If you're running open qualification for the tournament, it probably means it is happening immediately prior to the knockout stages, and you want to select 8 players to take part.
While this is a perfectly fun and entertaining way of selecting players, consider that holding a separate round-robin qualification process is far more fair for the players, and lets more players get involved. It is also a major consideration on how many rankings points might be awarded to the players. But don't let that get in the way of the easy running of your event. It's your event.
The basic idea of this type of qualification is to have a series of open/melee/every-player-for-themselves combat. The winner of each goes through to the knockout stage, and doesn't take part in the following qualification rounds.
The final part of each round should look a bit like this (from the EJC 2011 Munich Fight Night):
You might think this process won't take very long, but it can take quite a bit of time. For a start, it won't only take eight rounds of combat to end up with eight players. When it gets down to two players remaining, they both might drop. Then that entire round is wasted, and everyone goes at it again.
And this will happen more often as the rounds go on, too! As the better players qualify by winning, progressively worse players will remain. And progressively worse players will struggle to finish off a round cleanly and unambiguously.
Keeping that in mind, here's how to go about using this process to determine fair seedings for the knockout rounds.
Knowing who might qualify during the melee combat rounds makes planning the knockout far easier and, more importantly, both fairer for the players and more exciting for the audience.
Before the tournament, make sure you know who is taking part. You don't need to know everyone, but certainly the favorites. These could be winners of previous Fight Nights, or those who have done well in such events.
The easiest way is to check out the current points and rankings and then the weighted historic rankings. However, many good combat players aren't on those ranking pages. If someone is kicking ass in open combat sessions, but hasn't taken part in a Fight Night before, keep an eye on them.
So working from the current and historic weighted rankings, and using your own judgement for unranked players, list the top players in order. Try to make a list of at least eight players, in order of possible success.
Show the list to some of the players, and ask what they think. You might as well make it as fair as possible.
While you are at it, ask each of these players for a quick introduction. Get some fun or interesting facts about each of them, any past successes at Fight Night or other combat achievements, where they are from, etc. Write these introductions, one each, on individual pieces of paper. These you can hand to the host as he or she introduces each player during the knockout stage.
Even though you have a list of the eight seeded players, that doesn't guarantee them a place in the knockout stage! First they have to qualify, just like everyone else.
The qualification stage is typically open for anyone to take part. However, it is best to kindly discourage absolute beginners. It's not fair on the intermediate and advanced players to have the arena clogged up by those who just add to the randomness. A field of about 20 players is probably optimum.
The player pre-seeded first may not qualify first, due to the inherent randomness of melee combat. They will, however, probably qualify within the eight rounds. As will plenty of the other seven pre-seeded players.
However, there will be some pre-seeded players who don't qualify, with the final eight made up of unknown participants or those who just outplayed the pre-seeded players on the night.
During the qualification rounds, tick off the names of the pre-seeded players as they qualify. Also add the names of the non-pre-seeded players to the bottom of the list in the order that they qualify.
At the end of the qualifying rounds, strike out the names of the pre-seeded players who didn't qualify. The list will look something like this:
Once you have this list of names eight names, re-number the list with the final seed numbers:
That's it! Now you know who is going to take part, move on to the process of putting the seeds into the knockout bracket.
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