Oza format suggestions

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Suggestions to simplify the African Oza and SA Open

Steve Kroon writes:

I would like to make a proposal that future editions of the African Oza are held as follows:

The tournament for that year be named: "n'th African Oza and m'th South African Open", and that it is run just as the regular South African Open (i.e. a 6-round Macmahon).

The top placed African player then qualifies to represent Africa at the playoff, and 2nd and 3rd in the Oza are determined by the position in the Open.

This is exactly how the Oceanian Oza is run, and is simple and easy to understand for everyone. It also means we don't have incidents like this year (which I feel are undesirable), where Victor didn't even face Aketa, and Aki only gained her 2nd position in the Open by SOS.

Steve Kroon: Correction - the Oceanian Oza is not run exactly like this. They use divisions, with the top division ("over 5-dan") effectively running a 6-round Swiss. Below that they have other seperate divisions. It seems the 2 American Oza tournaments also seem to use the "sections" concept, but they still place everyone in the tournament in one list, and their results lists look suspiciously like a regular McMahon tournament. In any case, in a McMahon tournament with enough people above the bar, there is effectively a "top section".
Chris WelshThe best thing about an elimination tournament is that it is a more spectator friendly structure (in my opinion), with a clear path to the finals for everyone to see, and its easy for people to predict who will play who and when (and plan their attendance accordingly). With the SA Open, there was confusion about when and if Victor would play Aketa, and I don't think this will be readily solved by running a MacMahon. Perhaps experts in MacMahon could predict the draw, but certainly your average spectator can't.

This year, although everything went smoothly, had a lot of debate and queries about the draw for the double elimination, the structure of the tournament, etc. These queries showed to me a lack of agreement on how the double elimination should be run, and also a lack of understanding of how a double elimination tournament works. Going for a straight MacMahon tournament will make a lot of these issues moot.

I'd like to ask you to table the proposal with the SAGA council, so that you can make a decision. I further suggest that future editions of the tournament (along with the SA Open) be run on GoDraw, use difference in MMS minus 1 handicaps, and use SOS, then SODOS, as tiebreakers.

Chris Welsh: Can you elaborate, for the record, what the problems with Gotha are?
Steve Kroon: The only major issue I had with Gotha was that it does not seem to allow participants to be below 20-kyu.
Chris Welsh: Version 2.12 seems pretty cheerful about accepting 30K players. I remember struggling to use it for a handicap tournament, because it refused to allow handicaps greater than 9 stones, but for a conventional MacMahon tournament it would surely it would be preferable to use windows based program so as to avoid the printer awkwardness that the DOS based GoDraw imposed upon the 2006 SA Open
Steve Kroon: Well, that's good news, then. In that case, perhaps we could conveniently go with Gotha. Can Gotha print out the draw (split by rooms, or an equivalent)? Can you get a text summary of the results like I have for the SA Open from Gotha?
Chris Welsh: The 2006 Cape Town Open was run with Gotha. We had some difficulty with pairing, that needed us to remove the secondary pairing considerations in order to resolve. The output it gives is similar to what you describe - one nice feature is that it can generate an HTML version of the results - see the results page of the CT Open for an example.

I think it's a good idea to have these things spelt out and available somewhere for future tournament organisers so they don't have to wonder and decide.

I'd also suggest: a standardised formula for determining veteran and youth winners, standardised categories for category prizes, and the rank at which the bar is set.

Konrad Scheffler: I thought standardised formulae for veteran and youth prizes exist: age*macmahon and macmahon/age. Is the problem more than one way of defining macmahon score?
Steve Kroon: Yeah - more than one way of defining McMahon score means the criteria effectively differ each year. Furthermore, some ways of defining MMS make results very odd (eg negative MM scores would result in young veteran prize winners). In addition to this, changing the bar each year also changes the criteria slightly (although I think this is gradual as our player pool increases). In any case, I'd suggest shifting the MacMahon scores so that a 30K with no wins would have a shifted MMS of 1 (to avoid dividing by zero). Opinions? + (see Voting to understand the voting system).

I think the website can help make this sort of continuity possible and even convenient, reducing a lot of worries and duplicated effort between each year's tournaments.

Using this letter as a starting point, everyone feel free to throw in your oar, and let's see where this takes us.

Other suggestions

Alternatives to just incorporating the Oza into the SA Open is to have it as a seperate tournament. If we wish to do this, guidelines from the European Oza may be valuable. They limit the number of participants, with invitations for (a) all players over a certain rank, and (b) one representative per IGF member nation without a player above the rank cutoff. To fill the tournament, they call for entries above a certain rank on a first-come,first served basis. The understanding is that a portion of each players travel and accomodation expenses are paid, with the portion determined by (a) whether you are a nation's top representative, and (b) how strong you are.

These players then play in the prestigious tournament, with a "family tournament" being run in parallel.