Guide for Tournament Organisers
You might need to organise a tournament sanctioned by the Association, or just a Round Robin tournament within your own club. Either way, you will find all the help you will need here.
If you are organising a major tournament, you should first check that it does not clash with another event scheduled for the same date that may attract the majority of players in your region. The national tournament event list may be found here. Obtain a copy of the Checklist for Tournament Organisers. This covers nearly everything you will need to think of when organising a tournament. It is designed to enable you to delegate certain tasks, and keep a record of who they were delegated to.
Ideally every tournament should have a non-playing Tournament Director. Tournament Directors should have at least a working knowledge of the rules of play. If the Tournament Director does not have a thorough knowledge of the rules, then a Rules Advisor, with whom the Tournament Director can confer, should be appointed. The Rules Advisor should be appointed prior to the day of the tournament. A list of Duties of Tournament Directors has been prepared to summarize what is expected of a Tournament Director on tournament day.
ASPA recommends that Computer Operators entering scores and producing draws (and who may also double as non-playing Tournament Directors) are paid. Lookup Operators typing words on challenge slips and runners should also be paid. (these rates will usually be set by the state committee)
In order to be rated in the National Rating System, tournaments must satisfy the established Criteria for Rating Tournaments.
When producing Tournament Notices, you will need to be mindful of the types of information that prospective players require to know before deciding whether to attend. We have provided a Guide for Preparing Tournament Notices.
ASPA club tournaments are often conducted with 2-4 Sections. The number of Sections needs to be decided by the club organising the tournament. Some State Associations use set ratings cut-offs to determine sections. ASPA recommends that where prize money is being offered, the prize money is equal for each Section. This avoids giving favour to the higher Sections. Clubs opting to depart from this recommendation should specify weighted prize money on their notices.
Before the day you will need to print off ratings lists to enable you to place the entrants in the correct Section. You will need a relevant ratings list, e.g. National Ratings List. Once all the list of entrants is final, divide the Numerical listing by the number of advertised Sections, to arrive at the composition of Sections. Some States use set ratings cut-off point to determine Sections. Novices should always be placed at the bottom of the list in the lowest Section, unless their Club President advises to the contrary.
It is important that the the Sections are organised according to ratings, and no favour is given to any individual. If there is a "no show" in a higher Section, the highest rated player in the next Section down should be promoted to avoid having a bye in the higher Section. Note, some states make use of 'play-up' certificates.
We recommend that on the day you pair players in the first game so that seeding difference is always equal, as well as being the maximum. So in a Section of 20 players, No. 1 seed would play No. 11 seed, No. 2 seed would play No. 12 seed etc This avoids mismatches, as well as pairing top players against each other in the first round. In the bottom Section, you must avoid pairing novices against one another in the first game. This should not happen if you have followed the guidelines above.
All tournaments sanctioned by ASPA are conducted according to the National Scrabble Rules. In places, these are overridden by State Variations to Rules, and these in turn can be overridden by any local rule your club wants to introduce. The only stipulation is that any local rule for your tournament is mentioned in advance on your tournament notice.
The Association will provide all equipment and stationery required to run the tournament, with the exception of clocks and rotating boards in some States. In return, ASPA imposes a levy per player on the club staging the tournament. An additional $5 surcharge may apply for any player who is not a full member of the Association. You will need to refer to the alphabetical List of Full Members of the Association to determine in advance if it will be necessary to collect the surcharge.
Tournament Organisers are requested to report any anomalies in the rules of play encountered, requirements for rules amendments or rules infringements to the relevant ASPA Committee. These may have to be gleaned from the Tournament Director, and/or the Rules Advisor (in cases where the Tournament Organiser is actually playing in the their own tournament).
For those of you that only want to organise a friendly club tournament, then you might find the Round Robin Tournaments pairing table useful. This can be used for any number between 5 and 14 players competing in a Round Robin. Necessarily, a Round Robin for fourteen players will involve 13 games.
Most ASPA tournaments are run under the Au Pair Swiss program. If you want to experiment with the tournament software before event day, you can download it from this website. There is also a special Round Robin program which will place Round Robin participants directly into the Swiss program.