Competitive Typing Tournament, Ruleset and Guidelines

Competitive Typing Tournaments

Preliminary Guidelines and Rules (by Nico Borst)


Tournament Structure


In an effort to bring competitive, high-level typing to a wider audience and create more competition, I’ve devised some basic rules and guidelines. My goal is to create a rudimentary layout for the tournament structure that will foster a universal standard. The tournament system incorporates double-elimination brackets and pools, ideas inspired by other competitive games like Super Smash Bros. and individual sports such as fencing or tennis.

Tournaments that incorporate this format should be played in a physical setting. I will update future blog posts with related ideas incorporating stream/venue setup, rating systems, online tournament possibilities, etc.

Overall Layout

Players will compete against each other in a one-versus-one style in a Double Elimination bracket. Victories are decided by the first person in a match to win two-out-of-three sets[1] against their opponent on[2].

Prior to the Double Elimination Bracket, players will be split up into pools based on their Preliminary Seeding. Matches in pools will be shorter than those in bracket. Players will only play to one set (as opposed to two-out-of three,) and the amount of games in a set may be fewer. Each player then gets a Tournament Seeding based off of their results in pools, and proceeds to Double Elimination, where the highest seed faces the lowest seed, second-highest seed faces the second-lowest seed, third-highest seed faces the third-lowest seed, etc.

Byes are awarded to higher-seeded players in the first round of brackets when the tournament does not have exactly a power of two number of players. For example, a 64-player tournament will have no byes, but a 60-player tournament will have 4 byes.

Depending on the size and scope of the tournament, TOs (Tournament Organizers) may decide how to award victories in quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals. Some may opt to increase the number of sets required to win in these higher rounds, changing the standard two-out-of-three set victory requirement to three-out-of-five, for example.


To determine who faces whom before brackets, all players in the tournament will be split up into smaller pools to get a Tournament Seeding. To determine who gets pooled into what pool will be based on their Preliminary Seeding[3] before entering the tournament, followed by random placement.

Each pool should be as-equal-as-possible in terms of player strength. For example, in a 64-person tournament, imagine there are 4 A-Rated players, 6 B-Rated players, 8 C-Rated players, 10 D-Rated players, 16 E-Rated players, and 20 unrated players.

The pools would be grouped in the following way.

Pool 1 Pool 2 Pool 3 Pool 4 Pool 5 Pool 6 Pool 7 Pool 8


Within each player’s Preliminary Seeding, if they have an equal rank, they are randomly dispersed among each pool. For example, if each A-Rated player had an equal Preliminary Seeding, they could randomly be put into any of the above pools 1 through 4.

Pools will then be organized in the following way:

Pool 1 Player 1 (A) Player 2 (B) Player 3 (C) Player 4 (D) Player 5 (E) Player 6 (E) Player 7 (U) Player 8 (U)
Player 1 (A)
Player 2 (B)
Player 3 (C)
Player 4 (D)
Player 5 (E)
Player 6 (E)
Player 7 (U)
Player 8 (U)


Match order will also be set up to avoid players having to play back-to-back matches. A possible order of matches could be as follows (read left to right):

2-3 1-5 7-4 6-8 1-2 3-4 5-6
8-7 4-1 5-2 8-3 6-7 4-2 8-1
7-5 3-6 2-8 5-4 6-1 3-7 4-8
2-6 3-5 1-7 4-6 8-5 7-2 1-3


As the match results are filled into the pool data, victories are denoted with a “V” and defeats with a “D” followed by the number of games won. For example, if player 2 faces player 3, and player 3 wins with 10 games to player 2’s 6 games, Player 2’s win will be recorded with a V10 and player 2’s loss with a D6.[4]

A fully populated table may then look like this.

Pool 1 Player 1 (A) Player 2 (B) Player 3 (C) Player 4 (D) Player 5 (E) Player 6 (E) Player 7 (U) Player 8 (U)
Player 1 (A) V10 V10 V10 V10 V10 V10 V10
Player 2 (B) D8 D9 D9 V10 V10 V10 V10
Player 3 (C) D7 V10 V10 D8 V10 D6 V10
Player 4 (D) D8 V10 D3 D6 V10 V10 V10
Player 5 (E) D5 D2 V10 V10 V10 D7 V10
Player 6 (E) D5 D1 D5 D7 D4 V10 V10
Player 7 (U) D2 D2 V10 D8 V10 D9 V10
Player 8 (U) D0 D3 D2 D0 D2 D1 D3


These results are then used to calculate the tournament seeding, which is done as follows.

  1. Calculate the Win/Lose ratio. For example, Player 4 has a 4/3 Win/Lose ratio: 1.33
  2. This is followed by the indicator, which is the sum total of all games won minus games lost. In Player 4’s case, they would have an indicator of 57-54: +3.
  3. If the win/lose ratio is the same as well as the indicator for multiple players, the next determining factor is the gross total of all games won in the pool.
  4. It is still possible multiple players will have identical scores after steps one through three, and thus their seed will be appended with the letter “T” denoting it as a tied score.

With these results gathered from pools, each player will be listed on a table with their tournament seeding. Players will proceed to play a standard double elimination bracket, seed 1-64, 2-63, 3-62, 4-61, etc.

Looking Forward

Finding a way to establish a standard, let alone for a new and growing e-sport, is no easy task. Thus, the proposed plan of action is purely theoretical, as we have yet to see competitive typing and tournament scenarios coalesce. Readers may be skeptical of a rating system at first, considering introductory tournaments will have a wide-array of skill levels all unrated. Because of this inevitable dilemma, players will find that the strength of players in pools will be more random than balanced initially. This will stabilize over time. Regardless of placements out of pools, any player has the potential to place first in any tournament. As time goes on, skilled players will place higher and get ratings, thus further balancing the system of pools and awarding those who succeed.

Growing and organizing will be difficult. Standards will need to be founded, rules and norms will need to be established. To undertake this monstrous task, we as a community of competitive typists need to explore these uncharted territories together. Communication is tantamount to success.

I am eager to hear your thoughts, opinions, and potential plans on instituting these or similar ideas. Let’s move forward together one keystroke at a time.

[1] A set is defined as a certain number of games (ex. 5, 10, or 15 games).

[2] As the community develops further for competitive typing, better alternatives for TypeRacer may emerge or be developed in the future, but as it stands TypeRacer is the most realistic and fair way of measuring typing speed and ability, compared to other popular alternatives such as “Nitro Type” (which has unfair, out-of-game advantages as well as no backspace required to fix mistakes) or “10 Fast Fingers” (which does not utilize punctuation or enforce accurate typing.)

[3] Preliminary Seeding is based off ratings of players from previous tournaments. All players begin unrated, but by winning or placing high in rated tournaments, players may become rated. Rating will be a nationwide system in the United States, denoted by a letter grade (A, B, C, D, E or U (unrated)) and two digits representing the year in which they received that rating.

[4] The number of games won for the victor may be omitted in the table since it will simply be the same for everyone (the number of games in the set). The letter “D” may also be omitted for the loser, with simply a number sufficing, for short-hand.


  1. This is a great example of tournament design to submit for sponsors. I would be in favor of this, and also 10fastfinger test based tournaments or mixed challenges. Thanks, Nico!

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