Mini-Match play/Pinburgh style group format suggestions for a 1/2 day

I know Pinburgh is a 3 day tried and true successful event. My basic question is how should that experience be modified for a local, 1/2 day event.


Time: start to finish 10-12 hours maximum
40 players maximum, varied skills
4 player groups each round
Multiple eras of games each bank with 4 games played per round
3,2,1,0 wins system 12 max points per round
Swiss style pairing (similar results paired each round)
Only one division for finals.

My subset questions:

In a 1/2 day format, should the rounds count for seeding or just analyze final results based on wins and losses? (Clearly if no finals, it is not like Pinburgh anymore)

How many rounds should be played if used for one division of qualifying?

If qualifying leads to finals, (same format) how many players out of 40 should be in the main finals? 20% ? More?

If taking 50% of field, should there be byes based on qualifying results?

Thanks for input.

1 Like

4 rounds then a fast ladder final - works well.

Define more about half a day though. At funball we do 11-4 8 rounds 3 meetings then 4 a final.

Half day defined above 10-12 hours total during only one day.

1 Like

doh, sorry don’t know how I missed that :smiley:

are you dead set on that format?

I might suggest go for 1 game per round for 6 rounds of qualifying.
then split into divisions, but you could stick with the banks and then
use (either of those) to seed into group matchplay elimination with banks, give everyone a shot in the final perhaps with byes for the top 8 in each group. Adjust the number of qualifying rounds to fill the time…


I have run a large(ish) tourney like this 3 years running. Although we do not have a finals, just results based of final points. There are several things to consider.

  1. Hours for finals. If you do banks of 4 for finals, consider each round to be about 2 hours, depending on factors like skill level, length of the modern games etc. Keep in mind that some EM’s and SS games can play as long as the shorter playing modern games. So with your example of 40 players, I would take 16 to finals - needing 6 hours. Problem is, that only leaves 6 hours for qualifying(approx. 3 rounds of 4 games OR 4 rounds of 3 games)
  2. Number of games needed. An ideal number of games for this would be 40 games PLUS 2 or 3 as back ups. Make sure you at least have a back-up for a modern, EM, and SS. You could do it with 20 games, but you would have to put two groups per bank.
  3. Points system. Pinburgh scoring(3,2,1,0) is good but I’ve never been a fan of 1/2 points, which occur when you have a group of 3. Yes, it happens, even when you have a perfect group of 40. Someone WILL have a family situation/emergency/etc. and drop out. From my experience it has happened every time. I prefer IFPA scoring(7,5,3,1) and for 3 player groups(7,4,1).
  4. Consider doing banks of three, rather than 4 games. When we first attempted this, we did 5 rounds of banks of 4 games. 20 games total. The issue here was with only 5 rounds many players did not play the majority of other players, and had many repeat games. Also, we had some complaints about the large point differential in a group(4 points being worst, 28 points being best, a difference of 24 points). With banks of 3 games, you can make more banks. So we did 6 rounds of 3 game banks(18 games total) the last two years and the players seemed to like it better. Points were more fair(3 points being worst, 21 points being best, a difference of 18 points). When you do Swiss pairing(which I believe works best), in banks of 4 games with IFPA scoring, there are crazy wild swings in the results during the last round.
  5. Consider how many spots will get prizes vs. how many attend, and what kind of entry fee, it any, you will use. At our last one we had a $30 entry fee, $29 of it going to prize pool. We had 56 players and paid out 8 spots. That created some pretty nice prizes for the top 3 or 4.

No I am not set on any particular format.

I’ve played in a couple single day events using variants of Pinburgh and think what I’ve participated in could be improved to make it better for the players.

I have my thoughts on what I would do given the constraints and parameters. Looking for opinions from others. :slight_smile:

1 Like

Bank your games by aggregate play time, if you can. Pair long players with short players to keep things rolling. We do ~5 months of beta testing to get game times down for Pinburgh; even keeping a running total via MPE for other tournaments should help.

The New England Championship uses a one day format with 6 matches; each match is 3 games, and the divisional split happens after the first 3 matches. There is a final … six, I think, with those being straight best 2/3, but for your size and time I recommend a final four three game set.

7531 / 741 is exactly the same as 3210 / 3 1.5 0, just a perception thing.

Well, I agree. It just feels different to have that .5 points hanging out at the end of your total, when the majority of players have whole numbers.


Thanks for the replies.

To be clear this is not mine; I recently played in one that seemed unbalanced. Maybe I am missing something.

Most recent event was 5 rounds, 4 games with 4 players each time. That is, 20 group play qualifying games.

Top 16 advance with no byes. No divisions.

Finals were to be in a similar fashion with typical 4 player groupings. Unfortunately after 5 long rounds, finals were starting so late, a game in every bank was removed, namely all DMDs or any “long playing games” were axed. So 3 game finals matches.

That changed the flavor and dynamic of finals IMO.

If time is the enemy, (which it apparently was) and with so many people advancing, I was thinking afterwards why not either a) just play 6 or 7 total match play rounds as before and where players end up is the result, or b) shorten qualifying rounds to 3, maybe 4 and run finals using the intended games, or c) take fewer people to finals.

I don’t like b) because you don’t really get a feel for the distribution in 3 rounds.

I think the concept of c) is ok, in theory, but I am not a fan of trying to stack 5 rounds (20 games) and finals (9 more potential, maybe 6 if only 8 were advancing) in one day. Exhausting.

Option a) seems to allow the tourney to be in the spirit of matchplay, which is the format people signed up for. Having, or not having the finals in a 1/2 day doesn’t change that spirit. And after 5 rounds, 20 games, done, thank you for your order, drive through.

That’s why I was asking opinions of what would be a reasonable 1/2 day format using Pinburgh matchplay hybrid. My vote is a).

From a TGP standpoint, the 100%TGP was easily generated at the front end by extensive match play on 20 games. Using the doubling for 4 player groups, that’s 40 meaningful games. It’s a very solid event without the finals.

It just felt like there were 2 tourneys, but the first one didn’t count, and the second one that mattered was severely altered and abbreviated because the first one ran too long.

1 Like

In a format with 40 players? Finals typically take about 20% of the qualifying field.

I believe IFPA allows up to 50% of the players to qualify without impacting TGP, right? But when a huge majority of the meaningful games comes from qualifying, it seems like this ought to be lower to be fair.

I would prefer just taking top 8 here.

It’s hard to do a one-day event with qualifying AND finals. I’ve experienced some frustration myself at several PAPA-ticket style events in the past that attempted this.

You could skip finals, but then there’s a chance that the 1st/2nd place never even play each other.

Either way, proper planning is the key and knowing how long rounds should take is essential.


After 5 rounds, I was tied for first in the win-loss tally, but tie breaks rendered me 2nd. Interestingly enough the top seed and I played in the last round where I scored more points than he did, but that wasn’t a factor. In any case, 1 and 2 did play each other on 4 games :slight_smile:

20-25% feels about right. Top 40% of field probably would be about accurate after 3 rounds. Rounds 4 and 5 are just refining seeding with maybe a couple changes. I’d have to check the stats. The Swiss system keeps grouping like results after round 1.

Of course in the what does one get for their efforts department: by taking top 16, 1st seed after 21 games could be eliminated after 3 more games basically getting a smidge more WPPRs than the 17th bubble person. Conversely, the 16th seed has a shot to win it all.

So If the finals make the long-term qualifying seedings that volatile, I’m not sure it is the best method of qualifying.

With taking the top 8, at least the top qualifiers are guaranteed some WPPR reward for their previous efforts. What % does Pinburgh take?

In the Herb style, the only mandatory requirement over 2 days is to play 5 or 6 games to generate a composite score.

Getting some good feedback both online and in person from people. Thanks !