Congratulations to the top 20

Written by Don

Out of the nearly 900 people who started the Words With Friends monthly tournament, 20 winners have navigated a cutthroat field to make it through to round 6. After this round is complete we will be left with our top 10 and I’m left with the unenviable task of paring this back to 8 players for the quarterfinals. It’s a rather vexing problem. Out of the top 1% of players how is it possible to differentiate between the 6th best player and the 8th best player?

The answer is that you can’t. The important thing is to have an agreed upon set of rules so that everybody understands the criteria before the matches are played. This set of rules is as follows:

From the final 10 players, the top 6 will automatically go through. The bottom 4 will play in a best of 3 match up, with the two winners going through to the quarterfinals.

  1. Anybody who wins 2-0 is automatically ranked above anybody who wins 2-1
  2. For players with the same win/loss record, ranking is determined by margin of victory. This is calculated as (total points scored – total points against) / number of games

Some illustrative examples:

Player X wins 437-385, 405-404. Player Y wins 596-392, 401-402, 605-334. Player X ranks higher by rule 1

Player X wins 437-385, 405-404. Player Y wins 596-392, 605-334. Player X MOV = (842 – 789) / 2 = 26.5. Player Y MOV = (1201 – 726) / 2 = 237.5. Player Y ranks higher by rule 2

I don’t think these rules have any strategic impact. The optimal strategy is still just to play your best game. Good luck to all.

Categories: Tournament Rules

9 Responses to “Congratulations to the top 20”

  1. Debby says:

    You make valid comments. However, I would hope that the top 20 are the type of players who will complete the games and not resign. This MOV applies only to these games at this time.

    • Debby says:

      This was meant to be a reply to Anne’s comment below!

      • Michael says:


        I think Ann was saying that the MOV in her games to this point is lower than it could be because players resigned, etc. This presents an issue when determining the bottom 4 of 10 that will have to play a best of 3 to see who goes to the quarterfinals.

        If no one resigned in the games leading up to this point, player A might be ranked 5th instead of 7th due to previous MOV and therefore not forced to play an “extra” round essentially to make the quarterfinals.

        Hope that makes sense!


        • Michael says:

          Oops – after re-reading I see what you are saying. MOV does not matter until this round of 20 gets trimmed down. That makes sense; sorry for the confusion on my end!!

  2. Just play says:

    How does Anne know her “margin of victory would have been higher”….in fact how does Anne know it would have been a victory?….this could happen to any of us, its a still alevel playing field.

  3. Evil, PhD says:

    I was hoping that you’d let a few of us LOSERS back in to round out the field. :-)

  4. Anne says:

    Hi Don,

    I had a couple of players concede the game before all the tiles were played. My margin of victory would have been higher if the other player had completed the game appropriately. I suppose it is just too bad if that happens? This applies to the Daily Challenge as well. Perhaps prominently stated in the rules should be the rule that each game should be played out to the very end since the margin of victory does matter at the very end. When a player resigns midgame, the value of their tiles in hand do not count toward the winner or against the loser, right? So the loser doesnt look so bad and the winner doesnt look as good as he could.