Tournament System Introduction: Mixed System

Text/ VICTOR BADMINTON A-Z Editorial Room

After introducing badminton’s round robin, single elimination and double elimination tournament systems, we now come to the final system introduction-the mixed tournament system, which is formed from the aforementioned systems.


1. First elimination, then round robin system

2. First round robin, then elimination system

As the name suggests, the mixed system involves using either the elimination system first and then the round robin system or the other way around. To give an actual example, first elimination, then round robin, involves the use of the elimination system first, and then the champion, second and first places are decided using the round robin system; the other way around can also be used, that is, first round robin, then elimination system, with the qualifying round using the round robin system and then the quarter final, semi-final and final (usually using the last eight or last four) using the elimination system.

As well as coupling the elimination and round robin systems, a mixing method that involves a single system carried out in stages can be used.

For example, the round robin, round robin system involves deciding the winners of each group using the round robin system in the qualifying round and then using the round robin system again to decide the overall winners from the ranks of the qualifiers.

      3. First elimination, then elimination system

4. First round robin, then cross match system: the mixed tournament system often used in the Olympics and Asian Games


Also, there is another kind of mixed tournament system often used in the Olympics, Asian Games and other major international events—first round robin, then cross match system. Please refer to the diagram below.

First the qualifiers from each group (usually the first two) are produced by holding round robin matches and then the intermediary rounds use the elimination system.

The main aim of holding cross matches in accordance with the ranking in each group is fairness, intended to avoid the situation that sees a player (pair/team) with the potential to finish second or third knocked out because they are unlucky enough to meet the player (pair/team) with champion potential in the first intermediary round. The top player (pair/team) in Group A will play the player (pair/team) finishing second in Group B and the top player (pair/team)in Group B will play the player (pair/team) finishing second in Group A.

This kind of tournament system setting allows the best players (pairs/teams)to only meet each other in the semi-finals or final, giving spectators exciting matches to enjoy.


When to use the mixed system

The mixed system is best used when there are quite a lot of players (pairs/teams) competing, in particular when there are more than 16 teams.

No matter which of the aforementioned mixed systems is used, a different system is used in the qualifying round and the intermediary round, the aim being to both carry out the tournament efficiently and maintain the fairness of competition.

The advantages of the mixed system

Simply put, a mixed system tournament will give the better players (pairs/teams) more chance of proceeding to the intermediary round and finals, and reduce the probability of going out early due to a bad draw, making the tournament more watchable and matches more exciting.

The conditions for going through are also more flexible and can be adjusted according to the needs of each particular tournament, allowing players (pairs/teams) to compete on almost totally equal terms.

The shortcomings of the mixed system

The mixed system has two clear disadvantages.

The first is complexity of matches. Because the mixed system will require a large number of matches a situation can easily arise that see Group A finish all matches while Group B has played only half, requiring Group A’s qualifiers to wait for Group B’s qualifiers to be decided.

Second, the first round-robin, then cross match system has the risk of some players not trying in matches. For example,Team X in Group A performs worse than expected so finish second in the group. To avoid meeting Team X in the intermediary round the teams of Group B don’t want to finish top; they want to go through as second in the group so the players don’t try their best to win.

The solution is to schedule A and B group matches to be played at the same time and also add a rule- holding a new draw after the qualifiers are decided to decide which player (pair/team) plays to eliminate the motivation for engaging in the aforementioned malpractice.

After reading the series of Badminton Tournament System articles, readers should have a better understanding of the various systems used in badminton, when to use them and their advantages/shortcomings.

The common objective of all of these tournament systems is to allow players to accumulate experience in a tournament, improve their skills and serve up exciting matches for the enjoyment of spectators.

A sound tournament system makes tournaments more exciting and attractive

(Edit by VICTOR Badminton )