Charlotte Scrabble Club
NASPA Club #668
Charlotte :: Myrtle Beach :: Gatlinburg
The Park :: Carolina Cup :: Alpharetta

Pairing Theory


In the southeastern United States, even moreso than in other regions, there is a prominent bell curve where ratings distribution is concerned. This makes it so that if you were to provide uniform cutoffs between 500 and 2000, people rated closer to the midpoint (1250) would be greater in number, and people at either end would be fewer and far between.

To counteract this, and due to the unpredictability of attendance, it becomes necessary to provide a lower and lower ratings cutoff to ensure that players at the far right end of the bell curve, those with higher ratings, are ensured a variety of competitors during their tournament experience. It is unfair for someone at the arbitrary cutoff at the "top" of division 2 to reap a reward when someone at the bottom of division 1 might be a more capable player, play a harder field, and not reap any reward for his or her efforts. Liberally moving this line counteracts this effect.


Generally speaking, Swiss pairings are the most fair, in that they pair players who are performing similarly. Division sizes tend to dictate how pairings will pan out. For large divisions, initial Fontes pairings are employed for either the first 3 or 5 rounds to attempt to predict how people will do during a tournament and pair them with similarly performing players. If a division has a smaller number of players than games, round robin pairings are employed until the number of rounds needed to complete a full round robin is no longer available. Then, Swiss pairings are employed either one or two rounds in advance at the director's discretion until the final round, where king of the hill is employed for contenders, minimizing repeats for non contenders.


All Charlotte Scrabble tournaments offer unlimited play-up options regardless of your rating unless otherwise posted. We strongly believe any player should be allowed to compete with as strong a field as he or she desires, so long as it does not adversely affect that field. Play-ups would only be denied in the event that the lowest-rated player requesting to play up would make that more difficult field odd. It is preferable to have a bye in a less difficult as a small incentive for those who have achieved a higher rating to not have to sit out a round.