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Return To Flighted KO's

I have played less and less bridge over the past 15-20 years, but I'm surprised that I haven't seen a serious discussion of a very simple KO concept.


A bit of history.  Go back 30 years or so.  There were Flighted KO's.  Flight A might be zero to infinity, Flight B maybe 0-1000, give or take a bit.  Remember, they only handed out monsterpoints like candy in those days, not like water they way they do today.  There would be as many sessions as needed.  There might also be a morning KO, which could be open or flighted.  I remember as recently as about 1995 winning the Flight B knockout at the Alexndria VA July 4 regional, and I know it lasted 5 sessions.


I think that somewhere along the way, at the nationals in particular, they began bracketed KO's, usually a 5-session morning event except that the top flight was 16 teams, hence 4 sessions.


As KO's caught on, the bracketed format was adopted mainly to both regulate the number of sessions and to level the field somewhat.  Particularly in regard to the very top of the field.  Many tournament started having almost endless KO's, with a new one starting each day.  At the top end, there sometimes developed an imbalance.  If the first one began Tuesday, the Wednesday-Thursday KO would usually be much weaker than the Tuesday-Wednesday because the top teams would advance from Tuesday to Wednesday.

Swiss qualifying for knockout was actually quite popular a long time ago, but had faded by the time I began playing in 1982.

So let me advance now to what I think is a pretty simple format which I think could become quite popular and make everybody more or less happy.

Day 1 is a flighted Swiss.  There is no stratification.  At a nationals you might have 4 flights, with top levels of 1000, 2500, 7500, and infinity.  At a regional it might be only 3 fllights.  Sidebar - as a personal matter I think it's ridiculous to award gold points to 0-750 events.  Just as they raised the LM limit because of monsterpoint inflation, the upper limit required for Midas points should be raised.


Day 2 is a knockout with as many 4 team brackets as are appropriate, and random seeding.  I'm not going to dive into what to do if you get fewer than 5 teams right now.  A normal KO cuts the field by 75% the first day.  So if you got, say, 45 teams, you could reasonably have 3 4-team brackets.  Of course, players are likely to want the maximum chance to advance, and normally surviving two sessions gets you Au points, so we have to have something to prevent 44 teams advancing.


I think this combines the best of multiple worlds.  Flighted events allow players to play in a field with their peers, or to play up if they desire.  The length of the event is regulated.  No one is forced into a field beyond their ken, unless they have so many monsterponits that they really belong there.  (If your team totals 30,000 points and you say "Oh goodness no, we don't want to play against EXPERTS" then maybe you should remember just how worthless monsterpoints have become!)


I'll leave the masterpoint charts to other Wise Men and Women.  Obviously all the low-flight players will want awards of 30 points, 100% gold, for winning a very weak event.  My cynical attitude toward points is evident by now.


Note that this format will work equally well with a one-session qualifying for a 3-session knockout, but I think the whole problem has arisen from players not wanting to enter what will be a one-session event for them.

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