Types of tournament format: Part one

September 25, 2010

I’ve posted about World Championship’s tournament format before, and stated at the end of the article that I will follow up with another post.

This is about comparing the pros and cons of different formats to suit the organiser’s need.

Many organisers set their eyes plainly on profit and don’t bother about how tournaments being run. Just put in decent amount of effort, you will surely leverage long term equity.

Common basic types of tournament format:

– Single elimination
– Double elimination
– Round robin (league)
– Swiss pairing

I labelled them as ‘basic’, because they’re usually used together and not alone in tournaments. For e.g. in World Championship, swiss pairing then single elimination.

The three critical factors that every organiser must consider are:
– Number of participants (anticipated/estimated)
– Time
– Venue (how many pairs can it hold at once)

Secondary factors:
– Participation friendliness (the maximum of rounds a player gets to play if he loses all)
– Luck importance

The critical factors must be put into consideration first, and the secondary factors are optional.


Single elimination

Probably the simplest format. Just draw up a chart, and eliminate the players who lost. Below is an example of an eight men single elimination table, taken from World Championship 2010. I don’t think i need to explain how it works.

Number of participants:
Preferably not too little players because the tournament will end too quickly. It will be useful if you wish to cut the number of participants from a huge amount.

Fastest of all, since minimum of rounds are required.

Good choice if space is a concern because number of players get halved after each round. If the space is not enough to hold all pairs at one go, then separate into several.

Participation friendliness:
Not friendly, because you may just get eliminated after one round.

Luck importance:
High. No tolerance for luck. You slip, off you go.


I will continue in the next part.

Written by Maxilicious



  1. Amazing xD

  2. Thanks.
    Good to know that there are people who aren’t just looking at the profit.

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