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First Dupli-Swiss at ACBL club - positives and negatives

I assisted the game director at our local club in running our first ever Dupli-Swiss this afternoon.  Effectively, he directed but I set the game up since I was familiar with using duplicated boards in all of the matches.  I thought I would give a summary of how it went on our first Dupli-Swiss attempt!

First ever one session club Dupli-Swiss at my local club, 4 rounds, 6 boards per round, 12 teams

Manually scored with assistance from a homemade spreadsheet which calculates victory points and can sort teams by team number or by victory point present total.  Match assignments were made manually. (I hope later this year to use BridgeScore+ or Swiss Teams Scorer with Bridgemates for score entry and match assignments, including use with a separate novice/intermediate section.)

I was assisting the assigned game director with running this special type of game.

Four sets of duplicated boards 1-24 available, plus one set of Boards 1-36 available (in case there had been a 3-way with an odd number of teams).

Table set up for Round 1 (section B similar):

A1...Boards 1-2

A2...Boards 3-4

A3...Boards 5-6

A4...Boards 1-2

A5...Boards 3-4

A6...Boards 5-6

Boards after completed passed to the next lower table, just as in a 6-table Mitchell. (I could have used "triangles" and had A1, A2, and A3 share Boards 1-6 and A4, A5, and A6 share a separate Boards 1-6. More on that later.)

Here are my observations:

NEGATIVES

1. We should have done much better with pairs that needed to be stationary. None of the 12 teams ever requested a stationary, but one player clearly should have had a stationary table, and I was informed of this after the game by one of her teammates. If the Directors had recognized this, or if it had been requested before or during the game, it would have been easy for me using the spreadsheet to highlight in a different color the team assignment box for the team needing a stationary position.

2. We had a large delay (about 10 minutes) making assignments for Round 3 and most of the blame was on me, partially due to my inexperience in running Swiss events. There were an unexpected three match assignment discrepancies due to teams initially paired with teams already played against. Then to make matters worse, the team which I was playing on was assigned to play a team three positions below us which had two very narrow losses and therefore not that far from my team's score. This team was VERY displeased and I'm sure our club manager and some board members will be getting an earful.

(In contrast, the Round 4 assignments were displayed on our large television screen in less than 90 seconds from when the last Round 3 result was submitted. There was only one match assignment which paired a team with one already played, and it was an easy fix.)

3. The most unexpected item - numerous players had trouble passing their boards to the next lower table (and Table 1 passing boards to Table 6). I had to help straighten out at least four times of boards being passed improperly. This was the most puzzling thing I saw the entire day. The room was quieter than normal (players were warned the board they were playing was also being played simultaneously at three other tables) and it would have MUCH quieter if not for the talking required to get boards to the proper table. It did appear that in Round 4, finally everyone had become familiar with doing something they do at nearly every game we run at this club, passing boards to the next lower table. (Next time, I will be careful to say “attention Tables A1 and B1 – do you see Tables A6 and B6 near you? That is where you pass your boards. For the rest of you, do you see the table near you one number lower than your table? That’s where you pass your boards.”)

4. Related to the above topic – I had a choice with a 12 team game of either

(a) setting up the six “A” tables and the six “B” tables to play like a 6-table Mitchell pair game (which is what we did), OR

(b) let Tables A1, A2, and A3 share six boards amongst themselves, and Tables A4, A5, and A6 would also share their different six boards amongst themselves ("triangles").

I decided to use (a) because we are not used to sharing boards amongst THREE tables and passing boards to the next lower table was something we all SHOULD do almost instinctively. But after the unexpected problems with the simple act of passing boards to the next lower table, perhaps I should have used the triangle sharing method and put Boards 1-2 on Table A1, 3-4 on Table A2, and 5-6 on Table A3 and told them to share the boards amongst themselves ONLY, passing boards to the next lower table with Table A1 passing boards to Table A3.

5. From the Director standpoint, I could have had all tables bring their played boards at the end of the round up to the unused table near the Director so he would not need time to collect recently played boards. Also, we keep the boards in vertical wooden boxes and the unplayed boards could have been removed from the four vertical boxes and placed near the Director table, to be handed out at the start each round. The four empty vertical boxes could be placed upside down and then Boards 1-6 after being played could be placed upside down in the box, so they’d be in the correct order. Then after Round 2, Boards 7-12 can be placed upside down on top of Board 1-6 and so on. Less boards lying around on that table that way and easier and faster cleanup for the Director after the game.

POSITIVES

1. By the time we reached the final round, the team captains appeared to get used to reading their table assignments from the spreadsheet displayed on the large television screen for their NS pair and that their EW teammates would go to the corresponding table number in the other section. Because the match assignments were made so quickly for Round 4 and no shuffling occurred, I estimated that play began for Round 4 only about 3 to 4 minutes after the last Round 3 match result was submitted. Round 4 appeared to go much more smoothly than the other rounds, as the "kinks" were being worked out.

2. If not for the required conversations to get boards to the proper table in the first two rounds, the game would have been VERY quiet. Still, I caught myself as a player more than once saying something too loud that I should not have said. Habits are hard to break, but I think it became apparent to nearly all the players the importance of not advertising the result on a board to the nearby tables. Also, no “Caddy, please!” calls keeps the room quieter and the Director free to perform other duties.

3. Other than the Match 3 assignment delays already described, using my spreadsheet and immediately being able to sort by total victory points in general makes it quicker than doing it by hand. HOWEVER, the Dupli-Swiss can be run just fine without that spreadsheet, recording the results and determining match assignments by hand as we have always done. It usually is not THAT big a savings of time. It does make it convenient for the players to see the results, however, and that might be the biggest positive of using the spreadsheet and the large television screen.

4. The game is fairer overall, with all matches playing the same boards.

5. Hand records were available for any player who wanted one, plus the hand record can be seen on both the ACBL Club Result website and on the Common Game website. (If you go the ACBL website, I had to put in a fake results file from this past Sunday’s pair game, so players should simply ignore all of those contracts and results – it is there solely to see the hand record for each board.) Additionally, if I had not run into the major delays before Round 3, I had a hand record just of Boards 1-12 to hand one copy to each team while we determined the Match 3 assignments, but I never got around to handing them out.

We will have plenty of complaints from many of our players, especially the ones who hate change.  But there were some positive comments from other players and hope to be able to run a similar game in mid-July.  Time will tell if I am allowed to do so.

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