Discussion in 'Fencing Discussion' started by David Ma, Sep 15, 2015.
Quick update: Ratings distributions for all weapons
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Most of this is already addressed by the NRPS. At the other end of the spectrum, U fencers are generally so inconsistent that it doesn't make much sense to worry about granularity for seeding.
I explicitly addressed that about about the NRPS.
From my previous post: "While we use national points to seed div1 NACs, thus this saturation of A's not being detrimental, at big local events with lots of A's or even if not especially at smaller events with almost all A's, not being able to seed within classification and year leads to vastly uneven pools."
At least in my example of the Four Seasons Cup at Alliance in Houston, seeding by the NRPS would provide greatly more accurate seedings then just randomizing all the A15's and A14's. However, even if the NRPS were used to seed every local open around, more A's than not are not on the NRPS. There's a huge difference in level of fencing between a fencer who goes 6-0 in pools of a div1 NAC, gets upset in the round of 64, and finishes 33rd of 159, thus not earning any points (event not bigger than 160 thus doesn't award points through the table of 64 even though 33/159 is well in the top 40%) and the level of a fencer who goes 1-5 and doesn't make the cut. A good number of A's miss the cut at div1 NACs. And that's not even mentioning all the fencers who don't go to div1 NACs for whatever reason - a tournament's seeding accuracy shouldn't have to suffer just because certain A-rated fencers don't travel to compete in NACs - or even if those fencers did go to NACs, they probably wouldn't get points.
NRPS is great for seeding events in which a good chunk of those on the NRPS is in the given event. The NRPS is lousy for seeding events in which only a couple of people on the NRPS are there. At a minimum, at least if there is a local 14 person tournament with 7 A's and 2 are on the NRPS, then those 2 are put in different pools being the top 2 seeds, but that doesn't help with placing the other 5 A's. One pool could theoretically end up with 5 A's, of which 1 is on the NRPS of course, and the other 4 consistently finish 33-64 in fields just under 160, while the other pool gets just 4 A's, of which 1 is, again, on the NRPS, but the other 3 have never competed higher than a ROC, and only got their A's by winning a mixed 15-person A1. So of course very different.
As you said, U fencers are generally so inconsistent, but you have to note that at the youth level, the same fencers tend to consistently do well while the same fencers tend to consistently do medium and so forth. The issue with U is it describes both those who have never fenced tournaments, thus having not yet had a chance to be compared and evaluated against their fellow fencers, but also those who have a relatively large body of work but rarely have the opportunity to earn a rating because local and even regional youth tournaments don't usually award ratings, especially in Y10 and Y12. You get very uneven and stacked pools in Y10 and Y12 local events, and also Y14 to a still non insignificant extent, although it is now becoming more common at least in epee in my limited experience for Y14ers to have ratings earned either from SYCs or fencing up in opens. There must be a better way than simply saying "Y10 and Y12 are too inconsistent to worry about their seeding" and therefore just leaving whether or not the top 4 fencers in an event have to fence in the same pool up to the luck of the draw in FencingTime.
Using the NRPS to seed youth events would fix that issue, and maybe even fix it more thoroughly than using the senior NRPS to seed open events because a greater percentage of youth fencers are on the NRPS thanks to SYC's awarding points to the full 40% up to 64 places regardless of the size of the event (no arbitrary cutoff at 32 just because the event has 81-159 fencers.
So my question to which I don't know the answer is what are the rules regarding seeding at a USFA sanctioned tournament? Could a tournament organizer decide of their own volition to seed a local open based on the senior NRPS, assuming that fact was properly advertised? Could they use youth NRPS? Or regional points standings? Could a tournament organizer seed a USFA sanctioned tournament with a points list for their tournament series, such as Bay Cup, Houston Cup, etc.? What are the rules here?
And what would be the solution for seeding mixed events, as there is no mixed NRPS. Is there a way to convert women's rankings to men's and vice versa? Or if you're using regional standings for RJCC, that doesn't help seed fencers from outside the region. Not to mention there is no accommodation to fencers who chose not to fence in these events that award national or even regional points.
The NRPS is supposed to be used at all domestic tournaments, including local events, for fencers that have points.
So you're saying that all domestic tournaments are not only allowed but are required to seed their tournaments by the NRPS? May I get a cite on that, please?
If so, then 99% of tournaments at which I've ever fenced are in blatant disregard of that rule. And if the USFA cared about that rule, then surely they would've told tournament organizers that they wouldn't sanction events in which that rule was disregarded, and as such, tournament organizers would be forced to seed their events by the NRPS.
Assuming that all domestic tournaments are supposed to be seeded by the requisite NRPS as you allege, then what is done as I asked in my previous post in cases of mixed events?
It's been a few years since I ran a tournament, but it used to be in the operations manual. Even if it is just that they are allowed to and not required to, then your complaints would be better directed at the organizers for choosing to have such random seeding.
FWIW, I do think that men's epee needs more granularity at the top end. I just don't think that means that the system is broken.
This is a very interesting project. As you state in your article, a change in the system is not necessarily warranted, but it's a lot of fun to chart your own data and compare to others of similar and dissimilar ratings and results.
Looking through a very limited amount of data and just giving it an eyeball test, it appears that your system has some issues with overvaluing fencers from weak regions (not that I am saying the current system doesn't, but perhaps this system does even more). Is this because NACs are excluded? Is it a difficult issue with any system? Other thoughts?
One minor point, the current system has not remained untouched for 50 years.
Athlete's Handbook, Table 18.104.22.168: Seeding Principles for Specific Categories of Tournaments
It's already being done that way.
Only for Junior, Cadet, Y14, Y12 and Y10 events. Local "Open" events have two seeding options* - one is a hybid, and the other does not use NRPS at all. Local Vet events do not use NRPS for seeding. (See table below.)
As mfp noted, AH Table 22.214.171.124 states the seeding principals for tournaments; the portion for Local/Division/Regional tournaments provides:
[table="width: 500, class: grid, align: left"]
[td]Within each classification, Nat'l Senior Rolling Pts. then year or classification/year only[/td]
[td]VETERAN AGE GROUPS[/td]
[td]National Junior Rolling Points, then classification/year[/td]
[td]National Cadet Rolling Points, then classification/year[/td]
[td]National Youth 14 Rolling Points, then classification/year[/td]
[td]National Youth 12 Rolling Points, then classification/year[/td]
[td]National Youth 10 Rolling Points, then classification/year[/td]
* Wouldn't it be rare for the "classification/year only" option to yield more accurate seeding than the "within each classification, Nat'l Senior Rolling Pts. then year" option? I guess it happens frequently enough to justify providing organizers with the option, or is more for tournament admin ease/convenience purposes?
Both. People on the internet obsess a lot more over exactly even pools than does anyone I know in real life who is running a club. If a strong club did run an event seeded only on letter ratings and three strong fencers ended up in one pool, the coach might say "good, it's more like a pool at a Div I event, makes it a better simulation of a strong event for them", and not care, especially if the three came from different clubs so they don't see each other every day at practice. Sure, the seeding into the DEs will be wrong, oh dear. How terrible. Some C from an easy pool will get one round further than they otherwise would have, yes that is terrible.
And sometimes it's just justified. Points come from NACs, which require travel money and time and commitment. If you've fenced in Texas, at least, you can no doubt bring to mind some fencers with points who are predictably weaker than some 'local' A's who never travel. This was particularly true some years ago in South Texas, but I think it probably holds anywhere, if you give it some thought.
I have never once seen a tournament other than an SYC, RJCC, NAC/JC/Championship, and maybe RYC do the preliminary seeding on the basis of NRPS. I've fenced in maybe 30 youth tournaments, reffed another 15, and just generally been around fencing for the past almost decade, and I've never once seen a local youth tournament seed using the NRPS. Nor have I ever seen an open seed based on the NRPS, although at least in the case of an open, the AH allows seeding based solely on classifcation/year.
So I'm legitimately asking to the FdN community and especially those of you on this thread maintaining that the current system works as it should, do local tournaments where you live (or any local tournament you're familiar with in the recent past) seed based on the NRPS?
So now that I know the actual USFA rules for seeding at all events including local events, why then don't the tournaments follow those rules? The rule might as well exist if 0% of the tournaments to which I've ever been followed the rule. Even if you respond that it's the tournament organizer's fault for failing to follow the rule, and the rulebook is good and where it needs to be, then I'd say that the fault lies equally with the USFA for being complacent in allowing tournament organizers to violate its rules. When a tournament's results are submitted, the USFA is supposed to verify that that tournament followed USFA rules before awarding ratings for that event or considering it otherwise official. So every time the USFA has reviewed the results of an tournament and failed to note the lack of proper seeding, the USFA is permitting the violation of its rules and is effectively voiding the rule.
Legitimately asking because I don't know, what is the rule for seeding events based on the NRPS for a mixed event? For an open, the organizer has the option to seed only on classification and year, so the organizer could just choose to seed that way for simplicity for a mixed event. But for a youth event, using the NRPS is mandatory according to AH Table 126.96.36.199, so what is the protocol for mixed youth events?
Also even if tournaments followed AH to the letter of the law and/or opens opted to seed using the NRPS even though they have the option to not do so, that doesn't invalidate my comments from my post #23 and my previous posts regarding the failure of the senior NRPS as an ideal seeding mechanism for local events because points are not awarded to enough places at div1 NACs.
Yes. At least, the ones my club runs do.
I've seen it happen.
It's not uncommon for smaller scale, truly local, youth tournaments to have events with all unranked, unrated kids. None of those tournaments seed using the NRPS, which is entirely consistent with the AH rule.
At the mixed youth events we've been to that had ranked fencers, the ranked kids were seeded based on their respective NRPS #s (for example: in a Y10 Mixed Foil event, a girl ranked #8 on the Y10WF NRPS list would be seeded ahead of a boy ranked #9 on the Y10MF NRPS list). If a boy and a girl happened to have the same NRPS ranking, it was handled the same way as seeding two fencers who are tied with eachother on their NRPS list (randomized). Not perfect, but straightforward and objective at least.
I have seeded every tournament, youth to senior, I have run for the last 11 years using national points.
Perhaps someone could point to an AskFred tournament of such seeding occurring? I know AskFred only lists the initial seeding and not how the seeding was done, but it's clear if there are B's seeded above A's or U's above E's or A12's above A14's that there was some more advanced seeding, such as the NRPS, going on. I tend to look at a lot of AskFred beyond even just the tournaments that I attend or even just the tournaments in my region, and I can tell you, even amongst all those, I've never once seed it happen.
Yes, that's true. However, in my experience (Greater Chicago Area), even the local youth tournaments consistently of only U's contain at least some fencers on the NRPS. Unless I was just blissfully unaware that the NRPS was being used - which I highly doubt because the tournament organizers tended not to be the most in the know at these events, to the point that they didn't verify or require USFA memberships, didn't verify club affiliations or make any effort to make sure rule o.13 is followed, or even make an effort to ensure that refs enforce the USFA rules - then these tournaments violated the AH.
That seems fair enough.
Well, if you can't see the seeding that doesn't mean points weren't used....I personally have always used points to seed local events, even before there were computer programs and events were seeded by hand on index cards.
Why don't you check live results for events?
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