This is a general chronological checklist for running a tournament on Tabroom. It's not comprehensive, but it should help remind you of things you probably want to do at each stage of the tournament. For a more extensive explanation of each item, see the relevant section of the full manual. If you're not an experienced tabber, you should start with the Tournament Quick Start instead.
You might want to print off a copy of this checklist, and then check off each item as you complete it or decide it's not applicable to your tournament. Going roughly in the order presented here is recommended - it helps avoid problems if you follow advice like configuring judge groups before events, for example.
As Early As Possible
- Request a tournament on Tabroom.
- Double check your dates, as many of the default deadlines are based off what you enter. Tweak any of the deadlines as you see fit.
- List your tournament in the correct circuit so it shows up on the main calendar.
Before Online Registration Opens
- Tournament Setup - go through each page of the Settings menu and decide if each available option applies to you.
- Settings - Tournament
- Name & Info Tab - upload your Invitation document, and if applicable, Congress packet.
- Settings Tab - Most tournaments should check "Require adult contact info to register," "Log registration changes," and "Publish list of registered schools."
- Settings Tab - If not using online registration, check "Closed tournament; admin staff registers."
- Settings Tab - If using Online On-Site Registration, enable it and set the deadlines.
- Access Tab - give access to any of your tournament staff who will be using the website, helping enter ballots, start rounds, etc.
- Housing Tab - if your tournament offers housing, configure it here, and see the longer section of the manual on housing.
- Messages Tab - if you need to set a special message for invoices (such as a mailing address), registration, or waitlist admission, set them here.
- Settings - Rules & Results
- Decide if the built-in Tiebreak sets are sufficient, or if your league rules require setting up your own. Create them if necessary.
- For each Tiebreak set you use, decide if you want to uncheck the box for "No shows/forfeits cannot break/advance."
- If you have speech events, decide if your speech tiebreaks will use "Truncate Ranks" and configure them on the Tiebreakers tab.
- If you give Sweepstakes awards, configure a rule set on the Sweepstakes tab.
- If your tournament gives NDCA Points or TOC bids, configure them on the "Points & Bids" tab.
- Settings - Judges (Repeat for each judge group)
- Create judge groups. Most tournaments will have one judge group for all IE's, one for congress, and one for each division of debate events. Some tournaments use a combined judge group for all divisions of a single debate event (i.e. one judge group for both open and novice CX). Make sure to give each judge group an abbreviation.
- Register Tab - Most tournament will want to check "Suppress Judge Codes (names only)" and "Publish the list of judges online" so judges can find themselves more easily.
- Register Tab - Check the option for "Ask for judge phone #s at registration" - It's almost always good to collect as much contact info as you can.
- Register Tab - If using online ballots, consider checking the "Require judges to have linked accounts" option. It will offload some of the linking to pre-tournament, rather than during round 1.
- Register Tab - set one of the two judge burden methods, usually "Entries per judge owed" for IE's, or "Rounds owed per entry" for debate.
- Register Tab - set a fee for missed rounds of judging.
- Hires Tab - If offering hired judging or using a hiring exchange, use the Hires tab to configure.
- Tabbing Tab - Check the box for "Judges can get the same event twice" unless it's an IE judge pool with lots of extra judges.
- Tabbing Tab - Most tournaments will want to check "Allow panels w/ same school judges."
- Tabbing Tab - If using MPJ, decide if you want to adjust the MPJ placement weights. If not, the defaults are fine.
- Ratings Tab - If using MPJ, configure on the Ratings tab by choosing a "Pref Method" and, if applicable, using the "MPJ Tiers" tab to configure tiers.
- Part Timers Tab - if you predict a large number of part-time judges, such as "Saturday Only" judges, configure part-timer blocks.
- Pools Tab - Create a Judge Pool for each elim round, which you will auto-populate later with only obligated judges.
- Settings - Events (Repeat for each event)
- Create Events. The "Add New Event" form has a variety of options you should set for all events. Make sure to give each event an abbreviation, set an entry fee for the event, set the minimum/maximum number of competitors per entry (they will be 1 or 2 unless you have an exotic event), ensure the event is in the right judge group, and choose an entry code format under "Designate entries." Also make sure to set the correct "Event Type" (e.g. Policy, LD, Speech) - only use the generic "Debate" for non-standard events.
- Registration Tab - If you need to set an entry cap, do so here.
- Tabulation Tab - Choose a "Preset seeding" method. If using a method other than "random" make sure to add preset seeds after you have all your entries.
- Tabulation Tab - Choose a tiebreak set to use for speaker awards, if applicable for each event.
- Tabulation Tab - Check the "Use live updates (Text/Email)" box.
- Tabulation Tab - If using Online Ballots, check the "Online Ballot Entry" box.
- Tabulation Tab - Set a minimum and maximum for speaker points, and if applicable, online ballot points.
- Tabulation Tab - Set the "Point Increments." Most tournaments use either .10 or Half. Choose whether to allow Tied Points.
- Tabulation Tab - Set the option for "Auto-publish results once next round is paired" to "Full Results." That way, you don't have to worry about manually setting each round's results to public.
- Tabulation Tab - For most tournaments, check the box for "Allow repeat judging in elims."
- Tabulation Tab - If you have a very small tournament or very tight judging pool. consider using some of the options in the "Judging" section to remove some common judging restraints (such as allowing repeat judging."
- Ballot & Rules Tab - If desired, add a message/point scale to the ballot.
- If allowing double-entry, configure double-entry limits after configuring all events.
- Settings - Schedule
- Create Timeslots for each day of the tournament. Usually, you will want a separate timeslot for each round of each event, even if the times are the same, to more easily facilitate changing the schedule if necessary. Make sure timeslots don't start at the same time as the previous timeslot (e.g. use 8-9:30 and 10-11:30, NOT 8-10 and 10-12).
- Schedule rounds for each event into the appropriate timeslots. Add a label for each elim round. Make sure to set the round type (Prelim, Hi/Lo, Elim, etc) and a Tiebreak set for each round.
- Double check the schedule again, and make sure you have a round type and tiebreak set for each round. The most common problems are created by failing to double check the schedule.
- If double-flighting an event, set the number of flights on the schedule.
- Settings - Sites & Rooms
- Create a site for your tournament, and if necessary a separate site for your hotel (if holding elims there). Then add all your rooms to the site. Include quality ratings for each room if desired.
- Create a room pool for each event (or at least each judge group), and place the appropriate rooms into each pool.
- Assign every round of every event to the appropriate room pool. Verify that you haven't schedule the same room in two different pools during the same timeslot.
- Settings - Money
- Use the C.R.E.A.M. box to scan through all your entry fees, judge fees, and nuisance fines. Most should already have been set during your judge group and event setup.
- If offering concessions, configure t hem.
- Settings - Website
- Add any desired information to the standard website pages - for example, consider putting the text of your invitation on the "Main Page" so it's the first thing people see.
- Take note of your tournament website address, for publicizing during registration and once the tournaments starts as a centralized location for tournament info.
While Registration Is Open
- Monitor your entries to see where your numbers are, for planning room needs, food, necessary hires, etc.
- If using a waitlist, manage accepting entries off the waitlist at predetermined times.
- If manually managing hired judging, keep an eye on hired judge requests.
- Contact any schools with obviously incomplete entries, large numbers of TBA slots, fake judges, insufficient judging, etc.
- Badger registrants several times to provide judge contact info - it will help immensely once the tournament starts.
- If you receive checks/payments from registered schools, record their payments on their invoice so they can see their outstanding balance.
After Registration Closes
- Remove empty schools - use Entries - Data - Empty Schools to remove empty schools from your registration.
- Drop/Delete all TBA's - use Entries - Data to get rid of TBA slots that ended up unclaimed.
- Evaluate judging needs for each event, and ensure you have sufficient judging to run the tournament - otherwise, hire or beg for more rounds
- Evaluate room needs for each event, adjust room pools as necessary, and ensure you have sufficient rooms in each timeslot for each event.
- Use Entries - Reports to get any other information that might help you with tournament planning, such as total entry numbers, diet restrictions, concessions totals, overall tournament finances, etc.
- Recode all events - Sometimes unnecessary, but can be helpful to use Entries - Data - Codes & Names to recode the entry codes for all events and judges, to ensure a consistent nomenclature and account for any name changes.
- Check the Shenanigans report in Entries - Reports and resolve all potential problems (like double-entered judges).
- Scan the "Coach Notes" column in the list of all judges in each judge group, and manually enter any constraints or time strikes listed - coaches frequently put this information here and forget to tell you.
- If you did registration externally (e.g. on Joy of Tournaments) and need to import it, use Entries - Data to input all your schools/entries/judges.
- If an NSDA member school entered your tournament, you'll have an additional option on the "Main" tab for each event's settings to select an NSDA event type. This will enable your tournament results to have NSDA points "autoposted," so make sure you set this for each event.
2-3 Days Before
- If using MPJ, verify you have set the times for prefs to open/close, and remind your registrants of the deadlines.
- As the deadline for prefs approaches, use Entries - Reports - Prefs Totals to see the status of prefs and remind people to finish them.
1 Day Before
- Make any registration changes that have been emailed to you, since registrants will no longer be able to do it themselves.
- If using online on-site registration, make sure it's active and monitor the status as schools check in
- If doing in-person registration, print out all the invoices and other desired registration materials
- As each school checks in, record any payments on their invoice, and mark them as "Registered" or "Registered and Paid" as appropriate.
- Make any last-minute registration changes, drops, etc.
- Try to gather as much judge contact info as possible, and if using online registration, encourage judges to link their accounts and distribute information on how to do so.
- Scan all settings again - it's likely you missed something the first time around, so verify that everything looks good before you start pairing.
- Make a backup - Once all your registration changes have been made, use Entries - Data to export all your tournament data to a backup, just in case of emergency. You may also want to create a periodic backup by exporting a PDF of cards in Paneling - Reports - Tab Sheets.
- If using online ballots, approve any pending requests to link judges.
- Check for any ADA needs in Entries - Reports, and reserve rooms as appropriate.
Pairing Presets (Night Before)
- If using a preset method other than random, ensure you have entered preset seeds for all entries.
- For speech events, use the Mass Assign function to panel all your prelims and assign rooms and judges.
- For debate events, pair your presets from the schematic, and assign judges and rooms.
- If using MPJ, scan the pairing for any major pref-related problems, and look for any easy judge swaps that might improve it.
- Verify that all rounds have a complete pairing, sufficient judges, and sufficient rooms. If so, you're ready to go.
- Use the "Disaster Check" function for a final confirmation there's nothing horribly wrong.
- If using paper for anything, print out schematics, postings, ballots, seating charts, etc.
- Make a backup of the tournament data, just in case.
30-60 Minutes Before Round 1
- Make the round public - use the "Share & Enjoy" section on the schematic to post the round to the web and text/email blast participants.
- Deal with morning-of late drops/no-shows. When easily fixable, try to make small adjustments to the pairing to avoid too many byes. If necessary, give byes to deal with drops.
- Start the process of helping unlinked judges get their accounts linked, and monitor pending requests.
- As the start time for the round approaches, start pushing ballots that haven't been picked up, or that aren't marked as "Started" online. You may want to send a tab person around to rooms to see if judges have shown up but forgotten to pick up their ballot or press "Start."
- If you need to push a ballot, click their name on the schematic and try to find a replacement in the dropdown box. Then, remember to remove (or remove and fine) the original judge.
At Start Time
- Verify all rounds have started - send someone around to all the rooms with the Tabbing - Status screen open on their phone/tablet and mark each debate as started.
- If using online ballots, monitor the status of the round by looking at the schematic or the Tabbing - Status screen.
- If using paper ballots, start entering ballots as they arrive (usually, twice).
For Each Subsequent Prelim
- Once all the ballots from the previous round are entered, pair the next round.
- Tweak the pairing as necessary, including looking for ways to improve MPJ.
- Monitor your judging situation, including remaining rounds of obligation and preference. Consider tweaking MPJ weights if necessary.
- Run the "Disaster Check" before releasing the pairing, just to be sure.
- Make the pairing public, including text/email blasting it when ready.
- Set the previous round's results to "Public" on the schematic.
- Print pairings and ballots as necessary.
- Make a backup - Use Entries - Data and Paneling - Reports - Tab Sheets to keep a regular backup of the state of your tournament, just in case.
Before The First Elim
- Check the "Round Settings" to verify the correct number of judges per panel and correct pool usage.
- Look at the current seed order of teams to help inform how many teams to break.
- From the schematic, use the "Auto-Break" function to pair the round, then assign judges and rooms.
- If pairing elims overnight, choose whether to make "Alphabetical list on web" public from the schematic.
- Release/Blast the round at the desired time.
For Each Subsequent Elim
- Auto-Populate the judge pool for that elim with the remaining obligated judges, and manually add anyone else you know is available.
- Check the "Round Settings" to verify the correct number of judges per panel and correct pool usage.
- Pair, Release, and Blast the round.
- If externally calculated, enter your sweepstakes points in Tabbing - Enter Sweeps.
- Print awards and results - Use Results - Reports to generate any information you need to run the awards ceremony.
After The Tournament
- Use the Results - Web Publish menu to ensure all results are posted, and make sure each individual round has its results set to "Public" on the schematic.
- Sleep in.