I have learnt a lot about pairings in our first attempt at Swiss.
The first thing is that there is a good reason why the use of one point byes is a more common solution to the problem of an odd number of players. The ‘odd man out’ has been difficult to allocate fairly and awkward to arrange.
It will be easier to organize a ‘Swiss’ tournament with a better seeding list. I do not believe the seedings which have been used for interclub matches in the last couple of years have been very good, but they are better than nothing. However a club grading or rating system, however unreliable, will be better.
The third point is that I should pay more attention to colour allocation than point in setting out pairings. The manual I have been using ‘Chess Arbiters’ Association - A Guide to Swiss Pairing’ is not aimed at providing guidance for a tournament as small as ours. It provides rules for pairings which I have been unable to apply. In general it looks at points scored first and colour allocation second. Perhaps I misunderstood it. In retrospect I should have looked at colour allocation first.
In our tournament, and among the snail games recorded, the statistics are unusual. In the first and second rounds all winners played with white. Among all the snailgames played 72% of wins have been with white compared with 21% with black. 7% have been draws. Does the player with white in our club really have a better than 3 to 1 advantage as appears to be the case with these figures? In other statistics I have seen the advantage is much smaller.
As things stand at the moment we have the top two players having played with white three whites out of four and the bottom two players having played with three blacks. This could be taken as meaning they have an unfair advantage. The next round either has to pair players have similar scores, or players with similar needs for fair colour allocation.
And worse than that, both of our top two players should play both of their next games with black, meaning they should never meet if we preserve colour parity. This is nonsense! - and both of our bottom two players should play both of their next two games with white - almost as difficult.
The fairest thing I can think of is to do the pairings for the next round by colour and for the final round by standing - but this cannot lead to an equitable result.
Next time, if there is one I shall pay more attention to colour allocation from the outset.