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Balancing Strong Players at a Local Club Game

Sometimes at our local unit, the seating of EW and NS strong pairs are sometimes unbalanced. There may be more strong pairs in one direction than another. Some club owners are reserving a few odd numbered tables for pairs with total master points above 2000 points thus squeezing the strong pairs into different directions. Our Mitchell games usually are between 7 and 11 tables.

The total master points criteria may not be a good predictor of performance. Sometimes a mentor/mentee pair with 5000 and 100 points respectively would fit in this criteria of a strong pair and thus be placed at an odd table, distorting the NS/EW balancing effect.

If the directions are unbalanced then inexperienced pairs may face a "gantlet effect" where a surplus of strong pairs are battering them. This may produce a dissatisfying experience and the pair may not choose to come to that game again. Our small unit cannot afford to have pairs cherry-pick the games.

Also the results are unfair as a strong pair sitting in the direction with the fewest strong players has a better change winning in that direction.

So, how do you seat the strongest pairs at your local club? Or do you?

How does a tournament director assign the seating in a large event when all players will not be playing against each other?

Do these directors use the highest total match-point pairs as a criteria or do they use a threshold value such as 5000 points for the odd tables?

Is there a formula for the odd tables assignments as I know the lowest numbered odd tables are not typically packed with the best pairs?

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