two:




11    - 11 v 12

12    - 12 v 13

13    - 13 v 11


and it will appear the same for the second round.

The "home" team is the result for that team and 11 is playing both 12 and 13 etc. in each round, once as NS and once as EW.

Organise the pairs to play different people iin the second round, just have the two pairs in each team swap places.


You tell all three teams to swap the NS and EW pairs (not the normal move)

Then the numbers are correct and both the pairs in each team meet the other pair.


11(1) v 12(2)

12(1) v 13(2)

13(1) v 11(2)


Then next round

11(2) v 12(1)

12(2) v 13(1)

13(2) v 11(1)


This procedure was put forward to the administrators by Matthew McManus and was accepted; and for very good reasons:


(1) It means there are no "extra" boards in play.

(2) All teams play the same boards in a session.

(3) There can be an odd number of rounds.

(4) You can break at lunch with no boards "hanging", so discussion is possible over lunch.

(5) Teams can score up after each round.


The only disadvantage is the teams involved do not play the same team at the other table but as the three teams involved are typically at the bottom of a long list (it is a Swiss event after all) their result is less likely to effect the outright result. The scores are still valid and meaningful even if this is not the case.


This innovation also makes the collection of board scores in ASE when using table top devices very simple.

Therefore: when there is a 3-way match in the event you can only score "IMPs from boards" in the 3-way matches where the boards are shared. Otherwise the scores will need to calculated manually (for the 3-way only) and entered as an IMPs result for the session.