DTTA s Division A Team

Table Tennis Tournament Format

Competition and Tournament Systems of PlayWhat types of competition and tournament systems of play are there?
Which is best? Find out here...

Many table tennis clubs organise competitions or tournaments for their members, but what playing system should you use?

Which system of play is best?

Well, it depends on a number of factors including whether you want to hold an or a .

So let's take a look at some different competition and tournament systems of play and look at their advantages and disadvantages.

by courtesy of the ITTF

^ ^

Basic systems for individual events

There are two basic competition and tournament systems of play that you can use for individual events.

They are the simple knock-out system and the group / round-robin system.

So let's take a quick look at each of these and discover the advantages and disdavantages of each one.

1. Simple Knock-out

Simple Knock-out - Winnerby courtesy of the ITTF

This system is used for all the major tournaments including the Olympic Games, World Championships, World Cup and ITTF World Tour.

How it works:

  • Players are allocated or drawn in pairs
  • Winners continue to play in successive rounds until only one player remains unbeaten
  • Losers are knocked-out


  • Simple to understand
  • Needs the fewest number of matches and therefore can be completed in the shortest time


  • Half of the players are eliminated in the first round
  • Does not produce a final ranking order

2. Group / Round-robin

  • Players are allocated or drawn into groups containing 3, 4 or 5 players
  • Each player plays every other player in their group
  • The results of matches


  • A pre-determined number of players (usually the top one or two) progress from each group into a knock-out competition, whilst the others are eliminated
  • Guarantees that all players will have more than one match
  • Provides a final ranking order for each group
  • No 'final' within each group
  • No certainty that the last group match played will decide the group winner
  • The number of matches rises rapidly as the size of the group increases. Therefore you usually need to limit the number of players in each group to a maximum of 5.
  • Takes longer to play all matches
Source: www.allabouttabletennis.com
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