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“I suggested to the BW team that it might be useful for someone from the seeding committee to answer questions here to help everyone better understand our seeding methods and the rationale behind them. I will now take questions from the community in an effort to make the process more open and understandable. Hopefully other members of the seeding committee will have time to jump in and help.”

A.T.,

During the Vandy in KC, people were complaining both here and on Facebook about the seeding. I thought it would be useful to answer questions to explain how the process works, recent changes, expected future changes, and anything else people may be interested in. I'm not surprised that many people here want to argue for their favorite way of running and seeding the VS, but I would be shocked if anyone on the seeding committee proposed such a drastic change as allowing teams to select opponents.
March 28, 2017
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Thanks to everyone for the helpful questions and comments, and thanks also to those whose comments and questions weren't particularly helpful. Spring break starts in 4 minutes, so no more BW for a while, time to chill with the kids. If you have any more great ideas, talk to David Berkowitz.
March 24, 2017
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Michael,

True Dat
March 24, 2017
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I don't think Geoff is suggesting the 0.5 SPs for winning the round of 64 match should be dropped, but that there should not be a bonus in addition depending on the team you beat.
March 24, 2017
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Jan,

It would be even nicer if the seeding committee had access to this information at times other than the 2 hours spent actual seeding the event (when looking over Matt Smith's shoulder).
March 24, 2017
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David,

I understood your point, I was just trying fold it into our greater seeding discussion. If the WBF included national championships (and other relevant events) from all of it's member countries in some kind of Master point system, then seeding the Vanderbilt would be much easier. Setting up a system that was equitable and rated events by how strong they were would be difficult, but it would make my job on the SC easier.
March 24, 2017
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why is it fair to a top seed to face such a strong team in such an early round?

David,

I agree with this. At one time, teams were posted in groups on a wall before shuffling within groups. If I saw that my team would be, for example, in the 5-8 shuffle, I would look at the teams that we might face in the round of 64. There were always 1 or 2 teams I would be delighted to face and 1 or 2 that were “landmines”

However, no matter what objective criteria are used, this problem will exist. Allowing teams at the top to choose their opponents can solve this problem, but some might argue that being a top seed carries enough advantages already.
March 24, 2017
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David,

I won't claim that the USBF is as tough as the European championships, but it isn't an easy event to win (for me anyway). It also pays very little in WBF land. Do you think the Vanderbilt, Spingold, and Reisinger should also pay WBF points?
March 24, 2017
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Marion,

The WBF system of counting mixed events as Open for men and Women for women is crazy. Since the ACBL currently doesn't count any mixed events (or pair events) from the NABCs in the seeding formula, some members of the SC think we shouldn't count any World mixed events or even any pair events either.

My view is using WBF data makes assigning SPs to foreign players less subjective. Everyone gets the higher of ACBL SPs and WBF SPs. (explained in original article).

The SC has discussed what do about the problem of women not getting open SPs for mixed events. The simple solution is for us to treat men and women the same as far as mixed events, but what about women's events (or senior and junior events?)

The way the process currently works is that the ACBL links everyone's ACBL player number to their WBF number. If the WBF data isn't accurate, then the SC and DIC need to research each individual player and correct their SPs. If the deadline for registering was changed to something like 2 days before the event starts, this would be much easier. Then, when everyone sees their SPs, anyone who thinks there is an inaccuracy could contact the SC to investigate.

Another possibility which has been raised is for the SC to have an email address (bitchaboutyourseeding@seeding.com)for players who plan to play in the VS but are concerned they will not be seeded properly. For example, a foreign pair with no international record comes to the US for the first time to play in the Spingold. Even if we don't change the registration deadline, people make travel arrangements well in advance. This pair could email the SC and list their accomplishments: number 12 & 15 on country x lifetime MP list, won their national championships 4 times in 10 years, etc. Then the SC could assign virtual MPs.

I hope this answers your questions, but I think the bottom line is that you and Meike will be underseeded until you have a deep run or 2 in a VSR. I know that sux for your team as well as the teams you face.
March 24, 2017
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Dave,

Virtual SPs were designed to decay, not to don't disappear. The reason they disappeared is that the Seeding Committee decided this was not the best method to seed foreign players, so did away with this method.
March 24, 2017
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Hi Marion,

I'm surprised no one asked or commented about this earlier. In the past, the Seeding Committee (SC) and Director in Charge (DIC) would solicit opinions about foreign players who did not have an ACBL record on which to be seeded. Pepsi and a few others did a great job of helping.

It would be nice if the SC had a large database of results/master points from every country to convert into SPs. Incidentally, there is a formula for converting ABA MPs into ACBL MPs. Since this is not the case, the SC and DIC would assign 2 numbers to each player, Virtual Seeding Points and Virtual Masterpoints. The VMPs do not decay. I believe they are added to future ACBL MPs. The VSPs decay at 10% of the original number each year.

There were lots of problems with this. These Virtual Points were very subjective and often mind boggling. There were cases of Junior players (who were considered the next Meck) who were given 25 or 30 SPs even though they had no actual track record, just the reputation of being a great player.

Currently, the SC is doing away with VSPs, but keeping VMPs (David Berkowitz can correct me if this is not accurate). So players, like yourself, who were given VSPs now don't have them anymore.
March 24, 2017
Brian Platnick edited this comment March 24, 2017
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Sathya,

You know the players on the NRK team better than I do. Can you list what they have won outside of ACBL events. One thing the seeding committee (and director in charge) does is give players Virtual Master points as I described in the initial article. My recollection is that I looked at their WBF records and their was not much there.
March 23, 2017
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Max,

I came on BW to answer questions about seeding in general and specifically about Kansas City since I assumed people had questions that weren't being answered. I appreciate the excellent questions and comments from you and many others. However, for all of the complaining about seeding in general, can you imagine what would happen if we threw objectivity out the window and just tried to subjectively seed the teams based on the perceptions of the seeding committee (or whoever does the seeding). The public uproar would be deafening. Some of the potential complaints:

- wealthy sponsors get better seeds
- Americans get better seeds
- country X always gets screwed
- It's a popularity contest
- Max just won the —– yet is seeding behind Team Z
- The committee is biased against/for women, seniors, juniors,

There have been many great suggestions about ways to better seed the VS. People disagree on which criteria are better and how many years of data to use and how complicated to make the seeding methodology, etc. I'm not sure if there have been any suggestions that haven't already been raised on the seeding committee, but I have no doubt that this thread will encourage some members of the committee to bring up previous ideas for a new vote.

However, throwing out objective criteria and seeding based on opinion/reputation will be a disaster.
March 23, 2017
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David,

I clearly said I would prefer to be the 54 seed than the 64 seed. Basically for the reasons you give. I was just answering the question of what does the 64 seed get for beating the top seed. The answer is they are now the top seed.

If the same top seeds keep getting upset, they will not be top seeds for long. If teams remain at the top, given how tough the bracket is overall, there is a reason for that.
March 23, 2017
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Sathya,

Please reread what I wrote. I said that I am certainly in favor of using platinum points. So why did you write that I have a problem with using platinum points.
March 23, 2017
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Tim,

Your comments seem to indicate you did not read what I wrote.
March 23, 2017
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Here are some of the complaints I keep hearing:

(1) It's not fair that we beat the top seed in the round of 64, but didn't get anything for it.

Beating the top seed in the round of 64 means that you are now the top seed for the rest of the event. Your reward for beating a high seed is the take over that seed. You next play the #32 seed (if they won) then the #16 seed. Let's say for this victory, you get bumped up 10 spots for the next tourney and are the #54 seed. In the first round, you get an easier draw (#11) but if you win, then you get #22 followed by #6.

Of course I would prefer to be seeded #54 than #64, but the point is that it's never easy.

(2) The seeding system is unfair, the top 16 seeds have it too easy; it's very difficult to unseat them from their high spots.

(3) There are so many upsets that the seeding system is obviously broken.

So taking (2) and (3) together, there are so many upsets that the system is broken yet the top seeds seem to be the top seeds year after year. I will have to plead the Chewbacca defense - this just doesn't make sense.

(4) It isn't easy earning more seeding points.

Since we capped the WBF PPs, we have about 200 of Bob Hamman's seeding points that he can no longer use. The seeding committee is selling them for $500 each.
March 23, 2017
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Phil,

There has been a suggestion that to seed the VS fairly, just have all the team captains seed the event. If I think my team will be a top seed, I can do things like rank Nickel or Lavazza last to better my chances of being the top seed.

If I feel like I will be near the bottom of the draw, I can rank teams higher based on who I prefer to play to hopefully avoid drawing Lavazza or Nickel in the first round.
March 23, 2017
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4-Have each team choose its opponent


What if the team I choose to play chooses someone else?
March 23, 2017
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Han,

Using platinum points as the sole basis for seeding the VS is objective and fair, but has other problems. What about great foreign players who come to a NABC for the first time? What about very good ACBL players who win lots of non-platinum point events, but due to work schedules or whatever, don't often attend NABCs? While ACBL masterpoints aren't a great measure of skill, there is typically a big difference between those with 10,000 and those with a few hundred.

I am certainly in favor of using Platninum points in addition to master points. My formula would be something like:

1 point for becoming a life master (not a big deal, but wtf)

up to 4 SPs for masterpoints (one for every 2,500)
+ 1 SP for becoming a Grand LM

up to 5 SPs for platinum points (one for every 600)
March 23, 2017
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