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Simple Swiss Pairs for a club

by David Stevenson


The following question was asked:

Can you tell me how European Swiss Pairs look like in a small club format? I like to experiment in my club and if you feel this type of game could be organized here without importing directors and scorers, tell me where I can find enough detailed information to be able avoid a fiasco.


This was my reply:

Let us take it one step at a time. Suppose you want to run a small Swiss Pairs in a club: maximum six tables, unless you have experience. I know John Probst has run a bigger one, but he has lots of experience of Swiss Pairs.

Best is to produce boards in advance. Suppose you are going to play one evening, four six-board matches. You can put six boards to share round three tables, so you need a set of boards prepared for each three tables. For six tables, two sets of boards. Put boards out, 1/2 on table 1, 3/4 on table 2, 5/6 on table 3, 1/2 on table 4, 3/4 on table 5, 5/6 on table 6.

Place the pairs at the various tables: there is no need to draw in a club event, so if they wish to choose their first opponents, fine. Use your normal scoring arrangements [pickup slips or travellers] and everyone plays boards one to six. As they play each board, they pass it down one table [table one passes to table six].

After the round ends move East-West up one table. Take in all the boards, and put out boards 7 to 12, 7/8 on table 1, 9/10 on table 2, 11/12 on table 3, 7/8 on table 4, 9/10 on table 5, 11/12 on table 6. Start them playing boards 7 to 12.While they are doing this, you score the first round using your normal pairs scoring method. Produce a ranking list, and then you allocate the first pair versus the second pair at table 1 in round three, the third pair versus the fourth at table 2, the fifth pair versus the sixth at table 3 and so on.

You now play the third round with boards 13 to 18. While it is going on, you score the second round. Don't forget to add the first round scores! You can then assign the fourth round. Oh, one other point: pairs should not play each other twice so you should check for this. Probably best is to use whatever stationery you use for Swiss Teams and adapt it.

While the fourth round [boards 19 to 24] is in process you score the third round, adding the scores from the first two rounds, and finally you score the fourth round at the end, and add the scores from the first three rounds. Now you have run a "One-match-in-arrears" Swiss Pairs: well done!

In England/Wales the pairs receive master points for each match they win or draw, which adds to the attraction. Even if this is not possible, you will find people enjoy this form of scoring.

A final snag: you really need a standby pair: sitting out for six boards will really turn people off, so you need an even number of pairs.

Is this all to Swiss Pairs? By no means, but I shall do this by instalments: more articles will follow.


Gopher Editor's note:

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