A tournament is a match in which at least three players from the same sport or game compete. The phrase can be used in one of two overlapping senses, to be more specific.
A competition or series of competitions staged at a particular location over a brief period of time. A contest that entails a number of matches, each of which features a portion of the contestants, and in which the overall tournament victor is chosen based on the sum of the outcomes of these individual matches. These are prevalent in games and sports where each match must only have a limited number of competitors: frequently just two, as in most team sports, combat sports and racket sports, numerous card and board games, and numerous competitive debate formats. Despite the cap on participants in a single match, these competitions allow a big number of people to compete against one another.
In a tournament match the participants may engage in one or more game matches and, if necessary, one or more tiebreak matches. For instance, in the Davis Cup tennis competition, a tie between two nations requires five rubbers between the players from the two nations. The tie is broken by the team that wins the most rubbers. Each match in the later stages of the UEFA Champions League is split into two legs. The teams’ individual scores are combined, and if the scores are tied after both games are over, extra time and, if required, a penalty shootout are utilised to decide the winner. In this situation, additional time is used for the first tiebreaker and a penalty shootout is used for the second tiebreaker.
Each competitor participates in at least one match every round in a knockout tournament or elimination event, which is separated into subsequent rounds. Each match’s top competitors advance to the subsequent round. There are fewer contestants and fixtures as the rounds go on. The victor of the last match, also referred to as the final or cup final, is crowned the overall champion.
Only the top-ranked contestants in a match advance in a single-elimination competition; in games with two competitors, only the victor advances. All other contestants are disqualified. As a result, a winner is determined with the fewest possible fixtures. However, the majority of contestants will be eliminated after a manageable number of matches; one poor or unlucky performance can override a string of good ones.
In two-player games, a double-elimination tournament can be utilised to allow each player to suffer one loss without being ousted from the competition. All losers from the main tournament enter a losers’ bracket, and the winner of that bracket competes against the winner of the main bracket.
Fastest losers may advance in a running competition that is split into rounds at athletic competitions; for example, the top four finishers from each of the first six heats, along with the top eight finishers overall, may qualify for a subsequent round.
The stepladder format is a particularly extreme version of the knockout tournament where the strongest team (or individual, depending on the sport) is guaranteed a spot in the final round while the next strongest teams are given byes according to their strength/seeds; for instance, in a four team tournament, the fourth and third seed figure in the first round, the winner goes to the semifinals against the second seed, and the survivor faces the first seed at the final.
All participants in a group tournament, league, division, or conference play a number of fixtures (remember, a fixture is one name for a game-match that decides who, out of two or three or more, will proceed; a fixture may consist of multiple game-matches amongst competitors). Each match results in the awarding of points, and the contestants are ranked according to their total points or their average points per match. Assuming that each competitor plays the same amount of games, ranks by total points and by average score are identical. Prior to 1963, the English County Championship in cricket did not call for an equal number of games.
Each participant in a round-robin competition faces off against every other competitor an equal number of times, either once in a single round-robin competition or twice in a double round-robin competition.
Using fewer games, a Swiss system tournament aims to choose a winner with reliability. A participant will play another who has a comparable record in prior rounds of the event because matches are scheduled one round at a time, unlike the traditional Groups structure.
The reliability of rankings may not be the only factor to be taken into account. Weaker teams may receive an easier schedule of games in several professional team sports as a kind of handicapping. There are instances when local derbies or other long-standing rivalries are given preference in the calendar.