Tournament plans you can use, from people who enjoy the art and science of tournament design.
Balanced Double, Triple, and Quadruple Elimination Tournaments
Bracket Diagrams for Different Numbers of Players and Eliminations
by Joe Czapski
Viewing the Tournament Brackets If You Don't Own Excel
The tournament brackets are XLS files. If you don't own Excel, download and install the free Excel Viewer, preferably a version released in 2008 or later. Go to www.microsoft.com and search for 'excel viewer download'.
Balanced Elimination Tournament Design
In the basic double and triple elimination formats that I've seen, there is a problem where the single player who comes out of the top (winner's) bracket does not play until a single opponent comes out of the bottom (loser's) bracket or brackets. With 8 players, the no-losses player skips 2 rounds of play in the double elimination tournament and 5 to 6 rounds of play in the triple elimination. Therefore, a player who loses his first one or two games must play several more games to get to the championship than the player who wins his first few games, and spectators are deprived of getting to see possibly the best player participate in the tournament as much as his opponents.
In an attempt to improve the situation with multiple-elimination tournaments, I designed these 'balanced' tournaments with these ideas:
Correctness of the Tournament Bracket Diagrams
I've checked the diagrams for accuracy and playability, and on the triple and quadruple elimination diagrams I've run computer simulations. However, errors may remain. Before using one of these bracket diagrams for your tournament, you should run through it a few times on paper, flipping a coin for the result of each game. And you can run through it making a specific player always win or always lose. Please contact me if you find an error.
Last updated: 12 Jan 2017
About this Webpage
Since I put up this webpage in 2007, I've received a few dozen e-mails from people in several different countries who are using these tournament designs and from people interested in the design of tournaments. The formats have been used for billiards, backgammon, baseball, volleyball, table tennis, pinewood derby, RPG, and rock climbing tournaments. Some e-mails were critical and some had helpful suggestions.
From correspondance I've received, I see how important it is to tournament organizers to have formats accomdating any odd or even number of participants, depending on how many sign up ahead of time, or how many show up on the day of the tournament. I've posted brackets for every number of starting players from 3 to 20.
The brackets were originally PDF documents with a compact arrangement. Users requested Excel documents with the brackets spaced to allow player names to be typed in as the tournament progresses, so I replaced them with Excel versions. Another advantage of using Excel is that a user can change column width and text font and can print to fit any paper size or tiled sheets.
In the original tournament designs posted here, in the triple elimination designs, the last 2 or 3 rounds were made double elimination in order to simplify and shorten the brackets. In the double elimination designs, the final game was single elimination. This practice was criticized, I agreed with the criticism, and the designs now posted are purely double, triple, or quadruple elimination throughout.
I've received some criticism that, in certain situations in a late round of certain brackets, it is advantageous to lose a game in order to skip ahead to a later round. However, I believe that in practice it is never an advantage to lose a game in these kinds of elimination tournaments.
Boardgames are challenging to design a tournament for because there are up to six players per game and there are often ties for finishing order. I've developed an elimination design for boardgames that play well with 5, 4, or 3 players. And I've written a program that you can use as a tool to help run the tournament.
Elimination Tournaments Requiring a Fixed Number of Wins
by Matthew Fayers
Read the paper: Fayers, M. "Multiple-elimination knockout tournaments with the fixed-win property" Discrete Mathematics 290 (2005) 89-97.
Improving the Double Elimination Tournament
by Jeff Soo
Visit the webpage: An Improved Double-Elimination Draw. Includes bracket diagrams.
Designing a Tournament
by Tony Bowes
Read the articles: Designing a Tournament and A Grading System for Comparing Tournament Structures