World Championship Play-Off Format Proposal

World Championship Play-Off Format Proposal

Postby Detuned » Sun Dec 02, 2018 11:15 pm

I really don't know whether this is the best place to post amongst all the other tumble-weed, but I hope that future Championship organisers might take some note.

It is with a certain amount of personal satisfaction that I have seen the play-off format originally devised for the 2014 world championships being reproduced somewhat faithfully in each of the years since, (2017 aside, there being no play offs this year).

The format works as follows. Following the preliminary rounds, the points difference between 1st and 10th place is used to proportional divide 10 minutes up to stagger the top 10 play-off qualifiers. There are then 3 rounds: firstly [10,9,8,7] with winner B inheriting the 7th place time; secondly [B,6,5,4] with winner A inheriting the 4th place time; and finally [A,3,2,1] fighting out for the medals.

This is fine in theory, however more or less hasn't provided much of a spectacle. What usually happens is B gets a bit of excitement, but more or less doesn't really get any further chance to challenge for a place in the final. The rationalisation is that this maintains fair reward for those who have done well during the preliminary rounds of the championship, whilst still giving everyone in the top 10 a faint whiff of the title. I think the main trouble with this so far in practice has been that there is simply too far wide a divide between 1st place and 10th place in the preliminaries.

I would like to propose the following modification to the format:

We have two semi-finals: [3,5,8,10] with winner A and [4,6,7,9] with winner B. The final is then fought out by [A,B,2,1]. There is a slight ambiguity about what time A and B should inherit for the final (perhaps 3rd place and 4th place?) - however I believe this ensures the format has 3 more meaningful sessions of puzzle solving. It should also add a bit more spice to the preliminaries as making the top 2 seeds now carries a big advantage - whereas the top 3 seeds could all sit a bit easier before.
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