Pairing methods in double elimination tournaments

Can anyone explain to me how games are scheduled in a double-elimination tournament (or send me to the appropriate link)?

I started this tournament, which is double-elimination, slide and slaughter. It has 29 players. According to this sensei page, the tournament should have:

  1. Ranked the players by strength and split them in two groups: strong and weak.
  2. Matched strongest of the strong group to strongest of the weak group and so on (with some seeding to accommodate the odd number of players)
  3. After the first round, paired all the losers with the slaughter (i.e. strongest to weakest) method .
  4. Let the winners wait until the loser bracket was completed
  5. Paired the players in the winner bracket with the winners of the loser bracket according, again, to the slaughter method
  6. Repeat steps 3 to 5 for successive rounds until only one player is left

This is not what I see happening. Steps (1) and (2) went as I imagined. After those, however:

  • players who lost by time-out did not make it into the loser bracket and were eliminated from the tournament
  • the loser bracket’s games started
  • the winners of round one were paired and their games started without waiting for the loser bracket’s games to complete

As a result, one winning’s bracket player (the second weakest ranked winner , it seems) was left without an opponent and is asking when she’ll play. I don’t know what to say. Will she skip the second turn? Or is the algorithm waiting for the weakest winner of the losing bracket to complete the winning bracket? Or neither?


Hopefully this is what you are looking for:

This works the same in every tournament on this site, and if someone times out or resigns from the tournament, they do not play any future rounds, no matter the tournament style.

I have never seen a double elim tournament work that way, so I would like an example of that. More explanation on how I think it is supposed to work below.

Actually, in most double elimination tournaments(at least the ones I have seen), the loser’s bracket essentially starts round two. The person you are talking about in the winners bracket with no game, they got a bye so they don’t have to play this round. Unless of a bug(more commonly seen in the live 9x9 ASTs), she will not play a game until round 3, and she will play someone from the winners bracket. The way double elim tournaments work is that when you lose, you move down to the losers bracket if you are in the winners bracket, and you are eliminated if you lose from the losers bracket. The winner of the losers bracket should be the only one from the losers bracket going to the winners bracket(if this is false, it is a bug). There are two ways a double elim tournament can work(that I know of). The only difference I know in them is the finals.

I don’t know strength pairings(or any pairing methods) that well unfortunately, so I can’t explain why that is, except one person was bound to get a bye, and in this case, the second weakest winner is that person.

Hopefully some of that information that I gave helps somewhat. If it doesn’t, I am sure someone else could explain it better, especially involving the pairings(although I am personally more puzzled on how the “slide” pairings work. They make no sense).

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I have never seen a double elim tournament work that way, so I would like an example of that. More explanation on how I think it is supposed to work below.

Well, that was my summary of the sensei page I linked to. In fact the page says that the winner bracket players play only the odd-numbered rounds and the loser bracket players play only the even-numbered rounds. Clearly this is not how OGS’s double-elim tournaments work, and I am trying to guess the algorithm.

According to that website(just looked now):

Subsequently, players in the losers bracket play every round, with the losers eliminated from the tournament, while the winners remain in the losers bracket. Players in the winners brackets only play in even rounds, with the losers moving to the losers bracket, and the winners remaining in the winners bracket.

I have never seen a tournament format like that before today so I guess there must be multiple variations of double elimination tournaments.

Ah, right, you are correct. I counted form round one, they must be counting from round two (“subsequently”). In any case, winner bracket’s only play alternate rounds. The wikipedia page actually goes into a lot of details and lists a number of variations. It would be interesting to find which one is OGS following.


The Little League World Series began using a modified double elimination bracket in 2011. Eight U.S. teams and eight international teams compete in respective double elimination formats until their respective championship games, which are single elimination. That is, irrespective of whether a team has one loss, or no losses, that team would be eliminated with a loss in either the U.S. or international championship game. The two respective champions then play a single elimination game for the World Series championship.

This format, except for the single elimination game for the world series championship(the final match is the battle for either the US champion or the international champion). Also any glitch tournaments don’t count towards this.