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Master Points in Swiss Pairs

We recently ran a (mini) Swiss Pairs event - 36 boards.
A relatively large field of 26 tables, (yes, we were on-line!)
Previously when we have run 6*6 there have been grumbles about the results.
Mainly because many of the top ranked pairs have not played one another.
I don't know the stats, but I suspect 6 rounds is insufficient to produce a 'fair' result.

So we ran 9*4.
Potentially this could be a little slow, but that didn't materialise.
Most of the leading pairs played a few other leading pairs.
So the result looks pretty honest, and nobody grumbled about that!

However because the matches are over 4 boards, there are no masterpoints per match won.
There were some grumbles about that!

I would be interested to hear views on the 'best' number of rounds;
and whether mps should be awarded per match won, even for shorter rounds.


  • In principle Swiss is intended to mimic a knockout in fewer rounds. So the number of rounds would ideally be n where the number of contestants is between 2^(n-1) and 2^n, so having 6 rounds for 52 pairs is good and having 9 rounds for the same number is over-Swissing.

    In some ways it's more important to have the format that give players the master points they expect than other considerations.

  • 'best' number of rounds was quite subjective. The Midweek congress for instance played 6 rounds of 8 with quite a large field but for that event it seemed like the right pacing. From a purely competitive viewpoint it maybe wasn't an ideal number, for similar reasons to the ones you cite. You want enough rounds that most of the top pairs play each other, not too many rounds that you get 'over swissed', I can remember one Great Northern Swiss Pairs where I was my usual slightly above average and got up floated something like the last five rounds.

    Face to face bridge tends not to favour short rounds because of all the extra movement of pairs, clearly that's all quite a bit easier online. I think the white book advises only awarding points for matches won at 5 boards per match, my recollection is that's advisory and the option is still there. It's in my mind that I've played in multiple teams events awarding partial greens for won matches of even 2-3 boards (it's a while since |I played this particular format, its not very common). I'll check, I need something to do while not feeding my cat.

  • Well, the section ofthe white book I was thinking of was for VPs (not recommended for matches under 5 boards.). The master point handbook gives a scale for masterpoints for matches won running from 1 up to large matches and specifically cites the example of multiple teams events, I think if you want to play 9 by 4 and award MPs for matches won that's an option. I'm guessing the scoring software assumed otherwise as a default.

    I think whatever the players are happy playing is a good guide to how many rounds you should play, I'd prioritize that over an ideal competitive result.

  • From the Master Point and Licensing Handbook:

    4.5.1 The most common events of this type are teams events (multiple teams, Swiss teams, roundrobins and knock-out) and Swiss pairs events. However, the general principle is that all stages of
    events of 36+ boards duration, where competitors meet for a minimum of 6 consecutive boards,
    shall attract an award per winning match. Additionally, any teams event of at least 36 boards
    duration shall attract an award per match won even if matches (rounds) are of fewer than 6
    boards each

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