Saturday, April 18, 2009

Partial elimination round calculator

I'm a big believer that every team at a debate tournament with a winning record should make it to elimination rounds. (Or, if this is simply impossible, break every team with a certain record, e.g. all 5-2s and no 4-3s. That only seems fair; breaking some 5-2s on speaker points, but not other 5-2s, places too much trust in the objectivity of speaker points.)

Of course, the problem is that breaking every team in a certain bracket creates the need to run a partial elimination round (because how often will a tournament need to break exactly 2^n teams?). The logistics of a partial elimination round can seem a bit unpredictable at first -- how many teams will need to be in the partial? how many judges will be needed? -- so I created a "partials calculator" to help estimate answers to these questions:

A few notes about the calculator. I set it up with a default of 34% of teams breaking, a good assumption for the percentage of 4-2s or better, but this value can be changed in the green box. I also set up a default of one judge per two teams in the single-flighted event and one judge per three teams in the double-flighted event, although these values can also be changed in their green boxes.

The yellow highlighted boxes show when a tournament will need extra elim judges. For example, in the single-flighted event, there are very few situations where the tournament would need extra elim judges -- the most significant troubles are in the 100s-110s, where the tournament might be short 10 judges. Otherwise, there are few problems.

The double-flighted event shows two options: (a) single-flight the partial and double-flight the first elim round, or (b) double-flight the partial and single-flight the first full elim. Requiring one judge for three teams is a crucial value; there will enough judges in almost every case to single-flight one (or both) of these two rounds.

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