I agree with this statement and would even generalize it. The best N fencers (based on their fencing history) should not start in the same pool. N could be some small number like 8 or 16 if number of pools is at least twice N. Here is a proposal of metric to estimate equality of the pools. Let's assume that current relative strength of the fencers is reflected in final results of the tournament. We will disregard all previous history. We will take number of pools (P) and assign rank 1 to all fencers that got place from 1 to P. We assign rank 2 to all fencers that ended up in places P+1 to 2*P. We will continue till end of our list. We will have total number of ranks equal to maximum number of fencers in a pool. Let's calculate now for any of the seeding system for each pool the average rank of its fencers and check standard deviation of these averages. Ideal seeding system (the one that could predict end result perfectly 100%) should have standard deviation of these pool's ranks close to 0. Surely current seeding system have advantage over any other system because it is used in a tournaments and obviously initial seeding affects current results. I will check if my elo's have any edge over current system and will publish results here.