Pinburgh Round 10 "Diversion"


Has any thought been givin to making the intentional 6-6-6-6 totally allowable and in some cases encouraged? In other professional high level gaming tournaments like Magic The Gathering, the final two rounds are full of “intentional draws”. These occur when both players agree it’s in their best interest to draw. Sometimes this does not align and then you have a “dream crusher” scenario, with one person playing for seeding while the other just wants to survive. It’s entirely up to the players.

Usually in the last round of these tournaments, there are only a few matches that actually get played out because of these intentional draws. Those are the players truly on the bubble and are known as “win-and-ins” and are quite exciting.

Maybe this would only work in a 100% Swiss tournament, but I’m throwing this idea out there because it appears to work for them. It’s just built in to the tournament structure.


Many A players were unhappy with the unbalanced round 10; I had several ask me if I agreed with them that it was a bad thing to do. The only thing I heard more complaints about was the crappy wifi during the Intergalactic that backed up scorekeeping there.

My own experience has been to be near the cut line most years for round 10 and while we kidded about chopping [we all knew where we stood, you can’t help but think “what if” somewhere along the way], none of my groups ever did, we all played hard knowing that anyone who did well enough even in the cut-level groups could rise up to get a single bye, as each time someone did. I had to survive tiebreakers for the A finals the previous two years as a result. I know of other cases where one or two players knocked the others in their round 10 groups out of contention in the first two or three games, but even knowing they were eliminated, the others still played hard games 3 and 4 and knocked those players out, too. [Me, at least once.]

Sorry, Bowen, as a math guy, I have to disagree. Examine the situation where two players have identical records for rounds 1-9, and thus played nearly identical level opponents in each of those rounds, with one being assigned position #64 for round 10 and the other #65. The opportunity to advance is definitely not equal for these two players, despite the fact that they have performed the same up until now. And the nuance that they played slightly different people and thus aren’t “totally identical” actually could be construed as a very small bit of unfairness en route, so I consider that not to be a way out of this.

The “equal treatment” argument fails in that while who gets the harder road is random, it’s the fact that the hardness differs that matters, not that they’re equally likely to have to take the harder road. Sure, if both players were 64th and 65th several years in a row, it would statistically even out, but that’s not going to happen.

My own opinion is that it was a flawed idea [“bad” is too harsh a term], but I understand that it was an honest effort to deal with a real problem for which there is no perfect solution. Come game 4 of round 10, there will be some who know they’re out, some who know they’re in and or have one or more byes, some who know they’re in but can’t improve further to get a bye, and some still not sure if they’ll make it or not. Those whose situations are fixed can choose to play hard or not with no consequences to themselves, only to other players. This will occur whether the round 10 groups are balanced or not; it’s just a little harder for the players to figure it all out when it’s unbalanced. In the unbalanced case, they can’t all be “winners” [i.e. qualify] by colluding, but the potential to not try hard and have that help someone else still exists.

FWIW, I looked at the results for the last few years, and more often than not, agreeing to split amounts to someone giving up a bye opportunity most of the time. The difference between top 16 and top-40-but-above-the-tiebreaker is often exactly 3 points. To do the chop this year in A, for instance, the players would have needed to be 73-72-71-70 going into the final game, so they could all come out the other end at 73. But the person with 73 would have gotten a bye had they won that last game to get to 76 points. Ditto B division with 69 for a bye vs. 66 for safe without tiebreaker and 66 vs. 63 in C. This doesn’t prevent collusion, obviously, but should be noted.

Let me know if you want me to participate in discussion of possible changes to this year’s system; I agree going back to the “all even” plan may be too risky, but I think there may be a variation of this year’s plan that would “feel fairer” to the players involved.


I think avoiding any way to cheat is the right answer.

But surely Isn’t the.answer play better? Then it doesn’t matter what happens in the last round?


Just want to say that Adam started this post off with a praise-fest for pinburgh - and as someone myself who has tried to offer constructive feedback in the past, and taken some heat, i know exactly why he did that - he didn’t want to be “reprimanded” for trying to discuss something.

The moment I started reading his post I though to myself “don’t want to get anyone bent out of shape lolz”…

Players are going to want to talk about events, and subjects and sometimes its going to be about things players didn’t enjoy - but for the most part it will be with good intentions.

Replies like this from tournament staff are why a bunch of people I know do not give feedback for events - they don’t want to be accused of mortally wounding or pissing off event staff for trying to discuss something.


But surely each player in your group is in the same situation?
What you are actually complaining about is that you did not have the opportunity to ask other people you knew how the specific tables were playing?
You did not have the opportunity to try and gain an advantage based on table specific knowledge?
Would you have been happy knowing you had won based on the fact that you knew a specific issue with a given table which your competitors did not know? I certainly wouldn’t be, but some people have the win at all cost mentality.

Surely the sign of the better pinball players is the ability to adapt to any given situation on a table as they play it - not be fed information as to how it plays to use to their advantage or the detriment of other players?


I’ve seen a bit of this and I made a comment to that effect myself, but I think in many cases it’s people that know each other and the comment about not belonging is more in the friendly jibe territory than an official complaint. For me, I know a couple of fellow league members had crappy Thursdays and ended up in D, but they’re much better players than the average D player.


I don’t like this because at Pinburgh, we’re not talking about a handful of players, we’re talking about hundreds in each division. A group of 4 choosing the intentional draw can have ramifications for others not in the group, and while personal advancement is the goal for everyone, this tournament has a well-ingrained desire for each participant to do their very best at all times. Allowing the intentional draw would fly in the face of that.


Don’t call me Shirley


If collusion was known to happen for a fact (which it sounds like it is), I’m curious what the penalty was to those players involved. Round DQ, Tournament DQ, future sanctions from participating?

Might make people think twice about doing it in the future if they know what exactly the penalty is.


Bowen’s reaction is not typical of PAPA’s staff. Please understand that we have all poured over 100 hours of work (just in the last 7 days) into this tournament to make it happen. That workload makes some folks a little more emotional.

I stopped and had a conversation with Adam about this very thing Saturday morning as we were preparing the broadcast. I thought both sides were very respectful and Adam presented a reasonable argument. I’m not going to promise any changes at this juncture because we are only two days removed from the event. I want to ensure changes we make are for the good of the event and not reactionary based on emotionally fueled feedback.

As always, I really appreciate the discussions where possible solutions are offered. We’ve had many changes over the years to the event and most resulted in a positive outcome.

Keep the feedback coming!



This is indeed that conversation. Adam was very respectful and I thought I also was in kind.


It’s okay Doug . . . show me on this teddy bear where Adam hit you. You’re among friends here :slight_smile:


All of these are on the table depending on severity / validity.


I have an idea.

A few changes this year and in years past have caused consternation because they were not communicated effectively. These days, I would wager that virtually everyone either has a smartphone or knows someone that does. Does Replay/PAPA have an official twitter account or other social media account where more or less live updates can be made? You’d need someone to curate this of course, but I’m thinking along the lines of the following:

“The sample groupings on the site for round 10 are out of date. We’ll be doing it this way…”
“New this year will be a streamlined payout process for qualifiers, stop by the tournament desk to learn more”
“We’ve had reports of possible player collusion or those not trying their best, please don’t do this!”
“The roof is leaking, abandon ship!”

I think a lot of people would welcome more open communication during the actual event, if possible.


On the table of course, but in 7 years of Pinburgh have you ever had to issue any penalty for collusion based on something that was confirmed as valid collusion? If yes, what was the penalty?

For IFPA WC we’ve had a total of ONE confirmed incident of collusion years ago in session 8. We were able to correct the issue mid-session, and issued a yellow card to the entire group (mainly because we were able to correct the issue during the session). There’s a fun not-for-public story there for another time :wink:



If you have anyone in mind who would like to volunteer for this task, let me know.


Instead, add this to the call for volunteers for next year. I’m aware it’s an extra task for an already stretched staff. Someone with rights to post, taking direction from certain designated persons would work.


Shockingly, I don’t think many people would give up the right to play in Pinburgh to do this task. :slight_smile:

We were thin on volunteers this year for IPC for the same reasons.


You could borrow an idea from INDISC and a few other events: separate qualifying time for scorekeepers only. Given that there would be 12 machines available and about that number of scorekeepers who’d want to compete, playing 10 games max, I would think it could all be done in an hour or so. I might volunteer myself in that scenario.