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Directing SOWPODS tournaments

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Revision as of 19:13, 12 December 2010 by Tapani (talk | contribs) (punctuation)

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This page contains information for NASPA directors about directing SOWPODS tournaments, specifically about the differences and commonalities between SOWPODS and regular (OTCWL) tournaments. The information also applies to separate SOWPODS events within larger regular tournaments.


All tournaments must be sanctioned by Tournament Committee ahead of time as described on the page about tournaments. The fees, deadlines, requirements and restrictions are the same.

All parameters specific to the tournament should be specified at this time, including:

If the director is also seeking WESPA ratings, the tournament must meet all WESPA ratings criteria and the WESPA ratings officer (currently Bob Jackman) must be notified in advance.


The SOWPODS lexicon (also known as CSW or Collins Scrabble Words) is defined by WESPA Dictionary Committee and published in print by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.

For software self-lookups, the CSW lexicon in Zyzzyva can be used. When events with different lexicons take place in the same venue, each should use a different set of computers, clearly marked.


The Official Tournament Rules may be used with the change of only rule III.A.1 to specify SOWPODS as the word reference.

Optionally one may also change the challenge penalty rule in section IV.I.3 p. 15 to any of the choices listed in WESPA rules, section 3.10.15 p. 17–18. Typically in international tournaments, the penalty for an unsuccessful challenge is 10 or 5 points per challenged word but no loss of turn. The choice should be indicated in all tournament announcements.

On a case-by-case basis, the adoptation of certain other WESPA rules may be approved.


NASPA ratings

Currently, the choice of the rating system (regular or SOWPODS) is not included in the tournament database entry created by Tournament Committee, but entered manually by NASPA rating officer when rating the tournament.

Consequentially, when submitting tournament results, the director should contact NASPA rating officer (currently John Chew) before the submission to ensure that the correct rating system will be used. (If you contact John in advance, he can also notify WESPA and submit the results there; see the next section.)

In all other respects, the results submission process is the same.

WESPA ratings

To have the tournament rated by WESPA, the ratings levy must be paid and the results must be submitted to the WESPA ratings officer (currently Bob Jackman) by email as a .TOU file.

The following methods may be used to generate a .TOU file:

  • Create the file manually in a plain text editor such as Notepad (do not use formatting text editors such as Word). The file format is explained in the next section.
  • Use an Australian tournament management software named AUPAIR. AUPAIR is an older program and it is not designed to run on newer 64-bit computers.
  • Use tsh as the tournament management software and execute the AUPAIR command to create the .TOU file.
  • Use tsh to convert an existing NASPA tournament results submission file (as specified on the page about submitting tournament results) into a .TOU file as follows (for a single division):
    1. Create a config.tsh file that defines a simple manually paired tournament with one division.
    2. Create your .t file as a copy of the player-specific lines of the NASPA tournament result file. Do not include the file header.
    3. Start tsh and verify that it loads the .t file without errors.
    4. Execute the AUPAIR command to create the .TOU file.
  • Ask John Chew to create the .TOU file for you while processing your NASPA ratings. John can also submit this file directly to Bob if you have so requested.

Regardless of the method, one should verify the spellings of the names of all participants. A number of players have spelling diffferences between their NASPA and WESPA rating records. tsh can convert certain player names, but not all possible current and future player names.

Explanation of .TOU file format

Here is a sample result file in the format submitted to NASPA (including optional information on first and second turns):

#division A
#ratingcheck off
Wiegand, Dave    2000 2 0 3; 400  50 444; p12 1 0 2
Kantimathi, Sam  1800 1 3 0; 300 502  50; p12 2 1 0
Goldman, Stuart  1600 0 2 1;  50 502 333; p12 0 2 1

Here is the corresponding .TOU file, named A.TOU (note the variation in certain names):

*M2010-12-31 Your Tournament Name
David Wiegand        2400  +2 1350   1 2444   3
Sam Kantimathi        300   1 1502  +3 1350   2
Stu Goldman          1350   3 1502   2  333  +1
*** END OF FILE ***

The first line consists of an asterisk, a capital letter M, a date in ISO 8601 format, a blank and the name of your tournament.

The second line consists of an asterisk and a capital letter that corresponds to the name of the division (and also the name of the file).

The third line consists of 39 blanks and the digit zero.

Subsequent lines, one line per player, consist of the following elements, separated by any number of blanks:

  1. The player’s first and last names, separated by a blank, as they appear in WESPA ratings.
  2. The player’s score for the first round, with 2000 added in case the player won the game, 1000 added in case the game was a tie, and 1300 added (in addition to the usual 50 spread points) in case the player received a bye.
  3. The number of the player’s opponent on the first round, with an optional plus sign prefixed in case the player had the first turn, or the player’s own number in case the player received a bye. Players are numbered sequentially starting from one, in the order in which they appear in the file.
  4. The scores and opponent numbers for each remaining round of the tournament, two columns per round, as above.

The last line consists of the string “*** END OF FILE ***”.