The Ranking Question – How Many Tournaments Should Count?



There is a survey out asking the players to say how many tournaments should count towards a ranking.   The problem is the question is not that simple.


To begin with I think you have to consider that there are two rankings, Sectional and National.  InFlorida the max number of tournaments that count for ranking is 5 of which two can be Nationals but they must be played inFlorida.  Note: the seeding list allows for Nationals from outside the state.  So the idea is if you don’t want to give another player an advantage in the rankings over you, you should play in at least five sectional tournaments.  Naturally, if you play in Cat II’s or the State Closed you will receive more points for your wins.


On the National level the max number that count is now 4 and at least one tournament must be a National Cat I.    Now again in order to earn a higher ranking a player should play in Nat I or II level tournaments to get the higher level of points.   On the National level to do this normally requires a good bit of traveling.   An element which is critical is the ranking is a “best of system” so that the more tournaments over the max you play the better as they can only help you improve your ranking.  Unless you win all the tournaments you play in you should probably try to play at least one more than the max to help your ranking.


Ok, now if you say a player would then normally play in 6 sectional events (one more than the max and two of which are nationals) and 3 more national events since he already has two for the sectional that makes nine tournaments that a player would have to play to get a reasonably good ranking in both the section and nationally.    Do we really need to require a player to play more than that?  Why not count at least seven of the nine.   Here the problem – for a sectional ranking you want to put more emphasis on sectional results and incentive to play in sectional tournaments.   If you allow all Nationals to count, it gives too much bias to those who can travel and play lots of tournaments outside the section.  For the National ranking the reasoning is traveling to more than five National tournaments is a lot to ask of every player.  Those who wish to play more can do so and it can only help their ranking.  It doesn’t make sense to count a lot of local tournaments in the National ranking because often they can be small draws and winning a tournament without doing much.   A national ranking should be based on results from primarily National tournaments.


So what is the right number?   Maybe 65 and over players could play ten tournaments and it wouldn’t be that tough, but it is important that if you want the rankings to be reasonably accurate it’s critical that most all players can play the max and that a player does not gain a significant advantage just by playing a lot of tournaments.


So it is misleading in a survey if you put down nine tournaments – do you mean you want nine National tournaments to count which would then mean you would need to play 12 to get a sectional ranking.   The survey should be broken down into National tournaments, Sectional tournaments, and then if you add the two together minus two (two Nationals count for both sectional and national) you get the actual number of tournaments a player needs to play. 


As a member of the National Adult Competition Committee we are always eager for player input.   The committee has been severely criticized for reducing the max from 5 to 4.   We are trying to do what’s best for all players and let’s make sure it’s fully understood first. 


Larry Turville