IFPA Classics Tournament Rankings

I am curious if the IFPA has ever considered creating consistent rules around classics events (1984 titles or lower or something in this nature) and breaking out the classics formats into its own ranking and seeing who are the best classics players in the world. Maybe even doing a yearly championship for this. There are some very good classics specialists around Phil Birnbaum, Bob Matthews, Derek Fugate to name a few. Just curious if that has ever been investigated.


No . . . but we welcome anyone that wants to use our tournament data to put something together.

With respect to our IFPA Corporate events, a majority of them focus on formats that require performance over multiple eras of games (Nationals/Women’s/Pin-Masters/World’s) as part of their design.

How hard is it to create a custom ranking with Event Name contains “Classics”?

Cool… Would be nice if the Classics designation was defined and used as a standard when creating these type of events (ie. restricting them to pre. 1985 in order to be classified as a true classics event). This way there would be consistency across the board for the metric. Of course many main tournaments incorporate a mix of both modern and classics and those would not be included in this metric, just would be neat to see another category available like the Power 100 that was added and now has its own qualification tournament attached to a major show.


Our filtering system for custom rankings doesn’t look at Event Name as one of the options.

This would be an @Shep endeavor and with the experience I’ve had with our lack of oversight of how TD’s classify their events, I don’t think it would be worthwhile.

There’s Classics “Tournaments” where the Main Event is actually the Classics tournament itself - that gets listed as “Main Tournament”. There’s tons of events where the Classics event is listed as a “Side Tournament”. There’s tons of events that are just plain incorrect with respect to their classification.

As for the IFPA defining any restrictions over what can be classified as a Classics event I personally have no interest. IMO there’s a big difference between watching Eric Stone roll Solar Fire (1981) and watching Derek Fugate nuance his way on a Gottlieb Wedgehead to some score that I couldn’t get if I tried 100 times.

Too bad, just see a lot of correlation to World of Tennis where for their majors they have what you would call Minor World Championships in their Majors.

Doubles - Men/Womens/Mixed
Juniors - Men/Womens

You could do the same for at like PAPA and have Minor World Championships or have to at some other event for:

Split Finger

PAPA does this to a degree but it splits the classics into three sets of competitions and the split finger I believe is there but there isn’t much incentive to compete in it.

The opportunity is there with matchplay ratings as well. With the arena names now standardized, one could compute players’ ratings for different eras of machines.


matchplay’s more granular datasets would give a great opportunity for all kinds of interesting alternate ratings. IFPA has always been about participation, etc as well as just performance.

I looked at this quite a while ago and concluded that the lack of definition and the “event title” issues Josh mentions were the biggest roadblocks. What I can say from what I did was that the “top 20” Classics player list included many of the “overall” top players like KME, Bowen, Josh, Zach, Trent, Robert, Cayle, Jorian and Jorgen. The best Classics but “not-overall-top-20” were Phil, me, Derek, Jerry Bernard and Greg DeFeo. I’m sure that adding another year or two of data to what I did might roll in Eric now among the “overalls,” and I didn’t look at Europe in detail at the time so I’m sure I’m missing people there.

That said, it might be interesting to add a Classics Circuit championship, official or not, at a future date. It could use classics events that are held in conjunction with “regular” Circuit events, limited to one per event [sorry, no double counting for Buffalo or for next year’s INDISC], and perhaps other selected events if any non-Stern-Circuit Classics events appear too good to omit. Maybe I could sell the idea to Jim and Karl as an add-on to INDISC 2020, using 2019 results as the base? [Ducking the objects their wives will throw at me for even thinking of loading more on our plate!]

Anyway, if there’s enough interest, I can certainly put a proposal together, plus do some how-would-2018 look as a baseline.

[Add: will post 2018 YTD once Vancouver and Cleveland are in.]


It would put more motivation and promotion out for the Classics events for sure! I’d look into them more instead of as a bonus for playing well in Main.

Completely agree. I believe “classics” is often misapplied, and believe it encompasses a lot more factors than just “year of manufacture”.

EM + SS is an easier definition to use than year of manufacture, plus it’s really more representative of what “classics” means in terms of style of play. I never cared for the “25 year rule,” similar to what’s used to define a classic auto, since style of manufacture and features are more meaningful to both than raw age.
We really have 4 distinguishable vintages now: EM; SS; pre-new-Stern (mostly the DMD Bally / Williams / Gottlieb / Data East / Premier / Sega of the late 1980’s and the 1990’s); and Stern/Modern [adding in Jersey Jack, Spooky, American, etc.]. You can make a case for some early new Sterns being more like the 1990’s games than the latest models, but that’s a separate discussion.

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My argument would be that just capturing “SS” I feel is much too broad. Maybe this should be a separate discussion!

Just do pre-dmd. Seems simple enough to me.

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I don’t think Sys11 are comparable to EMs or most SS at all

I think they’re old enough to be considered classics.

Well there’s the rub I’m getting at - should we be defining “classics” based solely on their date of manufacture? Space Shuttle? Not a true classic IMO. I could go on…and on…

I always used pre 1985 as early ss, post 1984 to Pre 92 (DMD) as late solid states. The early solid states go in Classics and the lates go into my modern banks but ultimately it doesn’t matter as long as it gets defined, once is does then that is the rule as everyone is going to have their own opinion.

Yes. Define them as pre dmd. Or pre sys 11. That should be easy too.

I think the important thing is the skills required to play them. Sys11 lean more towards modern play styles overall, and are thus more likely to be played well by the same people who are already good at DMD+.