How to Run a Lists
Date Written: Spring, 1986
Last Updated: Summer, 2016
Author: Duke Paul of Bellatrix

Policy Level: Informational
Intended Audience: All
Abstract: Copy of an article from the Known World Handbook, describing one possible way to run a Lists. For use by the heralds when no Lists Officer is present. (Used with His Grace' permission.)

These guidelines will help you run a Lists accurately, efficiently, and fairly, but they are not the only way to do the job.Use them as a point of departure, and feel free to modify your approach if following them rigidly would cause unfairness or unpleasantness for the fighters.

This method is designed to avoid byes in the later rounds of the tournament, since they offer a significant advantage in a single-elimination Lists.You avoid late-round byes – this is, fighters who have no opponent, and thus pass on to the next round by default – by consolidating them all at the beginning, as follows:

  1. Determine the number of fighters.

  2. Take this number and subtract the largest power of two that will result in a positive remainder. (That is, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, etc.)

  3. The remainder gives you the number of matches required for the first round. Half the fighters in the firstround lose and therefore get eliminated, giving you an even power of two for the remainder of the Lists – which will give you a guaranteed two-man finals with no further byes. Consult with the presiding Nobility regarding the selection of fighters for the first round.

  4. Set up the matches for the second and succeeding rounds in a “tree structure.” (Figure 1.) Use whatever system the presiding Nobility decree for pairing the second-round fights – by challenge, by drawing lots, by seeding the most powerful fighters, etc.

For example, assume that there are 11 fighters in the Lists. Eight is the power of two used as a subtractor, giving a remainder of three. The first round will consist of three fights, eliminating three fighters and leaving a total of eight for the second round. This drops to four fighters for the third round, and two for the fourth, which is the finals. If someone withdraws from the Lists in the later rounds, it is better to advance the last opponent defeated by the withdrawing fighter than to set up a late-round bye or a three-way final.

Figure 1

This method works for the usual double-elimination Lists, where each combatant takes two losses before dropping out, and also for larger eliminations – up to and including full round robin, where each fighter meets all the others in the course of the tournament. (In a round robin, the victor is the one with the fewest losses at the end, with ties settled eitherby consulting records of matches between the leaders or by holding a single-elimination Lists for the top two or four finishers.)

Set up the first-round fights in whatever manner is acceptable to the presiding Nobility. Once the first round is set, follow the procedure given below:

  1. Write all the names on a scoresheet and number them, with each of the first pairs on adjacent lines of the sheet. (Figure 2.) Write the number of each fighter’s opponent in the upper half of the first-round square by his name. After the match, enter “W” or “L” in the lower half of the square. For reach subsequent round, continue to enter the opponent’s numbers and the results of each fight in this manner.

    Figure 2

  2. On a separate worksheet, write the numbers of the fighters in a vertical column labeled “Round 1". (Figure 3.) Draw a bracket between the numbers 1 and 2, 3 and 4, etc. to indicate the matches. Repeat for each round, retaining only the numbers of those fighters still in the Lists . (Circle the numbers of those who lose, to help keep track of which numbers to drop.)

    How to set up the matches using the worksheet:

    Lists run in this manner become a continuum, rather than a set of discrete rounds. This has the effect of greatly reducing or eliminating the advantages of a bye. There need be little or no pause between rounds, since you can set up early matches in the next round – and even have them fought – before the later matches in the current round are complete.

  3. When a fighter has been eliminated, drop his number from the worksheet and cross out the rest of the row on the scoresheet. (Use a wavy line, preferably in a different color from the regular scores.)

  4. Before the Lists start, figure out precisely how they will be concluded, and make sure the Nobility presiding at the event agree to the system you plan to use. The options are:

Figure 3