Home and away: Not a daytime drama but a squash scheduling story

Louie, Ken (2020) Home and away: Not a daytime drama but a squash scheduling story. 15th ANZIAM Mathsport, Wellington, New Zealand, 9-11 November, 2020.

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Official URL: https://www.anziam.org.au/The+15th+Australasian+Co...

Abstract or Summary

Squash Waikato is responsible for organising Winter and Spring interclub competition for the 25 affiliated clubs in the Waikato district of New Zealand. The Winter competition typically consists of up to 120 teams playing in graded eight-team divisions from April to July whilst the Spring competition has approximately 100 teams in smaller six-team divisions playing from August to October. The format is weekly games in a double round robin tournament for each division. This is followed by semi-finals for the top four placed teams and then a grand final for the winning semi-finalists. Women and men play in separate competitions on different nights and the numbers of women’s teams is smaller. The clubs vary in size from two to six courts. Some clubs enter only one team into either the men’s or women’s competition whilst some have up to 14 teams in both. The number of team entries is not necessarily related to club size. The Waikato district covers a large geographical region, requiring five hours driving between the most distant clubs. Scheduling of home and away round-robin fixtures for tournaments has been extensively researched in other sports. In a double round-robin tournament each team plays every other team in their division twice, once at their HOME venue and again at the opponents’ venue (AWAY). If the tournament is mirrored, the second half of the draw is a repetition of the first half, with only the venue being reversed. Theoretical results for scheduling a mirrored double round-robin tournament so that no team has more than 3 successive AWAY fixtures are available in the literature. This is a highly desirable feature for the Squash Waikato interclub competition given the distances between some clubs. The novel aspects for squash scheduling in the Waikato district are the highly variable number of teams entered by each club and the number of courts available for home fixtures. For example, in the men’s Winter league one club having three courts had entered eight teams whilst a six-court club entered six teams. These clubs would have a team: home court ratio of 8:3 and 1:1 respectively. Squash NZ is the governing body for the sport in New Zealand and has provided software to all districts to help prepare interclub schedules (iSquash interclub module). However, this software does not minimise the home and away breaks which can lead to long stretches of multiple home or away fixtures for some teams. It also does not account for the highly variable team: home court ratio. This paper addresses how we used the theoretical results available from the literature to produce a schedule with minimum away breaks whilst also accounting for the highly variable team: home court ratio. This has been used to significantly improve the default iSquash schedule for the Winter and Spring interclub competition events in the Waikato district. It is hoped that this procedure can be automated in a future version of the software.

Item Type:Paper presented at a conference, workshop or other event, and published in the proceedings
Keywords that describe the item:Squash, mirrored double round-robin tournament scheduling, minimising
Subjects:Q Science > QA Mathematics
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA76 Computer software
Divisions:Schools > Centre for Sport Science and Human Performance
ID Code:7395
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Deposited On:05 Nov 2020 04:47
Last Modified:05 Nov 2020 04:47

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