WC 2010 - Random thoughts

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Re: WC 2010 - Random thoughts

Postby alkis21 » Tue Nov 02, 2010 5:42 pm

Interesting...
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Re: WC 2010 - Random thoughts

Postby dnielsen » Tue Nov 02, 2010 7:44 pm

Kostas O wrote:Since my last post didn't get much attention i can go on without worrying that someone might listen :D
I know how a proposal for change will be accepted so i am gonna offend you in advance so that you will not deny it without even considering :)
The thing that's been bugging me for me for a couple of years now since i attended my only WC is the lack of balance in day 2 for the top 16 players. I bet they all have a good time but some feel like the elite is out of their league so they tone it down feeling that they have reached their top and have very little to expect from day 2. Some might even make sure that they don't get in that situation and choose a more interesting day in the silver cup. If we check the seedings and the final standings in the last few WCs we will see that it is realistic to sort people in 3 categories like we do but... First group should be people that would aim to get in the the quarter finals (anything goes from there), second group the silver cup people plus the ones that can get in the top 16 but i think would be happier in a more competitive group and last but not least the bronze cup. What i'm saying is that a change in the format would feel more balanced (pun not intended). Qualifying 3 people from each group in day 1 would make 2 fantastic groups of 6 for the top league. From there i think that the obvious choice of quarter-finals, semi-finals and final wouldn't be best if we see what kind of players the KOA has. I think the first 2 should qualify for the semis and the rest have the usual 8-way. We all know that 2 or 3 maybe 4 will really compete for the gold and the rest will happily have really good fights with players at their level. I also think that this way we can also save someone (like Alkis this year) from having a perfect tournament and be not make it to the semis because someone else (like Gianni this year) screwed up his group phase. We will also gain in competition in the silver cup. This format would have the top-4 play 9 matches, 3 less than with the current format but one more different opponent. The less matches shouldn't be a problem since these are high profile matches on the spotlight and of course since this number was very usual in the past until Athens '08 when this format was established as the standard. The bronze cup could be the exact mirror of the top-12 and the silver cup depending on the number of players could be like 2 big groups like it was in Athens with one on one clashes for the final positioning.

Thank you very much for reading till the end and keeping an open mind.


There is one element I quite like in your proposal, and that is to have 2 groups (of 8 or 6) instead of 4 groups (of 4) in the top league on day two.

I don't think it solves anything to go directly to the semifinals, however. In a model with two groups and the results as in Dusseldorf, Alkis (finishing 1st) could still end up in a group including me (finishing 1st) and Gianni (finishing 2nd) and then presumably miss the semifinals even though he won all other matches than those against Gianni and me.

In general, any two halves will often not be equally strong in terms of top-players, so it's risky to go directly to semi-finals. The quarter-final step does help to reduce the "luck factor" or "risk of one bad result ruining everything factor".

Even better, by including quarterfinals and using two groups instead of 4, you can get a better sorting by results than by using 4 groups before the quarters. Number 1 from group A meets 4 from group B, and 2 and 3 meet. The difference here is that players are ranked 1-4 rather than just 1-2 before the quarter-finals, so there is more information in the system. To put it informally, players would more likely get the opponent they "deserve" in the quarters by virtue of their rank 1 to 4 after the two groups are played out.

You could also look at it like this: Due to the odd slip here and there, there may not be a lot to differentiate a rank 1 and a rank 2 player in a 2-rank system (like Gianni and me this year), but there will usually be quite a lot to differentiate a rank 1 and a rank 4 player in a 4-rank system. While if you are ranked 2, you get a rank 3 in the quarter. You likely get what you deserve. If you finish 3rd, there is nothing to complain about if you meet Gianni (finishing 2nd) in the quarter. You had a chance to get rank 1 or 2 in a group NOT including Gianni, and, when you failed, you now get a second chance to prove yourself anyway (but it's usually tougher now, since you "only" finished 3rd or maybe even 4th).

PS. It's also more fun to play 7 different players than 3 different players in the group phase on day 2.
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Re: WC 2010 - Random thoughts

Postby Kostas O » Tue Nov 02, 2010 8:25 pm

You will potentially play against 7 as opposed to 6 now.
I don't disagree about the quarter finals. it really feels and probably is better this way, I just proposed it differently because at all WCs 4 is probably the biggest number of serious contenders for the gold. The rest will have a great time competing for 5-12.
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Re: WC 2010 - Random thoughts

Postby Kostas O » Tue Nov 02, 2010 8:50 pm

Now I got what you are saying. Top 16 with 2 groups feels and probably is better than now for top players but it doesn't eliminate the "problem" that got me thinking in the first place. And I really feel like we are missing on some great players' performance on day 2.
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Re: WC 2010 - Random thoughts

Postby alkis21 » Tue Nov 02, 2010 9:48 pm

I hope that this year's hiccup did not give people the false impression that the system is broken and in need of fixing.

What happened this year, well I can't be bothered to calculate the odds but they are astronomical. Let us say that Gianni, Dagh and I were the main contenders for the medals. It happened so that not only two of the contenders fall in the same Round 2 group, but also that one of them had to play the third one in the quarter final. This was sheer bad luck for me but hardly a result of a faulty format; nothing similar has ever happened before. Check the previous world cups that followed the Round 2 group format and you will find that although there were many occurrences of people like Gianni, me, Gianluca finishing second or even third such a situation never happened. In fact, I do believe that the second groups stage leads to a very accurate top 8, and that is why I brought it back in the Athens world cup.

That said, I'm not totally against a change. But my main reluctance regarding the proposed ideas are these: With Kostas' proposal, we give up the quarter finals. The QFs are something of a given that we had in all 10 world cups, no matter what the format was and I'd hate to see them go. The people who get there get a special mention in the WC web page and it is considered a notable achievement. With Dagh's proposal, in my opinion we'll be much more susceptible to Round 1 hiccups than we are now. All you need is one favorite to slip and you can have two very uneven groups. Let's take this year for instance, the top seeds were Gianni, Dagh, Alkis and John. Let's say that if everything went according to plan, we'd have Gianni & John in one group and Alkis & Dagh in the other. After Gianni's failure to finish 1st, we could have ended up with Gianni, Alkis and Dagh all in one of the two Round 2 groups. I bet Robert would be in it.
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Re: WC 2010 - Random thoughts

Postby dnielsen » Tue Nov 02, 2010 10:49 pm

Here's another tournament system idea given as food for thought.

The idea is to use a Swiss-system on day 1. This system is often used in open tournaments where there is a big disparity between the strongest and weakest players. For instance, in chess, you could have world class players play in the same group/tournament as 7-year old beginners.

Basic description:

1) Players all play in one big group.

2) One round is played at a time.

3) Players accumulate points (and goal scores) from every round.

4) After a round, the next round pairing uses the principle of players in the top playing each other, while players at the bottom play each other. Number 1 plays number 2, number 3 plays number 4, etc.

5) However, no two players will play each other twice. So, for instance, if number 1 has already played number 2, then he is paired with number 3 instead, or if already having played number 3, with number 4, etc.

6) After a set number of rounds, say, 12, the tournament is over.

7) For the first round, either a seeding or a random draw can decide the pairings.

Then all players would be ranked 1-45 or whatever after these 10-12 rounds, and we could split up into gold, silver and bronze group for day two with assorted seeding based on placement.

The motivation for this idea is that, from various perspectives, there are a bit too many games on day one with little point. The disparity in level is maybe a bit too big in too many games. Instead, with this system, you would play the vast majority of games against people who have performed just as well as you so far, that is, at about your own level. [Please note: We are probably all more than happy to play games against anybody, but in a tournament setting, it is usually more interesting to battle it out against those who are at the same current overall position as you than against people far ahead or behind of you.]

One fun thing in this system is that after each round, you can say exactly how well you are placed, and you can compare to others and have friendly banter or cheering up.

Another fun thing is that:

1) A top player would play, say, 9/12 games against the, say, top 16 performers.
2) Equally so for a bottom player, he would play the vast majority of games against players at his own level, striving to reach the silver group.
3) While players in the middle would play against other players in the middle, with every game being a case of do (or die a little).

A third advantage may be that it is not only a couple of games that "decide" your result on day one (where you, say, lose to the top, beat the bottom, and only really battle for placement in 2-3 games against close-to-equal opponents). Instead, you have most of your games against players performing equally well to you so far, so you can definitely say afterwards that you deserved your final spot as a result of many close games rather than just 2-3 games.

The major obstacle in this system is that every round has to be completed before the next round is played. One model would be that rounds are played at a 30 minute interval, with games of a round divided in two. This would require that there was 1 amiga for every 4 participants. Then there would be 6 hours of required attendance in a 12 round mode, or 5 hours in a 10 round mode (with allowances for 10-15 min breaks and maybe a lunch break).

I don't know if this is practically realizable, but it's worth a thought anyway, with all the pros and contras.

More info about Swiss-pairing systems can be read here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swiss-system_tournament
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Re: WC 2010 - Random thoughts

Postby Kostas O » Wed Nov 03, 2010 9:03 am

This would be a great idea if we could test it somehow to see how it works. If we were FIFA we would try it at the under-19 WC. I really love the main idea of playing against people who are performing similar to you but it would very difficult to even make people consider it.

If there is a mix up in day one like this year, things will go crazy no matter what the format. I think though that a group of 6 would give a consistent player like Alkis a better chance to be in the semi than a knock out round against one of the 2 finalists even they both in his group and only 2 qualify.
The difference between group 1 and 2 in the seedings is much bigger than this of 2 and 3 that's why i believe quarter finals are something we can sacrifice to get more interest in the final positioning matches for places 5-8. With the current format people there are losers of the quarter finals who feel the tournament is over for them before playing the last 4 matches of the day. I strongly believe that the incentive for those people will be much bigger and we can build a good hype for these matches and 5th place will feel like 1st. I know it's weird if you think it generally but we are talking about a specific group of people with certain attributes. What is odd for others could work us.
With the top-12 system i also believe that the silver cup will be much more interesting.
In general with the current format we have a lot of people playing too much on too few matches and half of them lose interest after that.
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Re: WC 2010 - Random thoughts

Postby dnielsen » Wed Nov 03, 2010 4:57 pm

alkis21 wrote:With Dagh's proposal, in my opinion we'll be much more susceptible to Round 1 hiccups than we are now. All you need is one favorite to slip and you can have two very uneven groups. Let's take this year for instance, the top seeds were Gianni, Dagh, Alkis and John. Let's say that if everything went according to plan, we'd have Gianni & John in one group and Alkis & Dagh in the other. After Gianni's failure to finish 1st, we could have ended up with Gianni, Alkis and Dagh all in one of the two Round 2 groups. I bet Robert would be in it.


But this detail is no different than how it was this year in terms of the 3 presumably strongest players being in the same half of the last 16.

We had two groups of 4:

Gianni
Dagh
Robert
Garry

Alkis
John
Oliver
Frederic

And we were in the same half.

I think Robert would have preferred to have been instead in one group of 8:

Gianni
Dagh
Alkis
John
Oliver
Robert
Frederic
Garry

Then there would have been a real chance for Robert to prove himself compared to, say, John and Oliver also fighting for the 4th quarter final spot.

The general thing is that whenever you cut a group in two halves (here, a group of 8 into two of 4), you introduce luck because the strength composition of the groups will not be the same. It would be more "fair" if the players got a chance to compete against all contenders.

The biggest randomness is in some sense introduced already when the first draw is made on day one and we are split into 4 groups. The issue is that when we then carry on with also 4 groups on day two, this randomness is inherited with only small chances to "correct" it by letting, say, Robert batte it out with John and Oliver.

If we instead have 2 groups of 8 on day two, there is a much better chance to "correct" things by giving everybody a more equal fighting chance.

Note that even if the 3 presumably best players end up in the same group of 8, things would look overall more fair once we get to the quarter finals, since people's rank 1-4 (that they "deserve") will go a long way to decide how strong will be their opponent from the other group.

That you risk having the 3 strongest in the same half at all is a consequence of the split into 4 groups on day 1. The issue is how to correct it.

Of course, the most fair would be to have one group of 16 on day two and then have quarters of 1-8, 2-7, 3-6, 4-5. But this is impractical and introduces some redundancy.

But we can make two groups of 8 and essentially have the same number of games as now and then quarters of 1-4, 2-3, 3-2, 4-1. This is slightly more random, but it goes a long way to introduce more "info" into the system after the draw on day 1 because people are ranked 1-4 for the quarter pairing, and we now only have two groups on day two (rather than the 4 groups on day 1).

When we, as now, split into 4 groups (of 4) on day 2 and have quarters of 1-2, 2-1, 1-2, 2-1, things are more random, and little correction is made.

And if we went all the way to 8 groups of 2 (that is, a cup stage), we would have quarters of 1-1, 1-1, 1-1, 1-1, and we would have the biggest randomness, with no correction made at all to the initial randomness.

In general, bigger groups mean less randomness (or more fairness) because you let people battle it out among each other, and you achieve a better ranking of the players before the next stage. While every cut in two increases the "luck factor".

With regard to Costas' idea to have the 4 strongest play it out for the title and let the rest have fun in a "secondary" gold group, I understand. But how to identify the 4 strongest? Quarter finals help with that, and two groups of 8 (or 6), allowing a 1-4 rank before the quarters, would also help with that.

Finally, all this is discussed with a view to how to reduce the "luck factor". People may find that luck is actually fun and give weaker players a better shot at going far. But please note that every time you, by randomness, make it easier for some guy to get far, you punish another guy even more than you rewarded the first guy.

For instance, a cup system with no initial seeding is very random. Here, it is more likely for weaker players to get far. But you also piss off all the people who have an unlucky draw early on, weak and strong players alike.
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Re: WC 2010 - Random thoughts

Postby Kostas O » Wed Nov 03, 2010 6:09 pm

@ Dagh
We see the matter from a totally different perspective and i agree about the "fairness" in the 2 groups. What do you think about what i say about the lower ranked players and how we can make it more interesting for them.

I can't get over the thing that, from top, down to the silver cup, we have 3 classes of players and we divide the 3rd putting the best of them in a day 2 in hell and have the 2nd in day 2 doing nothing but admiring the superiority of the 2 finalists.
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Re: WC 2010 - Random thoughts

Postby Tripod » Wed Nov 03, 2010 7:41 pm

Having been in the top 16 three times with the feeling I don't belong there and lots of defeats I sort of see your point, Kostas. Though at first I'd like to point out: It depends on who partakes at a WC. If we got all the top players ever into one tournament the top 16 might suddenly seem very small. Secondly, I personally don't mind an "easy" Sunday where I know I'll lose nearly every match, but then I'm a lazy sod. Thirdly, it's no different in real football. We currently play our top 16 just like the European Cup and some pretty weak nations seem to qualify every time. So all in all I think it's pretty good, which doesn't mean it couldn't be improved upon, of course. Two groups of eight sounds interesting. A smaller "gold group"? Maybe something to consider when the participants are known, though there could always be late entries or drop-outs.
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Re: WC 2010 - Random thoughts

Postby stox » Fri Nov 05, 2010 9:35 pm

I could not attend this and the previous world cup but please believe me that i have some expertize in managing WC situations tending to a complete and utter disaster (tm). :lol: That time I preferred to change to 1 leg format for games instead of leaving out the opportunity to not see the final games. Always you will have unsatisflied people either playing 1 leg or not seeing big screen games, so keep WC on schedule, its the only true trick!

Cologne and Rickmansworth were best for scheduling. I agree with Sasha saying that one man should always shout out loud in the microphone and remind the fixtures to keep them on schedule. Cologne worked out because we had available a lot of amiga and the world record of 594 games played in two days were maintained at schedule! Rickmansworth qualifies second with 492 games, near to schedule, with the help of people at the microphone. Fixed schedules are a disaster like day 1 first part, rome 2007... it is better to keep people free to play games, reminding fixtures.... this worked out to finish in time day 1, rome 2007! great medicine but again not too free else, again, you get anarchy and the mechanism may block.

I'm now going to make a strong statement but I'm convinced it's the simple truth: The only people to not keep free to choose schedule are the top16 becuase this is the true reason of the day2 delays. The delays are because of the previous games to the big screen. Always Amigas are reserved for the TOP16 but if you look at them they try always to not play simultaniously because they want to study the opponents and look at other games instead playing their own. The result are less Amiga for the other cups because reserved but unused for 5-6 minutes, and has as consequence big delays to the big screen games! In fact every game of the TOP16 starts with delays of 5 min avarage to the previous one, and one TOP16 round takes up the triple amount of time to accomplish. This is why Rodolfo, who plays the very same number of matches in silver cup as the TOP16, has to wait 3 hours before final!

The minumum number of Amiga is easy to calculate: 4 Amiga for TOP16, 4 Amiga for SILVER CUP, 3-5 Amiga (+spare) for BRONZE CUP and FRIENDLIES. For a WC you need 12-14 Amiga to start with, and this ONLY if all Amigas are used and not unused but reserved.

Conerning format: now its simply perfect (I agree here with Rob)! My personal opinion on 2 leg games and changing the format is to not change format and to keep 2 leg games. This has worked out now perfectly every time, the only problem is to keep the TOP16 players on schedule :roll:

And my personal wish for KO2 in future would be: the foxstox-auto-off-side-mode (FSAOSM), developed by Foxsoft and me as idea since Rome 2007, that is: computer controlled attacker (player number 9 or 10) are always forced and put in line with the last defender of the opponent beside used current tactics by position shift. The mode is disabled as soon as the player gains control. At least you will finally give a chance to defend the lobfrommidflield-cross-header-goal elite player technique for silver players, and make the game more fair... but this need again a kindly cambercompile of the code :oops:
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Missed WC 2011, 2010 and 2009: this should stop in future; WC 2008 placed 29th; WC2007 placed 15th (CO-ORGANIZER OF THE WORLDCUP); WC2006 placed 32th; WC2005 placed 24th
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Re: WC 2010 - Random thoughts

Postby hogstrom » Fri Nov 05, 2010 10:29 pm

I have no idea why the wcup got delayed on day 2, i cant remember i thought about something special. However, I belive Stox have a point when he suggest that 1-16 take their time. I know i have done that in the past.

From day 1 i remember i chased opponents from my group all in vain. I just had another beer instead.

From Cologne i recall that they had 3-4 amigas/group. Me, Jorn, Klaus L, Giacomo + one englishman and two germans had these 3-4 amigas closest to the door. I would like to remember that we were at that part of the room most of the time, Jorn correct me if im wrong. If someone left for long time, you would notice it.

Again, i have no idea about day 2, but day 1 i would say that Cologne setup was a success when group members could easily localate opposition player on their own.
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Re: WC 2010 - Random thoughts

Postby Semtex » Thu Nov 11, 2010 11:51 am

Rod, I think the reason they apologise is because they are genuinely sorry. Sorry for their own lack of skill, desire and imagination. They know it is their best opportunity to score. Imagine that! all the diverse and amazing goals possible but they've only ever mastered that...I'd be sorry. Sorry to go all that way just to score those kind of goals.

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