Case study: Extend a Swiss Pairs by four tables

In Iceland, a few months ago, I encounted a not so very happy surprise when 8 pairs walked into the room 2 hours after play had started (after 4 rounds) asking to be seated. Back then (2012), the normal Magic Contest features did not allow adding pairs after the tournament has started.

The organiser requested that the pairs would be allowed to play, but the reasonable wish of allowing them to start playing only the next day was accepted. The trick was how.

There were many manual elements and tricks of the trades involved, I can say that, but with the newly developed feature where the seating assignments can be edited before inserted it would have been much easier. This is how you do it with this new feature.

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Copy the existing movement to Excel

Manually copy the movement (N-S and E-W), round by round, to Excel. There is no available shortcut (*), so just enter the pair numbers in two separate columns (C+D). You must also add two columns (A+B) where round and table numbers is entered. This is a little time-consuming but mainly mechanical.

(*) A more clever way to do this is the select Contest menu > Report contest and report the contest to a text file. This exports a lot of data from which you can extract round, table, N-S and E-W.

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Undo Close preparations and add the new tables

Select Contest menu > Undo Close preparations. Enter 4 extra tables and let Magic Contest create the first two rounds.

A fully acceptable alternative (probably even recommended) is to completely create a new contest, import the player names that you can export from the original contest, and take it from there.

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Change round 2 slightly to place the new pairs at the highest numbered tables

At this point the 8 new pairs all play at the 4 highest numbered tables. The goal of this exercise is to keep it that way. You need to do a few things first:

Arrange round 2 so that the seating assignments are correct. Round 1 is automatically correct, but in round 2, the E-W pair at the highest table number (one of the new pairs) goes to table 1.

Select Contest menu > Enter results, select round 2, click the E-W pair at table 1, and change to the correct pair in the second round. When you’re done, select round 1 again.

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Make the new pairs into phantom pairs

Select Contest menu > Enter names. Make all new pairs into phantom pairs. This means that any seating assignment will exclude the new phantoms and keep them at the highest table numbers.

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Start importing results

At this point the movements are identical in the two first rounds. This means you can starting importing results from Bridgemate in the first round. You might have to select Contest menu > Bridgemate > Import results unless the Bridgemate checkbox is available.

First one thing. You probably have automatic printing activated. You might want to turn off all automatic printings since otherwise you will print a lot of unnecessary papers every time a round ends and the new round is created.

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Create new rounds with the new pairs at the highest table numbers

All results of the first round will be imported. Then you are asked to create the third round. Now it’s time to use the following option:

  • Contest menu > Swiss > Add / Remove / Redo round

followed by

  • Add round 3, but edit before inserting

Let us assume there were no score changes in the first round. Then the seating assignments would be the same after (current) round 1 as after (the original) round 1. Since this is probably not the case there will be a different ranking forming the seating and thus different seating assignments.

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Use the copied (original) movement from Excel

This is where the copied Excel movement comes in play. Copy the 4 Excel columns (Round, Table, N-S, E-W) and completely replace the seating assignment suggested by Magic Contest (*). Click OK, and the new seating will be assigned.

(*) It’s important that you remember to keep the 4 tables at the end with the 8 new pairs. When you replace the suggested movement with the Excel movement you can easily replace everything except the 4 highest table numbers that already contain the 8 phantom pairs.

This means that you move to round 2 after creating round 3. Magic Contest usually imports round 2 automatically. In order to trigger end-of-round you might have to temporarily delete one result and the starting importing again. This time Magic Contest will ask to create round 4.

Again, select the edit option and copy the movement from Excel, again keeping the 4 highest tables. Then import round 3, create round 5, edit and replace, and so on. You will quickly get the hang of it. Continue with this until all rounds except one have been imported.

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Remove phantom status from the new pairs

At this point the first round of the second day has been created. All the new pairs are still at the highest numbered tables.

This is when it’s time to take away the phantom status and start integrating them in the normal seating assignments. Select Contest menu > Enter names and make them into normal pairs.

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Assign Average= to the new pairs

Next step is to go through all the imported rounds and award Average= (or something suitable) on all results at the highest tables numbers. The fastest way to do this is to enter A=A= in one cell, select it, use the Windows command Ctrl-C to copy it, and then press Enter. This means that Average= was awarded to both pairs on that board. Now Press Ctrl-V and A=A= will be inserted as the new result. Press Enter, and continue like that.

Remember, when you arrive at the last result of the round you might want to avoid pressing Enter after Ctrl-V. Instead you can click somewhere in the window. This will avoid triggering the end-of-round sequence.

Once you have finished awarding Average= in all the imported rounds you can actually press Enter after the last entry. This will automatically ask to create the next round (the second round of the second day). At this point you don’t have to edit the movement before inserting it since the point from now and on is to let Magic Contest automatically assign all seatings.

Good luck, and I hope you will not have to use this case study for a live event.

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