Richard Bucker

Tournament Scheduling

Posted at — Nov 28, 2019

This weekend was yet another tournament weekend when my kids were tortured by the organizers. The first game was at 11am and the second game was at 7:30p. I suppose in some circles this is typical but as someone who has played 4-season sports since I was 8 I have no recollection of any scheduling snafu like this. In fact there was one other team that finished after us and had the first game the following morning.

I have not started to look for tournament software yet as I have no criteria to make the selection and so I’m developing some ideas here. Also, I do not run any tournaments. So what’s the point? I’m remembering a project I worked on a long time ago and also something Bill Gates said in an interview for the movie Inside the mind of Bill Gates.

Some glossary terms that might give this context:

Organizer - the name of the entity that is running the tournament

Venues - the location(s) where the games are to be played

venue stickiness - all games played here

same venue interval - the min/max amount of time between games at the same venue

remote venue interval - the min/max amount of time between games at different venue

fields - the field assigned to which venue, size or bracket appropriateness

field stickiness - all games played here

teams - the age, level, name, etc for a team

teams stickiness - all games played here

brackets - overlapping attributes with the teams without the name and defines how the brackets are distributed

bracket stickiness - all games played here

bracket rules - TBD

This is some crazy stuff. I think a lot of it can be modeled out. For example if you have two brackets and you force them to alternate then you can force the interval to be at least one game. Well, the last time I worked a problem like this I tried to make a schedule with all sorts of decisions in the software… getting the right players to the right fields and so on. After spending a few weeks on the problem I realized there was a new plan… Just layout the tournament with arbitrary values and then stick the teams in later. Frankly the bracketing rules can be just as complicated as the scheduling rules.

more later.