Tournament Structure

Helsinki Longsword Open 2023

Organizational hierarchy

The organizational hierarchy of the tournament consists of multiple elements that all
play a vital part in getting such a large undertaking to run smoothly.

Tournament manager – The person in charge of the tournament and for making all
final decisions during the execution of the tournament. Will be available during the

Referee – The person responsible for running all bouts on one mat.
Responsibilities include, but are not limited to, starting/stopping a bout, announcing
score, clearing up misunderstandings, giving out warnings and disqualifications.

Judges – A group of judges judge all exchanges in a bout and award points based
on their impression of what happened during each exchange.

Secretariat (a.k.a. Table) – Announcing bouts, keeping time as well as score and making sure fencers are presented with red and blue armbands.

In addition to the people filling these roles, there are three vital components to all tournaments: fencers, seconds (coaches) and audience. For the purposes of this text, “Fencers” and “Seconds” refers only to the two fencers and up to two seconds who are involved in a bout. All others are considered members of the audience. In order for a tournament to run as efficiently and correctly as possible, it is important to establish proper communication channels between all the elements involved. If the fencers or the seconds have any concerns during a bout they can address the referee by calling a timeout.

Members of the audience can direct their questions and comments to the tournament manager. The tournament manager can address the referee between exchanges should the issue warrant attention during the bout. Under no circumstances are members of the audience to address anyone involved in the ongoing bout. Anyone who has a question, complaint or comment between bouts is to direct their issue to the tournament manager.

Pool round

The fencers will be seeded and split into pools. The pools will only be final after registration on the day of the tournament. Each fencer will have one bout with all the other fencers in their pool. The result from the bout will be scored as follows:

Win: 9 match points

Draw: 6 match points

Loss: 3 match points

After the pool rounds, all the fencers are ranked, based on the following criteria (according to Hemagon, “Match points” system):

  1. Number of match points
  2. Highest match point index: number of match points divided by number of bouts fought
  3. Highest victory index: number of bouts won divided by number of bouts fought
  4. Highest index of given-to-taken hits ratio
  5. Number of hits taken

If after all these have been considered two fencers are still ranked the same, their internal bout result decides who will rank higher. If such a result does not exist their internal order in the ranking is decided by drawing lots.

During the pool round the fencers in the current pool must remain in the designated area with their equipment on.

If a fencer forfeits a bout, the result for that bout will be recorded as a victory for the opponent with the relevant maximum points (10) to 0 points. This applies regardless of the current score at the time of the forfeit. The winner gains 9 match points and the loser 0.

If a fencer withdraws from the tournament or is disqualified during the pool round, that pool will be handled as if the fencer never participated in the tournament. This applies regardless of the number of bouts fought in the pool.

Elimination rounds

After the pool round, the tournament moves on to the elimination rounds, where each fencer will continue to fight bouts until they suffer a defeat. The elimination rounds start with the highest ranking fencer meeting the lowest ranking fencer that made it to the first elimination round according to the examples below:

The number of fencers advancing to the elimination rounds will be decided based on the number of participants. This means that there can be fewer fencers in the eliminations than shown above. It is also possible that the highest ranking fencers will fight one elimination round less than the rest. This depends on the number of participants and will be announced at the same time as the pools.

If a fencer withdraws from the tournament or is disqualified before the elimination trees are published, the fencer is removed from the ranking and everyone below moves up one place.

If a fencer withdraws from the tournament or is disqualified after the elimination trees are published, the fencer will be considered to lose the forthcoming bout, resulting in a walk-over for the opponent.

Fight for third and first places

The fights for third and first places in the tournament will be decided by Best of Three (Bo3) bouts with a 1 minute break in between. Every single bout will be conducted as a bout in the pool rounds (i.e., draws are possible).

Once a fencer wins two bouts, or wins one bout and has two draws, the fight is won. In case the bout is a draw after 3 rounds, the bout goes to sudden death, with the first fencer scoring at least one point winning the bout.