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Re(1): Magic City to host U.S. National Jai-Alai Championship 4/25-26/2020

Bravo to Scott Savin for having the 2020 foresight to choose alternating serves for the U.S. National Jai-Alai Championship.

I wrote a little simulation to prove exactly how and why the traditionally scoring system fails in terms of producing a fair and accurate result. But I will spare everyone from the "boring statistics" this time. (available upon request however)

So let's just say that in the event of a match-up of 2 equal players who each have a 60-40 probability of winning a point on serve, you will find that the both the match outcomes and the margins of victory are seriously more accurate with alternating serves. And of course the problem only gets worse as you get greater disparity in serve / receive percentages.

Otherwise, maybe these sports should switch to jai-alai style, where the side with the advantage gets to stay on offense:

Baseball - Team A scored 2 or more runs in the top of the inning - as a reward they get 3 more outs and continue batting in the bottom of the inning.

Football - Team A had a great TD drive - 80 yards in 12 plays - earning the right to stay on offense starting back at their own 30 yard line.

Tennis - Wow, Big Server A just smoked his service game in 4 straight points, including 2 aces. His opponent, Big Server B, was planning on returning the favor, but nope, Big Server A has won the right to keep on serving in the next game.

My point is that the entire world seems to have figured out that if fairness is the goal, then TURN-BASED is the only way to go. All the more so if being on offense is especially advantageous.

One more case in point: Chess.

Having the white pieces is a big advantage in the hands of skilled players. So it is not surprising that even in the first official World Championship in 1886, the players alternated between starting with white and black pieces. That factoid got me thinking, and it turns out that the first unofficial world championship, the famous La Bourdonnais – McDonnell matches also used alternation. Anyone curious can examine Match 1 for themselves. (ignore the draws - they were regarded as 'do-overs') Clearly, they understood the need to alternate was understood back in 1834.

To bring this back to jai-alai and Magic City, you could have 2 players whose overall game is decent, but owing to being the first time on that court they are having trouble fielding the serve. Since the first round is only 6 points, just a few quick consecutive serve drops and they are halfway out of it. But alternation gives them a little more time to adjust and maybe survive to the next round.

Aside from all that, this tournament sounds fantastic. Any player who gets his game together has a chance to take it all, and face some quality opponents along the way.


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