How to organize a tournament, Part 2 - Scorekeeping

Posted in NEWS on December 7, 2015

By Wizards of the Coast

Deke Young

Part 1 of this series covered The Venue

My name is Deke Young, a level 2 judge and local tournament organizer in the Atlanta Georgia USA area. I work for Anthony Edwards (The Premier Events Tournament Organizer) running events in Atlanta. We run events ranging from 8-24 players FNM, 16-48 player Grand Prix Trials, 80-180 player Qualifiers, 282 player (over multiple flights) Pre-Releases and the 430-440 player Southeast Regionals.

In this article I will discuss the following:

  • Hardware considerations
  • Power Considerations
  • Printers
  • Files to Download
  • Secondary Workstations
  • Registration Forms

The first important concept to learn is "TEST YOUR HARDWARE DAYS BEFORE THE EVENT." I connect all the power cables, printer cables, mouse and keyboard (and in some cases monitors) days before the event. Do not wait until Saturday morning to discover you are missing a printer driver. Take the time to set up your scorekeeping station a few days early, update the DCI reporter file to whatever is current. Open DCI reporter and create the event, using the actual Sanctioning number from the Coordinators site. Test your printer by generating a few documents. Verify the printer cartridges, though I myself prefer to have a replacement cartridge available (in fact I have an entire redundant printer available.)

Once you have verified your hardware, pack up and label the cables and peripherals for this machine. As I use a laptop, I place EVERYTHING needed in the laptop case. While these may sound like common sense issues, I have been to plenty of tournaments when the judges tried to use unknown computers running an ancient version of DCI reporter without a viable printer. Pay attention to these details on a weekday afternoon when you can go to OfficeMax to get supplies.

I label and quarantine the items because I do not trust them with any other human being. Frequently human beings become complacent and ignore a small detail like the "printer sure was light the last time we used it" or "the power cord was in the bag last month."

I use a Dell 7000 to run my tournaments. I always carry an external mouse. I have an extra power cord and battery. We have been toying with the idea of an external USB connection for a 10-key pad. I have printer drivers for a Cannon BCJ-2000, a HP 4P, and an HP 6L a Canon C80, a Canon 980 and a Xerox Workstation. These are all printers that might show up and be used one day. To be prepared, I have all the drivers loaded on my laptop. To be more prepared we keep the drivers (CDs or Floppy) with the printers as well. Yes, we even keep the original printer boxes.

If possible I like to set up my scorekeeping station a day early. If nothing else it makes things easier on the Friday night Magic group when I run FNM on my weekend scorekeeping station. Setting up early allows me to inventory my supplies as well. Spare cartridges, blank paper, rulebook, scissors, bold markers, tape dispensers, clipboards, pens, rubber bands, etc. This is also a good time to inventory special supplies such as blank DCI number forms, Blank registration sheets, and deck registration sheets for limited events. Hopefully some day it will change, but I also have to take an inventory of tournament quality land and separate that from the booster quality land.

My Dell 7000 is only one of 3 laptops I bring to a Premier Event. I also have an IBM 600 that I use to download the latest softcopy of the rulebook, oracle card texts, Odyssey FAQ, Torment FAQ (with the ridiculous Madness rulings attached) and Judgment FAQ. My floor judges know how to look up card rulings and print them out on separate sheets of paper (as my IBM has its own dedicated printer.) This saves me mucho time, as I do not have to be distracted from results entry to look up a card text.

The tournament organizer brings a third laptop to create and print announcements like round times, prize support for today and the price for booster drafts. Likewise if the third laptop has its own printer, this avoids a conflict of interest between printing announcements or pairings next.

At one of the venues we have Internet access, which allows us to look up a few forms and upload events same day, but all in all Internet access is still in the luxury, not necessity category. In the meantime find yourself a comfortable chair and clear off space for sorting result entry slips.

Thomas Pannell (left) and Deke Young (right) verify all match results twice

If your preparations are done correctly you should be able to run a tournament with 20 minutes of "admin time" between rounds. As we will discuss in a later article, managing extra turns is a major hurdle, but the bulk of the job is in accurate scorekeeping. I have the table next to my computer laid out with index cards taped to the table. These index cards are labeled "1-10," 11-20," "21-30" and so far as high as I have table numbers for those days' events (which was table 215 at Southeast Regionals.) After I key in the result, I place the slip into one of the piles. As time permits I sort the slips into numerical order so that we can perform "THE AUDIT" at the end of the round.

The second important lesson for the day is the value of "THE AUDIT." After all the result entry slips are entered into DCI reporter, edit results again and deselect "outstanding results." With one of you reading the DCI reporter screen and another one of you announcing the results of the match results slips (now placed in convenient numerical order) audit the DCI reporter screen and look for scoring errors and verify dropped players. Once you become practiced you should be able to audit a 150 player PTQ round in less than 3 minutes. Trust me, not even I can re-insert an erroneously dropped player in 3 minutes. THE AUDIT is always worth your time.

After you audit, back up the tournament to both a hard drive directory and floppy diskette.

If you are auditing (and you should) then you need to record any late requested drops on the original Result Entry slips. Again this should not be a burden because you have arranged them in numerical order already. During the tournament I wrap the Result Entry slips in a copy of Pairings by Table, as it is easiest to find a player and opponent than by searching the regular Pairings by Player. When the event is over, place a bulldog or binder clip around all the result entry slips for that round. John Grant will appreciate it if they are in numerical order by round when it comes to appeals.

Once you get a pattern established you should be able to end the round, enter the majority of result entry slips, collect the last tables, audit your results, backup to hard drive and floppy, pair the next round, print two copies of pairings by player, one copy of pairings by table, file the previous rounds results, all in less than 20 minutes. At least that is the standard of efficiency in Atlanta.

Round 1 10:30 - 11:20
Round 2 11:40 - 12:30
Lunch round
Round 3 1:00 - 1:50
Round 4 2:10 - 3:00
Round 5 3:20 - 4:10
Round 6 4:30 - 5:20
Round 7 5:50 - 6:40

Cut to top 8, home by midnight

That is this week's article. While I could go in depth on ordered pairings, reading players, late player, etc, those are infrequent tasks best left to one on one instruction.

Next week: How to get the most out of your floor judges.

Deke Young, Level 2
Head Scorekeeper, Atlanta Premier Events