Computer Pairing

Author: Mark Kaprielian

January 1998

I.                    Computer Pairing

A.            Why we use computer pairing

1.             It allows us to have pairings that are extremely consistent by applying the rules in the same manner each time a round is paired.  The USCF pairing rules have many options and variations that may be applied at the discretion of the TD.  In addition, there are some rules that are difficult to interpret in certain situations.

2.             It limits TD pairing errors to operating the software and the entering of the player information correctly.

3.             It allows us to have less experienced TDs create the pairings.

4.             It provides the ability to re-pair a section to correct an error in player information much, much faster than can usually be done by a human.

5.             It allows the club the flexibility of not turning away late entrants.  This is a very important feature in making the club a friendlier place in that we don't have to be torn between turning someone away because they just missed the pairing deadline.  The pairing deadline is reduce by as much as twenty minutes for large turnouts with multiple sections.

6.             It allows us to pay the minimum amount possible for tournament submittal fees because we can submit the tournament report on disk.

7.             It allows us to generate clean reports after each round suitable for posting on the Web.

B.            What we lose because we use computer pairing.

1.             We lose the ability of the TD to make what might be considered the less harsh pairing in certain situations.  Because the rules have built in uncertainties for certain situations, it becomes problematic for any program to render a perfect interpretation of the rules since the rules are themselves imperfect.

C.            What is needed to ensure that we obtain the best possible results from computer pairings.

1.             The options available for configuring the program must be carefully selected and consistently applied.

2.             The program itself must render a very good interpretation of the rules.

3.             The people operating the program must operate the program correctly.

D.            Current status of computer pairing.

1.             The program we are using, WinTD by Estima software has been carefully monitored for accuracy and continues to be second-guessed to continue the process of verification. 

2.             The selection of pairing options has been carefully selected to yield the most consistent and fair pairing deemed possible by the senior TDs of the club.

3.             A process has been developed and documented to ensure consistent and correct operation of the program.

4.             The makers of the software have been very responsive in making repairs and usability enhancements at the request of the club.