To comply with the ISF rules, Stratego events use the Swiss System which arranges for pairings of players with similar strengths. For the first round ISF offers two choices for pairing:
Most often the latter is used. However, the 1st round FIDE pairing is less than perfect: Let there be N players and let the players be sorted by their playing strength: 1 is the strongest and N is the weakest player. Then, supposed that N is even, player 1 plays against N/2+1, 2 plays against N/2+2, … You can be virtually certain that in the first round the stronger players win against the weaker players. This is not only frustrating for both players, but also it yields no significant information. In particular this is annoying if juniors are paired against seniors.
To avoid exceptional inhomogeneous pairings, the players can be divided into groups. SBN Stratego introduced the following nomenclature which has been accepted by ISF:
|top||Top players. Commonly they play a round-robin tournament. Top groups are rare.|
|ere||Strong players (“eredivisie” [Dutch]). Commonly they are selected by their rating.|
|1st||Weak players. Normally they are selected by their rating.|
|sp1||A technical group name without semantics (not from SBN). It is used to overcome the limitations of repeated pairing and if the players do not fit in one of the standard groups (e.g. beginner tournaments).|
|sp2||A technical group name without semantics (not from SBN). C.f. sp1.|
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