If is the number of competitors, a pure round robin tournament requires games. If is even, then in each of rounds, games can be run in parallel, provided there exist sufficient resources (e.g. courts for a tennis tournament). If is odd, there will be rounds, each with games, and one competitor having no game in that round.
The standard algorithm for round-robins is to assign each competitor a number, and pair them off in the first round …Round 1. (1 plays 14, 2 plays 13, ... ) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 14 13 12 11 10 9 8
until you end up almost back at the initial positionRound 13. (1 plays 2, 3 plays 14, ... ) 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 2 14 13 12 11 10 9
If there are an odd number of competitors, a dummy competitor can be added, whose scheduled opponent in a given round does not play and has a bye. The schedule can therefore be computed as though the dummy were an ordinary player, either fixed or rotating. Instead of rotating one position, any number relatively prime to will generate a complete schedule. The upper and lower rows can indicate home/away in sports, white/black in chess, etc.; to ensure fairness, this must alternate between rounds since competitor 1 is always on the first row. If, say, competitors 3 and 8 were unable to fulfil their fixture in the third round, it would need to be rescheduled outside the other rounds, since both competitors would already be facing other opponents in those rounds. More complex scheduling constraints may require more complex algorithms. This schedule is applied in chess and draughts tournaments of rapid games, where players physically move round a table.
Alternatively Berger tables, named after their inventor Johann Berger, are widely used in the planning of tournaments.Round 1. 1-14 2-13 3-12 4-11 5-10 6-9 7-8 Round 2. 14-8 9-7 10-6 11-5 12-4 13-3 1-2 Round 3. 2-14 3-1 4-13 5-12 6-11 7-10 8-9 … Round 13. 7-14 8-6 9-5 10-4 11-3 12-2 13-1
This constitutes a schedule where player 14 has a fixed position, and all other players are rotated clockwise positions. This schedule alternates colours and is easily generated manually. To construct the next round, the last player, number 8 in the first round, moves to the head of the table, followed by player 9 against player 7, player 10 against 6, until player 1 against player 2.
This schedule can also be represented as a (n-1, n-1) table, expressing a round in which players meets each other. For example player 7 plays against player 11 in round 4. If a player meets itself, then this shows a bye or a game against player n. All games in a round constitutes a diagonal in the table.
The above schedule can also be represented by a graph, as shown below:
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