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Strategy Articles


Change to Tournament Levels

by Matthyas Kiraly, Director of Organized Play

4th June 2014

As most people know, we currently grade all our tournaments by "levels" that tie into the Elo ratings function we use to calculate ratings. These levels map to a coefficient commonly known as the "k-value" and has been used for many years in the Star Trek CCG for ranking players worldwide, right back to the Decipher era.

Currently, the levels map to the following:

Level 1: Locals (k = 16)
Level 2: Regionals/Nationals (k = 32)
Level 3: Continentals (k = 48)
Level 4: Worlds (k = 64)

Fitting the TREK MASTERS presented a minor conundrum. Based on the theory behind Elo ratings, the number of events should be inversely proportional to the value of k. This increases the effect of higher-level events on one's ratings, earning a winner a hefty ratings boost. Naturally, such movement in ratings should be rare, hence only a limited number of events have the maximum k (just the one, being the Worlds).

When looking at where we could place the Masters, we felt that Nationals and Masters deserved the same value as they were the most similar events on volume, but clumped together with Regionals at Level 2 did not make sense given we have 80+ Regionals and only a handful of Nationals per year. The other option was Level 3 with Continentals, however there have only ever been at most three Continentals for STCCG for at least the last 10-12 years, and the total number of Masters and Nationals is expected to be five or six times that number.

We also knew that there are issues with changing the minimum or maximum k-values as they stand in our system, as lesser or greater numbers respectively have been found to create issues in the accuracy of Elo-based ratings.

Masters and Nationals appeared to sit between Level 2 (Regionals) and Level 3 (Continentals). Therefore the logical conclusion was to simply re-split the difference, so to speak, across all five levels between Level 1 (k = 16) and Level 5 (k = 64) by steps of 12 as follows:

Level 1: Local tournaments (k = 16)
Level 2: Regional Championships (k = 28)
Level 3: TREK MASTERS/National Championships (k = 40)
Level 4: Continental Championships (k = 52)
Level 5: World Championships (k = 64
)

Here are the differences in summary:

- Even spread across all levels, with a difference of 12 between each level.
- Locals and Worlds retain the same k-values as they currently have.
- Nationals and TREK MASTERS events at the new Level 3, halfway between the current Level 2 and 3 which better represents their total event numbers relative to the larger number of Regionals and the smaller number of Continentals.
- Regionals reduced in value by 4, but the number of these events in recent years more than justifies the small drop in k-value.
- Continentals increased in value by 4, but as these are the second rarest of all our events annually (only beat by the single Worlds) AND that players are rarely ever attending more than one, this small increase is well justified.

These changes will be introduced the day after the conclusion of the 2014 World Championships. Note that they will apply only to tournaments from that point onwards, and will not affect events run before this date and will not be retroactively applied to any events.


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