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Open Championship - Pre Drawn Swiss

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Closing date: 05 May 2013

After last year's Open Championship, there was much discussion about the Burridge Swiss and specifically about the fairness, or otherwise, of the range of possible draws that any player may have. A conclusion of that discussion which has been incorporated into the regulations for this year's event is to pre-draw the first 6 rounds. This has a number of benefits, including reducing waiting time during the early rounds, simplifying management activity and increasing fairness.

There are a number of ways to construct these pre-drawn rounds. At a simple level, just creating a random draw does not appear to offer much advantage over the previous "full Swiss" format. However, the ability to construct the first 6 rounds, without needing to worry about the winners or losers of each game, offers the potential to optimise it for one of a number of factors in a way that wouldn't be possible in a normal Swiss.

Just to avoid any doubt, once the first 6 rounds are complete we will revert to the usual Burridge Swiss concept that those who cannot reach, or have already reached, the threshold number of wins are removed from the Swiss - so leaving those remaining to fight for to battle it out for place in the knockout still. Provided the weather and speed of play permits 11 rounds, this means that everyone will get at least 6 games and those who finish on 6 or more wins (>=50% of the number of rounds) will qualify for the knockout. The important fact for this discussion, however, is that anything that increases "fairness" (more of that definition later) within the first six rounds, will reduce the potential extent of unfairness over all eleven rounds and hence be "better".

I've modelled four options for the pre-drawn part of the Swiss which are presented in each of the following survey questions. In what follows, references to a player's grade is meant to be to their pre-event Dynamic Grade (on the Draw date), and relates (unless it says otherwise) to the six pre-drawn rounds. The example draws as based on a single iteration only; running multiple iterations can be expected to give "better" results. I've used the entry list for the 2012 Open Championship as a test data set.

I'm not convinced that there is an objectively "right" answer to this, not least because everyone will have their own definition of words such as "best" and "fairness". I will therefore not be able to incorporate every idea, and hence the manager's decision is still final etc. The hope is that this survey will provide some insight into which of the possible approaches is considered "best" or perhaps find a new approach which is "better", and make use of good ideas offered before the event, rather than to defend the approach after it.

Responses to this survey will be visible to all.