Julius Cäsar, Wikimedia Commons
The Keizer-System for Club Tournaments
The Problem with Club Tournaments
Most chess club tournaments of rapid or classical chess are organized so that the rounds are played on the normal club evenings, one game a week or every two weeks or the like. Usually the swiss system is used or full round robin.
With both systems, it is very annoying when players are lacking at the planned tournament dates. And this happens all the time. Because people are sick or aunt Mary celebrates her 70th birthday or ... life.
Players which are there have no opponent when their planned opponent does not appear. That is very annoying.
And in the swiss system, for example, rounds can only be drawn when the previous rond is finished or they are drawn under assumptions because results are still missing. In full round robin tournaments you often get skewed tables because some participants play little. At some point they are zeroed, but that doesn't make it any better. Or catch-up games must be organized.
The Solution: The Keizer System
But there is an alternative. It is different and a bit unusual, but it has been practiced successfully for a long time - the Keizer system. The key feature of the Keizer system is that not all players need to be present for all rounds and the players who are there get to play.
The Keizer system is not very well known, and there are few examples or explanations on the Internet. These are often provided with dauntingly complex calculations, so beforehand: it is simple! Easy to use and very practical for club operations. The calculations are indeed difficult - but a software - KeizerForClubs - does that for us.
Just download the latest Keizer_....zip, extract it and run KeizerForClubs.exe.
Any problems or questions? Ask me, I'm the maintainer of the software.
How does the Keizer system work roughly?
- The drawing of pairings takes place directly before the start of the round based on the players presence. Who is here - plays.
- Each player has a rating score (Keizer points), which determines the table rank of the player.
- You play against players with similar standings.
- A win or draw increases your own score.
- Absent players also get points, just not as much.
- There may be several games between the same players (optional).
ad 1: you just come and play; no prior coordination between participants is required! No catch-up games are needed. There are no disappointments because of absent opponents.
ad 2: it takes some getting used to, because the Keizer points are not easy to calculate manually - but the software does the calculation. However: usual points + buchholz are maybe easier to undertand, but therefore by far not fairer!
ad 3: This means games 2000 against 1400, attribute result is clear and game is boring for both sides occur much less than e.g. in full round robin.
ad 5: this is a clever detail, because occasional absence does not throw you out of the race. You can perhaps think of it as an "absence draw", only the point gain is less than a real, played draw. There are different bonuses, which can be adjusted flexibly.
Dropouts are also handled better; some unpleasant scenarios as in the Swiss system ("I am missing half a Buchholz point because x did not compete after 2 rounds") or round robin tournaments ("x won against me, he did not come against y and z") do not occur so strongly here.
Players can easily join later; no rework like "add/remove free lots" or "rework pairings for past rounds" is necessary.
The drawing of pairings is done by the software. But it could be done manually if needed (e.g. because there is no laptop in the club room). The current standings on paper are sufficient. The standings are calculated by the software after the previous round is finished.
If you are in an chess club, you should try the Keizer system for your next club tournament.