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Posted By: Barry Silliman
Date: Monday, 2 December 2013, at 7:55 p.m.

In Response To: Sandbagging (Daniel Murphy)

I won't and can't quantify the amount of sandbagging going on, but I can assure you that there is the perception of it among the rank and file.

Having been on the staff of two ABT events this year, I can state absolutely that charges of sandbagging were made at both events by players. In February, it was "Chen's a sandbagger". In November, it was "Chen's a sandbagger", "Scotty's a sandbagger", "Neal's a sandbagger". I even received complaints from a player that others have accused of sandbagging.

What I'm looking for here is simply a modicum of objectivity and professionalism, rather than the current system where Director A says "Chen can play in Advanced, I chouette with him and he makes mistakes", Director B says "No way Chen should play in Advanced", and Director C informs Chen after Chen drives 350 miles that he cannot play in Advanced, so Chen sits the weekend out except for a jackpot. (I'm not picking on Director C- Chen could have pre-registered).

Ken's system is based on results. Simple, and elegant. We can argue all day until we're blue in the face as to who the "best" player is, who plays the best PR (against whatever the fashionable bot of the day is, and then we can argue that this isn't valid because we aren't using variance-reduced results, and then we can argue until everybody's head explodes who doesn't have a PhD in math), but results are results, and the winner of the tournament, the one who actually did the best that weekend at reaching the designated match length quicker than his opposition, is the one who walks away with the biggest share of the prize pool. Anybody who thinks the ranking system will show who the "best" player is at any given moment is a damned fool.

Let's take an analogy from major league baseball. Chen's record in Advanced is 38-12. If a pitcher in AAA ball has a 38-12 record, he just might get called up to the big leagues. Maybe he'll stick in the big leagues. If so, awesome. If not, maybe he goes back to AAA for a little more seasoning before getting another shot. Maybe he'll flop in the big leagues. Same dealio with the bubble players- if the metric pushes them into Open, so be it- if they fail to perform there the metric will allow them back to Advanced soon enough if that's where they prefer to play.

As a tournament director, I would love to have an objective, results-based measurement that I could use to tell the complainers to stuff it. Also as a director, if there is anything that can eliminate even one complaint, I'm all for hearing about it- because believe me, no matter what you do, there will be complaints.

And there will be an objective, results-based measurement available. How do I know? Because I'm writing the necessary code as we speak in order to create the metrics that Ken has proposed. In my own spare time. So that Ken doesn't have to spend half an hour per person entering his data manually. So that the metric can be updated weekly or monthly or quarterly or whatever. (That is an implementation detail).

And anybody who wants to use this data can use it. Anybody who doesn't want to doesn't have to. Kind of like the new rules that Phil Simborg and Chuck Bower and Jeb Horton spent a lot of time working on. Nobody's forced to use them- people who like the rules are free to use it, and people who don't like the rules are free not to. The same applies to the ranking system.

P.S. I only use Chen as an example because he plays in my club so I can pick on him. He isn't the only Advanced player with lots of matches and a winning percentage considerably higher than almost all of the top Open players with a similar number of matches.

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