Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
A double-elimination tournament is a competition in which a participant ceases to be eligible to win the tournament's championship upon having lost two games or matches. It stands in contrast to a single-elimination tournament, in which one defeat results in same.
As in a single-elimination tournament, most double-elimination tournaments begin with a number of competitors which is a power of two, such as four, eight, or 16. In a standard, eight-way double-elimination tournament, the four winners of the first-round matches play one another in the second round, and the four first-round losers play each other. This results in two competitors not having lost a match after two rounds, four having lost one, and the other two having lost twice and therefore being eliminated (sometimes these latter two contestants will then play each other in a classification match, the winner of which earns seventh place in the tournament while the loser finishes eighth). The third round then usually proceeds with the two undefeated entities not playing at all and the four once-beaten contestants facing off to eliminate two of their number (then these two might be paired in a classification match to decide fifth and sixth places). This leaves two players or teams with no losses and two with one, setting up a fourth round where the two undefeated participants play each other and the two once-defeated candidates do likewise. The winner of the former contest then draws another bye and advances to the final, and the loser of that match goes on to face the winner of the fourth-round match between the once-beaten competitors (whose loser is deemed to have finished in fourth place) in a semifinal match (the loser of which finishes third).
The double-elimination format has some advantages over the single-elimination format, most notably the fact that third and fourth places can be determined without the use of a consolation or "classification" match involving two contestants who have already been eliminated from winning the championship. The most often-expressed criticism of the double-elimination format is that the last competitor to remain undefeated can actually lose only once and still not win the championship - although that competitor does draw two byes during the course of the tournament, compensating for that fact.
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