In a previous article I have shown how a small club Swiss Pairs might be run by a Director who had not run one before. Now I am showing how to run a Basic Swiss Pairs event. There will be another article giving various options.
Suppose you want to run a full day Swiss Pairs with 52 tables. Let us take the simplest method first: "Match-in-arrears", six eight-board matches. During each match ten boards are in play, and everyone helps to prepare two of them and plays the remaining eight. You must have an even number of pairs, so a standby pair is required.
At tables 1 to 50 you put the boards out, 1/2 at T1, 3/4 at T2, 5/6 at T3, 7/8 at T4, 9/10 at T5, 1/2 at T6, 3/4 at T7, 5/6 at T8, ... 1/2 at T46, 3/4 at T47, 5/6 at T48, 7/8 at T49, 9/10 at T50. You do not put any boards out at this stage in the top set of up to five tables, in this case two tables, T51 and T52. The players make up the boards from whatever sort of hand records are used in your particular country. Having done that they pass then down one table [eg T16 passes to T15].
You must always have one set of boards made up in advance. These are [in effect] the boards that would be made up at T51 to T55. Now you put these out: BE CAREFUL!!: don't forget that the boards are moved down after being prepared, so these are put out thus: 1/2 at T50, 3/4 at T51, 5/6 at T52, 7/8 at T52, 9/10 at T52, so the highest table gets a stack of six boards!
The players play eight boards, moving each board down one table as they play them. For scoring purposes a Table Score Card is used. These are available from Bridge Stationery Suppliers in England, and it is not sensible to try to run an event of this size without the proper stationery. Of course, there will be suppliers in some other countries.
For the second round, N/S pairs will remain stationary, and E/W will move up one table [T52 to T1], and boards 11 to 20 will be played. It is often best for the boards for the second round to be put out during the first round, by being put under North's chair. For the rest of the day the same approach is used for board arrangement, playing boards 21 to 30 in round three, then starting again at board 1.
At the end of the first round the Table Score Cards are collected. They are fed into a computer during the second round. Note that the program MUST be one designed for Swiss Pairs: it is not satisfactory to try and use an ordinary scoring program. Assignments for the third round will be given to competitors near the end of the second round, including check slips so they can check whether the correct scores were input. Frequencies and ranking lists are posted. This is then repeated in subsequent rounds.
The program will put the leading two pairs at T1, the next two pairs at T2, and so on. Note that which table they are at in [say] round 4 depends on their position at the end of round two. Furthermore, players with disabilities can be flagged in the computer as stationary, and they remain in the same place throughout.
Generally it takes about 70 minutes to play a round. It is a very enjoyable form of event, and is becoming the most popular event in England, taking over from Swiss Teams. The Swiss Pairs at Brighton in August, played over a weekend with 13 matches, is reckoned to be the largest single event in the world.
One last point: you should never expect to run a medium or large Swiss Pairs without some experience. At the very least for 50 tables, you need a Director i/c and a Scorer who have done the job before, in addition to local Directors. If you are running 25 tables then you might get away with only person with suitable experience, so long as he gets plenty of help. If Swiss Pairs is unknown in your area or state or country, then please import someone to run a couple: your local people will gain experience, and then can take over for the future.
There are various other possibilities, but I shall cover them in a following article.