I am having difficulty understanding how tournaments are set up. What
exactially is a pool? What is a tableu? How are tournaments organized? Any and
all information will be greatly appreciated.
Not according to most coaches I know! ;-)
Ann McBain Ezzell
USFA Secretary (the elected kind; not the work-in-the-office kind)
pool - A group of fencers (usually between 4 and 8) each of whom fences
all the others.
tableu - or just "table" for franco-phobes. Refers to one level of a
direct elimination (DE for short): A selection process in which fencers
are paired for bouts. The winner of each bout progresses for a further
pairing, while the losers are either eliminated from the competition or
are remanded to a repechage tableau.
repechage - a modification to a straight direct elimination in which the
losers get a "second chance". A second loss elimates a fencer from the
competition. The repechage is performed in a manner similar to the direct
seeding - an ordering of fencers according to some measure of ability,
from the strongest fencers down to the weakest fencers.
I think those will do for now. Tournament organization? I will skip all
of the preparation type organization stuff that only the organizers need
worry about and go straight to what you have to deal with as a fencer.
First off, there's registration. Some tournaments have events listed
start times and some by registration close times. Be sure you know when
the registration close time is so that you can be there before that time
to register. Even if you've pre-registered (via mail) you'll need to
check-in so the bout committee knows you're present.
Then there's "weapons check". Actually, a more appropriate word would be
"Equipment check" since they don't actually do any of the measuring or
inspection of weapons even at most upper level events anymore. You can
expect to have to get your mask punch tested, and perhaps having your foil
lame or sabre lame and mask tested for conductivity. At higher level
events, they will also check body cords.
Now for the event format. Depending on the tournament, how many people
are expected, and any local traditions that may be in place, the
tournament can have any of several formats - and at some tournaments, the
format may be decided upon at the tournament. For a complete list of the
"legal" formats, I recommend you refer to a USFA rule book.
Tournaments are done in rounds, with fencers (not necessarily all of them)
progressing from one round to the next. There is special case, which is a
tournament by direct elimination, which is essentially just a one round
Most tournaments are either by pools or a mix of pools followed by a
In all cases, the first round is seeded according to their ratings and/or
point standings), in subsequent rounds, fencers are seeded according to
the results of the preceeding round(s).
In pools, each fencer fences every other fencers in the same pool. The
bouts are for 5 touches and last four minutes. In pools there are three
yardsticks by which performance is measured to determine whether or not a
fencer will advance to the next round, and to determine the seeding. The
first measure is the number of victories (and for seeding this is divided
by the number of bouts fenced). If there is a tie in victories,
"indicators" are used. A fencer's indicator is the number of touches
scored in the pools minus the number of touches received in the pool. If
there is still a tie, the number of touches received breaks the tie.
In direct eliminations, bouts are for 15 touches and last 9 minutes, but
are broken into three periods of three minutes each, with one minute
breaks between each period. Losing in a DE means you're out, unless there
is a repechage. Obviously the only true thing you get out of a DE is the
first and second place winners. For this reason there is sometimes a bout