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We divide the Open singles into three parts:
The event begins with the “Qualificaton” segment whereby all competitors in a single tournament bracket seeding according to their “Mitic” rating. (See Mitic Ratings for more information on the rating system.) New or unrated players are seeded randomly after all rated players have been seeded in order.
The tournament format is known as “double-elimination” meaning that a player must lost to 2 opponents to be eliminated from the Qualification segment. All matches in the Qualification segment are the best 4 games of 7 meaning the first player to win 4 games wins the match, and all games are played until one player scores 7 point first who is deemed to have won the game.
Matches are called by rounds. Typically one round of the Winner’s bracket is called (players who have not lost a match) followed by two successive rounds of the Loser’s bracket (Players with one loss). As players are eliminated by losing their second match, they then go into the “Spinoff Tournaments Segment” of the event. The Qualification Segment is played until 12-16 players remain in the main draw.
Spinoff tournaments are played throughout the day, starting as soon as the first round of players is eliminated from the Main draw, usually around 2-2:30 pm and continuing until the end of the day around 10 pm. Each spinoff tournament contains a different number of players and number of tables allocated to it, so the amount of time is dependent upon those factors.
There are 7 total Spinoff Tournament held. Each one contains a number of players that is a factor of 2. The brackets are:
|Bracket Name||No. players||Rankings||Games per Match|
|Novice Bracket||32||97-128||Best 2 of 3|
|Amateur Bracket||32||65-96||Best 2 of 3|
|Expert Bracket||16||49-64||Best 3 of 5|
|Pro C Bracket||16||33-48||Best 3 of 5|
|Pro B Bracket||8||25-32||Best 4 of 7|
|Pro A Bracket||8||17-24||Best 4 of 7|
Like the Main draw, spinoff tournaments are double elimination. However, when you lose your second match, you then go into a sub-spinoff round and continue to play again until you have played to determine your absolute final ranking. It’s a lot of airhockey. And I mean A LOT! When the day is done, you look at the cost of the entry ee and realize you got more than your money’s worth!
It is not unusualy for the Pro A and occasionally the Pro B brackets to require some time on day 2 to complete. Based on how the tournament schedule is going, when we start the spinoffs, where we are in the tournament by 10 and what the remaining players decide, we sometimes will holdf off the final matches for the morning of Day 2. But we do try to encourage completion on Day 1 when possible. All spinoffs from Pro C through Novice complete on Day 1.
For the 12-16 remaining players who completed the Qualification round without being eliminated, they have earned a spot in the Master’s Competition. If you made it this far, then you are among the sports’ best players, often referred to as “Masters”. Though the United States Airhockey Association only recognizes the top 10 as “official” Masters, UNAP recognizes any player that can make the top 16 as among the elite in the sport. The level of play is extraordinary at this level! That’s why we reserve day 2 entirely for this segment of the event. The matches tend to run 30-45 minutes each with greater lengths of time in between matches as players focus and prepare for the mental and physical intensity of this fierce competition.
In most cases, the matches to determine the four players who will play in the 13-16 playoff will have completed at the end of Day 1; however, on occasion, pending the schedule, we will hold those matches for the morning of Day 2.
The 4 players eliminated in the 9-12 bracket also play a small tournament much like 13-16 to determine rankings 9-12. Because #9 and #10 are officially deemed “Masters” by the USAA and #11 and #12 are not, you can imagine how intense this bracket gets given the stakes.
The 2 losers of the 7/8 and 5/6 bracket also play a single match for 7/8 and 5/6 places respectively. And then finally, we make our way to the final 4 – the Grand Masters! The 4 remaining players are truly the Best of the Best.
The final 4 matches are held at the very end starting with the Quarterfinals. The winner advances to play in the semifinals, and the winner of that match (Loser’s Bracket Champion) advances to play the Winner’s bracket champion in the finals. The Winner’s Bracket Champion has to win only 1 match to win the Championship, while to Loser’s Bracket champion must defeat the Winner’s Bracket champion two matches to earn the Championship. When the Finals match has been completed, the two day event is officially completed.
Shortly after completing the event, we hold the Awards Ceremony where all players who have earned a trophy, cash prize, or other award are presented their earnings. The ceremony is a celebratuon of the bortherhood of airhockey where we can all laugh and celebrate and tell jokes and enjoy the casual time we have with fellow airhockey players from abroad as we say our goodbyes until next year.