How seeding, pools and direct elimination rounds (DEs) are set up at fencing tournaments

 Fencing Direct Elimination (DE) Tableau

Fencing Direct Elimination (DE) Tableau

Seeding for pools at national and regional qualifying fencing tournaments

For events in which national points are awarded, and their corresponding regional qualifying events, event seeding for determining pools in order of priority is as follows:

  • fencers on the National Points List seeded in order of their ranking from top down (regardless of rating classification)

  • fencers with rating classifications, starting with the highest rated fencers 1st. For example, A rated fencers with no national points will be seeded ahead of B rated fencers with no national points. Amongst A rated fencers with no national points, fencers rated A18 will be seeded ahead of A17 fencers. The seeding between A18 fencers with no national points is randomized.

In the illustrations below from the March NAC 2018, you can see that the event seeding and seeding for purposes of determining pools follows the sequence described above

 Fencers are first seeded in order of their position on the National Points List regardless of their rating classification

Fencers are first seeded in order of their position on the National Points List regardless of their rating classification

 After all fencers on the National Points List have been seeded, then fencers are seeded by their ratings classification staring with the highest rated fencer with no national points.

After all fencers on the National Points List have been seeded, then fencers are seeded by their ratings classification staring with the highest rated fencer with no national points.

At national competitions and regional qualifying events, pool size is usually 7, except when the total number of fencers is not an exact multiple of 7.  When that happens, the number of pools is adjusted to allow for as many 7 person pools as possible, followed by 6 person pools.   

In the example above, Y14 Women's Epee event at the March NAC 2018, there were a total of 149 fencers.  The maximum number of 7 person pools possible was 17 (119 fencers), so that there could be 5 complete pools of 6 to round out the remaining fencers (30) for a total for 149 fencers.

In another example, an event with 190 fencers, would have 22 pools of 7 fencers (154 fencers) and 6 pools of 6 fencers (36 fencers) to total 28 pools for 190 fencers.

seeding for pools at regional open circuit (Roc), regional (non-qualifying) and local events

Except for the Division 1A ROC which follows the seeding convention for national events, for all ROCs and other non-regional and local tournaments, event seeding for pools is determined in order of priority as follows:

  • by rating classifications, starting with the highest rating 1st. For example, A rated fencers are seeded 1st with A18 fencers seeded higher than A17 fencers, A17 fencers higher than A16 fencers. Position between fencers from the same classification year are randomized.

All rules pertaining to pool composition, bout order, seeding after pools and DEs are the same as for national and regional qualifying tournaments.


Pool Placement at fencing tournaments

Placement of a fencer into a pool is determined using "the snake" method for all fencing tournaments

In the example of the  Y14 Women's epee event at the March NAC, there were a total of 22 pools.  The top 22 seeds for the event would have been allocated as 1st seed across 22 pools.  The 1st seeded fencer would be the1st seed in Pool No. 1, the 2nd seeded fencer would be the 1st seed in Pool No. 2, the 3rd seeded fencer would be the 1st seed in Pool No. 3 and so on down to the 22nd seed who would be 1st seed in Pool 22.

"The snake" then turns, and the 23rd seed would be the 2nd seed in Pool No, 22, the 24th seed would be the 2nd seed in Pool No. 21, the 25th seed would be the 2nd seed in Pool No. 20 and so on till the 44th seed who will be the 2nd seed in Pool No 1.

Whereupon, "the snake" turns again, and the 45th seed will be the 3rd seed in Pool No 1, the 46th seed will be the 3rd seed in Pool No. 2, the 47th seed will be the 3rd seed in Pool No. 3 and so on till we get to the 66th seed who will be the 3rd seed in Pool No. 22.

The 4th seed in Pool No 22 will be the 67th seed, the 4th seed in Pool 21 will be the 68th seed, the 4th seed in Pool 20 will be the 69th seed until you get to Pool 1 where the 88th seed will be the 4th seed.

So "the snake" keeps turning till all fencers are allocated to the 22 pools.

As far as possible, the organizer will separate club mates and place them into different pools.

Bout Order in Pools at fencing tournaments

The order is et out in Chapter 9, Appendix O of the US Fencing Operations Manual as follows:

2018-05-03.png

Elimination After Pools at national fencing tournaments

At national competitions for Cadet, Junior, Division 1, Division 1A championships, Division 2 championships and Division 3 championships, only 80% of the field is promoted after pools.  The bottom 20% are eliminated.

There is 100% promotion for Division 2 and Division 3 events at national competitions, except for their corresponding championship events where only 80% of participants after pools are promoted.

In regional qualifying events in youth (Y10, Y12, Y14), Cadet, Junior, Division 1A, Division 2 and Division 3 events, 100% of participants are promoted after pools. 

In youth (Y10, Y12, Y14) national competitions, 100% of participants are promoted after pools.

Seeding for Direct Elimination rounds is determined by a fencers performance in pools and ranked as follows:

  • fencers with 100% wins ranked in order of net indicators from highest to lowest

  • fencers with 83% wins ranked in order of net indicators from highest to lowest (fencers who lost one pool bout in a 7 person pool)

  • fencers with 80% wins ranked in order of net indicators from highest to lowest (fencers who lost one pool bout in a pool with 6 fencers or less)

  • fencers with 67% wins ranked in order of net indicators from highest to lowest (fencers who lost 2 pool bouts in a 7 person pool)

  • fencers with 60% wins ranked in order of net indicators from highest to lowest (fencers who lost 2 pool bouts in a pool with 6 fencers or less)

  • fencers with 50% wins ranked in order of net indicators from highest to lowest (fencers who lost 3 pool bouts in a pool of 7 fencers)

  • fencers with 40% wins ranked in order of net indicators from highest to lowest (fencers who lost 3 pool bouts in a pool with 6 fencers or less)

  • fencers with 33% wins ranked in order of net indicators from highest to lowest (fencers who lost 4 pool bouts in a pool of 7 fencers)

  • fencers with 20% wins ranked in order of net indicators from highest to lowest (fencers who lost 4 pool bouts in a pool of 6 fencers or less)

  • fencers with 17% wins ranked in order of net indicators from highest to lowest (fencers who lost 5 pool bouts in a pool of 7 fencers)

  • fencers with 0% wins ranked in order of net indicators from highest to lowest (fencers who lost all their pool bouts regardless of whether they are in a 7 or 6 person pool)

A fencer can usually expect promotion if they win at least 2 pool bouts.  In some rare situations in large fields, some fencers who win 1 pool bout may still be promoted.  It's more common that a fencer with only 1 pool bout win will not make the cut and be eliminated.

Tableau Match-ups at fencing tournaments

In Direct Elimination (DE) rounds, the following formula is used in determining opponents:

(Elimination round number + 1) - your seed = seeding of opponent you will fence in that elimination round

Example 1:

If you are the 67th seed after pools,  in a field of 218 fencers, then your opponent in the round of 256 is:

(256+1) - 67 = 190th seed

Example 2:

If you are the 20th seed after pools, in a field of 218 fencers, then your opponent in the round of 256 is:

(256+1) - 20 = 237th seed

Since the field has only 218 fencers, the 20th seed has no opponent in the round of 256, and receives a bye to the next round of 128.

Final Results Ranking at fencing tournaments

It is not uncommon for fencers to perform better in DEs than their seeding after pools, or to perform worse in DEs than their seeding after pools.

For example, a fencer seeded 54 after pools would be expected to go out in the round of 64, but manages to create an upset by defeating the 11th seed in the round of 64.  The 54th seeded fencer is now in the round of 32.  This fencer then loses in this round.  The fencer's final placement could range anywhere between 17 and 32, depending on the performance of fencers who were originally seeded above this fencer, and who also went out in the same round of 32.  

The relative position of the fencers can only be determined after all fencers have completed their DEs in the round of 32.  So, of the 16 fencers who went out in the round of 32, 15 were seeded higher than the 54th seed, then the fencer would finish the tournament in 32nd place.  If only 14 fencers were seeded higher than 54th seed, then the fencer would finish in 31st place, and the fencer seeded behind the 54th seed would be placed 32nd.

Therefore, your final results placement is not only determined by the DE round you went out in, it is also determined by how well you did in pools, and your seeding as a result thereof.


The complete seeding principles are contained in Section 2.15.1 of the US Fencing Athlete Handbook, and complemented by the US Fencing Operations Manual for pool size, composition and bout order.



Share this post with someone who will find it useful

Donna Meyer