Saturday, February 25, 2006

What Happens If There's a 3-Way Tie at the Conclusion of the Round Robin?

What happens in championship curling if, at the conclusion of the round robin, three teams have identical records, and among the three each team has been defeated by one of the other two and has defeated one of the other two? In the page play-off system, which teams play in the 1-2 game, the winner of which gets a bye to the final? And which team will end up ranked 3rd and have to play in the 3-4 playoff?

This isn't international women's hockey, where total points for and against become the tie-breaker. If this tie-breaker rule were used, we would not see teams accept a handshake concession when the score is lopsided before all ten ends of a game have been played. Instead, they would feel obliged to run up the scores, the way the Canadian women's hockey team did in the Olympics, to get a tie-breaker advantage.

So what would they do in the event of this type of three-way tie?

I learned the answer yesterday, thanks to Glenn and Brian, of the Canadian Curling Association, during the practice sessions for The Scott Tournament of Hearts. During each team's practice session, the skip made one, final, really serious attempt to draw to the button. After each such shot, an official measured how close the shot was to the (center of) the button. The results of this draw will then be used to decide the type of tie-breaker I described here.

So those practice sessions were much more than just practice!


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