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Another Rule change Proposal/idea

Posted By: Phil Simborg
Date: Monday, 8 December 2014, at 4:43 p.m.

I have always wondered why backgammon tournaments are not seeded. In my former life competing in handball, racquetball and tennis tournaments, they were all seeded. The reasons were obvious...it is better for the fans to see the best players square off closer to the end of the event than in the beginning.

I agree with those who say that seeding events hurts the winning chances for the less-skilled players, but isn't that what is supposed to happen in games of skill? Aren't the better players "entitled" to be seeded?

Another argument against seeding has been that in our game, seeding can be subjective...we really don't have a completely accurate method to determine who is better, and it would largely be up to the TD.

I agree with that argument, however, if only the top 8 in a 64 player tournament were seeded, even if the TD was not completely accurate, it would probably be close enough so that 8 players who probably are amongst the very best in that tournament would not meet for a couple of rounds. And it would be pretty clear that the TD (or his seeding committee) would at least get the 4 top players in that group of 8....they just might be "wrong" on the last one or two they pick to be seeded.

Another argument for seeding is that it is an honor to be seeded and recognized for your skill and accomplishments and rankings.

Now, how should the seeding be determined? In my opinion it should be by the TD and his committee (if he chooses to have one, and he would be smart to so he doesn't take all the heat if someone feels they should have been seeded). I trust any experienced TD to decide who the top 8 players are, and it should not be by the Giant's ranking or ABT ranking or USBGF ranking...I trust the TD's more than those because we all know that those are not necessarily the best measure of skill.

One last argument against seeding that I have heard: if you make it tougher for lower-ranked players to win, it will hurt attendance.

Here again, I disagree. I don't think this appreciably reduces the chances for lower ranked players, but even if it does, what will eventually increase participation in tournament backgammon is by making the game more exciting and fun and popular and by attracting more players and sponsors. Having the better players win more, if seeding does this, and having a spotlight on the best players by seeding them, should increase interest in the tournaments and make for better PR. As much as I was thrilled to be in the finals last weekend against Odis, and while Odis and I are fine players, who doesn't believe the finals would have been much more exciting for all if the two best players, or two of the best players were in the finals (and that was clearly not me or Odis)?

So here are my final questions and recommendations:

1. Is there a rule against seeding in the ABT and in other organizations or can this be left up to the tournament director?

2. If there is no rule, I would encourage TD's to do this...only for the Open Division by the way...I think there is far too little information for the Intermediate and seeding intermediates only highlights people who some might feel shouldn't be playing there and that raises the chance for people to get upset.

I know I don't have to ask this, but I wonder if there are people on this forum who can offer their opinion on this matter without attacking me or anyone else personally for offering this suggestion or saying that I am only suggesting this for some personal gain.

(Sorry if I sound a little defensive but after years of posting on this forum, which is the best place in the world we have to share backgammon ideas with some of the best thinkers in this game, it is tiring to have to deal with the few jerks here that are only interested in attacking people and arguing against the person instead of ideas....it has stopped me from posting many thoughts and ideas, and I feel like I am taking a risk every time I do.)

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