The 2020 War at Sea tournament will consist of a double-elimination Preliminary Stage followed by a single-elimination Knockout Stage. The Preliminary Stage will resemble the Swiss format of previous WAS online tournaments, but with several important differences - the full details are as follows:

  • Players will be eliminated from the tournament as soon as they suffer a second defeat. (Two draws are considered equivalent to a single defeat for this purpose.)
  • Pairings for the first round will determined completely randomly; after the first round, everyone will play others with identical won-lost records as far as possible. (For example, if after three rounds you have won two games and lost one, you will play another player with a 2-1 record.) When multiple players are tied with the same record, pairings will be determined randomly.
  • Pairings will always be arranged so that no two players face each other multiple times during the Preliminary Stage. (Players may face each other again in the Knockout Stage after previously meeting in the Preliminary Stage.)
  • If there is an odd number of players remaining at the start of any given Preliminary round, the GM will invite all players eliminated in the previous round to play an extra game as an eliminator against a randomly determined player with one loss in the Preliminary Stage. The player selected as the eliminator will be determined randomly from among all volunteers. (This game will count toward the eliminated player's AREA ranking.) If nobody volunteers to serve as the eliminator, the randomly determined player with one loss will be given a bye - he will earn no tournament points (see below), but he will not be credited with a loss.

Game points in the Preliminary Stage of the tournament will be awarded on a game-by-game basis as follows:

  • 10 points: a win by two or more POC in a completed game, or a win on time in an adjudicated PBEM game
  • 9 points: A win by forfeit in a real-time game that has not been played
  • 8 points: A win by less than two POC in a completed game
  • 5 points: A draw in a completed game
  • 2 points: A loss by fewer than two POC in a completed game
  • 0 points: A loss by two or more POC in a completed 8-turn game, or any loss by resignation, forfeit or adjudication

All tournament points are determined by the final POC score after any bid is taken into account. 8-point wins and 5-point draws are only possible if all eight turns of a game have been completed - if a player resigns, he gets 0 points and his opponent gets 10 points regardless of the current POC count.

 

The Preliminary Stage will conclude at the end of the round of games in which either:

 

a) no more than one player remains undefeated and untied; or

b) two players remain undefeated and untied, and there are eight or fewer players with one loss.

 

All remaining players will be seeded by the number of game points they have accrued, with any ties being resolved by 1) head-to-head results, if applicable, 2) strength of schedule, 3) most games played, 4) most wins, 5) most Axis wins and then 6) a random die roll, in that order. Strength of schedule is calculated by dividing the number of points accumulated by your opponents by the number of games they have played.

 

The one or two undefeated and untied player(s) will be given a bye directly to the Knockout Stage semifinals. Players with one loss will be required to play one or two additional games to reach the semifinals as follows:

  • If only one player remains undefeated and untied, six other players will be involved in three quarterfinal games. If there are more than six players remaining at the end of the Preliminary Stage who are not undefeated and untied, a mini-round will be first be played among the lowest seeds to eliminate any excess players above six.
  • If two players remain undefeated and untied, four other players will be involved in two quarterfinal games. If there are more than four players remaining at the end of the Preliminary Stage who are not undefeated and untied, a mini-round will be first be played among the lowest seeds to eliminate any excess players above six.

Example: At the end of a Preliminary Stage round, only one player is undefeated and untied and eight other players have one loss. The nine remaining players are seeded #1 to #9: the undefeated #1 seed gets a bye to the semifinals, and a mini-round is played involving #6 vs. #9 and #7 vs. #8 to determine who joins the #2, #3, #4 and #5 seeds in the quarterfinals. (In the quarterfinals, the #2 seed would play #7 or #8; the #3 seed would play #6 or #9; and #4 would play #5. And in the semifinals, #1 would play #4/#5, while #2/#7/#8 would play #3/#6/#9.)

 

If there are fewer than six or four players (respectively) who are not undefeated and untied at the end of the Preliminary Stage, the highest seeded player(s) will also receive a bye to the Semifinals.

 

Example: At the end of a Preliminary Stage round, only one player is undefeated and untied and five other players have one loss. The undefeated #1 seed and the best remaining player as the #2 seed would receive byes to the semifinals; the quarterfinals would feature #3 vs. #6 and #4 vs. #5.)

 

Players will not be reseeded after the mini-round and quarterfinals - once the Knockout Stage bracket is set up, the pairings for the remainder of the tournament will be locked in. (This will allow players in subsequent Knockout Stage rounds to know their opponents sooner, and therefore to potentially begin their games earlier.)

 

If there is a draw in the Knockout Stage, the higher-seeded player will advance (or win the tournament if there is a draw in the Final), but the result will be recorded as a draw for AREA purposes.

 

NOTE FROM THE GM (DARREN): Why are we changing the normal Swiss Knockout format? The guiding principle I’m trying to follow in using this format is that if possible, anyone who gets through the Knockout Stage undefeated should have a significant advantage over all other players who suffer a loss along the way. (Or to put that another way, no undefeated player should ever have to face anyone in the Knockout Stage with fewer overall wins in the tournament: e.g., a 5-0 player should have to face a 5-1 or even 6-1 player, never a 4-1 player.)

 

 

The main downside of eliminating players after they lose a second game is that we aren’t be facilitating organized play for players who are out of the running for the Knockout Stage. But on the other hand, the admin involved in running this sort of tournament is significantly reduced – making it a more attractive prospect to GM. Players eliminated early can always find more organized play via the WAS Ladder that Greg Smith organizes; they also won’t need to feel guilty about dropping out of a Swiss event after likely-but-not-definitely being eliminated. I’ve also never felt particularly happy with players sneaking into the quarterfinals on a set of artificial tiebreakers ahead of other players with the same record; e.g., in the 2017-18 BPA PBEM tournament, two players with 4-1 records failed to qualify for the Knockout Stage at all. And double-elimination should hopefully make the earlier rounds feel more important and urgent - particularly for two undefeated players facing off in the final Preliminary Stage round.