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ZooChat Cup - rebooted

Discussion in 'ZooChat Cup' started by CGSwans, 28 Jul 2019.

  1. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    Definitely empathize with that :p I sometimes have trouble speaking to people on a small scale, never mind on a large scale on a formal occasion!
     
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  2. HOMIN96

    HOMIN96 Well-Known Member

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    As someone who was nominated by classmates to do the graduation speech two years ago and who will be probably nominated again in coming spring, I can so relate to that :D
     
  3. CGSwans

    CGSwans Well-Known Member

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    Nailed the speech.
     
  4. CGSwans

    CGSwans Well-Known Member

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    Alright, let’s bring ourselves up to speed again.

    Group A2

    Africa - Wroclaw 46 d Berlin Tierpark 32
    Africa - Omaha 43 d Munich 20
    North America & Europe- Munich 53 d Berlin Tierpark 49
    Asia - Omaha 56 d Wroclaw 31

    Omaha 2 wins, 0 losses, 66.4%
    Wroclaw 1 win, 1 loss, 47.3%
    Munich 1 win, 1 loss, 41.9%
    Berlin TP 0 wins, 2 losses, 44.5%

    This one’s pretty simple. Omaha is through. The Tierpark is done after what was, to me, a bit of a boil over loss to Munich. That sets up Wroclaw vs Munich for what is essentially an elimination final. Wroclaw goes through with a win or tie. Munich just needs the win. The remaining topics are South & Central America, or Australia & Islands, and I’m not sure I know which one favours which zoo. I guess that’s what the debate is for!

    Given the other Berlin’s travails (more on that below), Munich’s really the only German zoo with a clear path to the final eight. Who’d have thought, eh?


    Group B2

    Asia - Chester53 d Berlin Zoo 37
    Asia - Vienna 53 d Taronga 22
    Australia & Islands - Taronga 66 d Chester 45
    North America & Europe - Vienna 53 d Berlin Zoo 37

    Vienna 2 wins, 0 losses, 64.8%
    Chester 1 win, 1 loss, 49.7%
    Taronga 1 win, 1 loss, 44.4%
    Berlin Zoo 0 wins, 2 losses, 41.1%

    This is slightly more complicated but in essence, Vienna is through and Chester probably is too, meaning that barring a surprise result both Berlins, and both European Cup finalists, are gone.

    To squeeze through, Berlin Zoo needs to wipe the floor with Taronga on one of the remaining two categories (South & Central America or Africa), which seems plausible enough. Where it gets into trouble, though, is that it also needs Vienna to not only beat Chester on one of those categories, but to do it by enough that Berlin can close an 8.6% gap on percentage.

    A clean sweep with 100% of the votes against Taronga would boost Berlin’s percentage up to 60.7, which would easily surpass Chester, but if, say, a consensus formed around voting 2-1 for Berlin then it would only jump up to 49.7, which is where Chester is right now.

    None of it matters if Chester beats Vienna which, looking at the two remaining categories, it’s a pretty good chance of doing.


    Group C2

    North America & Europe - Bronx 51 d Beauval 30
    North America & Europe - Rotterdam 40 d Denver 29
    Asia - Bronx 54 d Rotterdam 39
    South America - Beauval 61 d Denver 23

    Bronx 2 wins, 0 losses, 60.6%
    Beauval 1 win, 1 loss, 54.8%
    Rotterdam 1 win, 1 loss, 50%
    Denver 0 wins, 2 losses, 34.7%

    This is another group like A2 above, where one zoo - Bronx - is safely through and next plays Denver, which cannot advance. That means Beauval and Rotterdam have an effective elimination match, with either Africa or Australia & Islands as the decisive category. Having been to both zoos my instinctive sense is that the category could play a big part in deciding this one, but we shall see.

    Bronx, the American champion, is a quiet little engine that could in this competition: it’s bounced back from successive one point defeats and is now safely in the top eight, having inflicted the only defeats so far suffered by both Beauval and Rotterdam. Peaking at the right time, perhaps?


    Group D2

    Australia & Islands - Plzen 50 d Cologne 46
    Australia & Islands - Zurich 70 d San Diego 32
    Asia - San Diego 58 d Plzen 47
    South America - Zurich 69 d Cologne 24

    Zurich - 2 wins, 0 losses, 71.4%
    Plzen - 1 win, 1 loss, 48.5%
    San Diego - 1 win, 1 loss, 43.3%
    Cologne - 0 wins, 2 losses, 47.9%

    Zurich has thus far made a mockery of the second round’s marquee group. Favourable draws has helped Zurich run rampant over both Cologne and San Diego, giving it such a commanding lead on percentage that it really should be home safe.

    Except it isn’t. The two remaining categories are Africa and North America & Europe: Zurich is weak in one and almost a non-starter in the other, and Plzen is strong in both. I don’t think there’s any real doubt about the win-loss result in that match, but the margin could yet matter. Zurich probably only needs a few points to shut out San Diego, but it might not get them, in which case even a moderate San Diego win will see it displace Zurich.

    Barring a shock defeat Plzen is almost assured of advancing, for which one man, a certain aficionado of infused-beverages, can claim almost total credit. @TeaLovingDave’s comprehensive photo essay advancing Plzen’s claims against Cologne in the first match, on the topic of Australia & Islands, was what dragged the Czech zoo over the line. I can’t stress this enough, folks: arguing your case for how you are voting *can* make an enormous difference in this competition.

    Cologne, alas, is done for. Good one, Dave.




    Now, a quick note about how we’re going to proceed from here because I’m going to vary things just slightly.

    I’m conscious that we are approaching Christmas and that some of you might have less time for fantasy zoo competitions: I would insist on people keeping priorities in order but I *did* just skip a few days to be best man in a wedding, so I feel ill-equipped to now demand that you do the right thing and focus on the Cup instead of festive activities with family and friends.

    What I’m going to do is run the two ‘elimination final’ matches from Groups A2 and C2 from today, and then once they’re done we will hold the two effective dead rubbers in those groups. That second pair of matches is likely, at this point, to encompass Christmas Day so I want to put the least important matches on the days when people are most likely to be unable to participate. After Christmas we will hold groups B2 and D2 as pairs like normal.

    We’re getting to the business end now, folks.
     
  5. amur leopard

    amur leopard Well-Known Member

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    Oh well, I have worked out the species lists in both scenarios and Beauval wins 47-23 in Africa and 9-2 in Australia and Islands from memory. It will still be close, because Rotterdam has some excellent enclosures dotted around the zoo.

    As for the other tie, Wroclaw wins South America 17-13 and wins again 9-5 in Australia and Islands :)

    Can't wait for the games to begin! :)
    Thank you for organising this so well even in the wake of a highly stressful experience and in the midst of festivities - I am grateful as I am sure others are. :)
     
    Last edited: 20 Dec 2019
  6. CGSwans

    CGSwans Well-Known Member

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    You’re welcome, but it was much more stressful for the groom: he didn’t know what I was going to say in my speech.
     
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  7. amur leopard

    amur leopard Well-Known Member

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    Oh yes :eek:
    In the most recent wedding I attended the best man said something rather embarrassing which, it turned out, the groom hadn't actually told his wife. :eek:
    It turned out fine in the end, but....
     
  8. antonmuster

    antonmuster Well-Known Member

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    Those numbers can't be right: 71.4%+48.5%+43.3%+47.9%=211.1%

    Australia & Islands - Plzen 50 d Cologne 46 => 52.1% : 47.9%
    Australia & Islands - Zurich 70 d San Diego 32 => 68.6% : 31.4%
    Asia - San Diego 58 d Plzen 47 => 55.2% : 44.8%
    South America - Zurich 69 d Cologne 24 => 74.2% : 25.8%

    Zurich - 2 wins, 0 losses, 71.4%
    Plzen - 1 win, 1 loss, 48.4%
    San Diego - 1 win, 1 loss, 43.3%
    Cologne - 0 wins, 2 losses, 36.9%
     
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  9. CGSwans

    CGSwans Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for that. The Cologne one is just a straight up transcribing error. The Plzen one is a rounding error that I would have double checked if it were close enough to matter (and everything does get checked at the conclusion of each group stage anyway). For the purposes of this update I was just doing back of the envelope calculations.
     
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  10. HOMIN96

    HOMIN96 Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't point this out, I would have done it :D I mean at this point, I think I owe Dave at least a full-guided tour through Plzen when we eventually meet there (and we both know it's going to happen, sooner or later, right Dave?) :D as he has done so much for Plzen's case
     
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  11. CGSwans

    CGSwans Well-Known Member

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    Alright, we’re down to our final eight. Let’s look at how we got here.

    Group A2

    Africa - Wroclaw 46 d Berlin Tierpark 32
    Africa - Omaha 43 d Munich 20
    North America & Europe- Munich 53 d Berlin Tierpark 49
    Asia - Omaha 56 d Wroclaw 31
    Australia & Islands – Wroclaw 41 d Munich 16
    South & Central America – Berlin Tierpark 27 d Omaha 24

    Omaha 2 wins 1 loss, 59.9%
    Wroclaw 2 wins, 1 loss, 55.5%

    Berlin Tierpark 1 win, 2 losses, 47.3%
    Munich 1 win, 2 losses, 37.3%

    Omaha cruises through, despite a dead rubber loss to Berlin Tierpark, and Wroclaw wasn’t greatly troubled either. The zoo that should wonder what might have been is the Tierpark. It was just a couple of points away from a win over Munich that would have in turn put it just a few percentage points behind Wroclaw. Not enough on its own, but who knows how much more it might have beaten Omaha by in a live match that attracted more interest? Alas, both German zoos depart.

    Group B2

    Asia – Chester 53 d Berlin Zoo 37
    Asia - Vienna 53 d Taronga 22
    Australia & Islands - Taronga 66 d Chester 45
    North America & Europe - Vienna 53 d Berlin Zoo 37
    Africa – Chester 51 d Vienna 36
    South and Central America – 75 d Taronga 9


    Vienna 2 wins, 1 loss, 57%
    Chester 2 wins, 1 loss, 52.7%

    Berlin Zoo – 1 win, 2 losses, 57.2%
    Taronga – 1 win, 2 losses, 33.2%

    This is really quite a momentous result.

    Berlin Zoo, the European champion, is out of the ZooChat Cup. @Giant Panda drove a dagger through Berlin’s heart with a compelling argument for Vienna in their match on North America & Europe: Berlin was winning that tie before that post, then fell swiftly and decisively behind. That result ultimately decided which of the two zoos progressed: Vienna’s in and Berlin is out despite recording the highest percentage score in the group.

    Meanwhile, Chester is fast building a case for Cup favouritism. After six matches it has chalked up wins against Omaha, Prague and Berlin, among others, and its only loss was a valiant effort against Taronga on the latter’s home turf.

    Farewell, Taronga. To be honest I was surprised my compatriot zoo made it this far, but when I tinkered with the format to create multiple group stages and landed on geographic categories for this stage, I figured it’d be in trouble. Thus it proved.

    Astonishingly, that means no German zoo will appear in the final eight.


    Group C2

    North America & Europe - Bronx 51 d Beauval 30
    North America & Europe - Rotterdam 40 d Denver 29
    Asia - Bronx 54 d Rotterdam 39
    South America - Beauval 61 d Denver 23
    Australia & Islands – Bronx 49 d Denver 14
    Africa – Beauval 58 d Rotterdam 29

    Bronx 3 wins, 0 losses, 66.3%
    Beauval 2 wins, 1 loss, 58.8%

    Rotterdam 1 win, 2 losses, 44.4%
    Denver 0 wins, 2 losses, 30.5%

    I think it’s time to start taking the prospect of a Bronx double – winning both the US and world editions of the Cup – very, very seriously. After squeaking through a group of death in the first round, despite two one point defeats, Bronx crushed it this time around, and I suspect it’ll like the next format too. So might Beauval, which along with Chester and Bronx shapes to me as one of the zoos to beat. Three easy wins in the first round are followed by two easy ones out of three in this group.

    I’m not sure Rotterdam deserved to be quite so thoroughly beaten on Africa, but then again I just noticed I didn’t get around to voting on that one so I can’t complain, can I? The last Dutch zoo standing was a study in consistency up until that last match against Beauval, winning four of its five other matches and keeping the margin respectable against Bronx. Alas, its luck has run out.

    Denver was only ever a tourist at this level, I fear, but I hope it enjoyed the trip.


    Group D2

    Australia & Islands - Plzen 50 d Cologne 46
    Australia & Islands - Zurich 70 d San Diego 32
    Asia - San Diego 58 d Plzen 47
    South America - Zurich 69 d Cologne 24
    North America & Europe – Plzen 84 d Zurich 15
    Africa – San Diego 55 d Cologne 23

    Plzen – 2 wins, 1 loss, 60.6%
    Zurich - 2 wins, 1 loss, 52.7%

    San Diego - 2 wins, 1 loss, 52.4%
    Cologne - 0 wins, 3 losses, 34.4%

    I’ve already given @TeaLovingDave one shout-out for his immense photo essays on behalf of Plzen, but I’ll do it again because I don’t think it can be overstated just how influential they have been, within this group and perhaps the Cup as a whole. That narrow, four-point win over Cologne was the difference not only between Plzen departing or advancing, but it’s helped to send San Diego – San Diego! – home early.

    Zurich’s undefeated streak came to an abrupt end, thrashed by Plzen on its weak spot of North America & Europe, but given its five previous wins came over Bronx, Antwerp, Leipzig, San Diego and Cologne it’s hard to point to a zoo that had a better run of form up until then. Luckily for Zurich it was able to sweep up 15 consolation points out of 99 cast. Had it only been 14 then San Diego, not Zurich, would have advanced.

    Don’t ever tell me your vote doesn’t matter.
     
    Last edited: 2 Jan 2020
  12. CGSwans

    CGSwans Well-Known Member

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    Now. Where to from here? I have one last little curve-ball to throw at you.

    I had initially planned to switch to a conventional knock-out format after the initial group stage, but I felt that the three-point scale and percentages added so much to the quality of debates that I didn’t want to let them go. So I re-tooled things and came up with a model with four consecutive group stages, each with four zoos per group.

    One thing I liked about that was the opportunity to change up the category formats. We moved from taxonomic categories to geographic ones in the previous group stage, and we will be moving on again now to biome categories (more on that below). But three category formats and four group stages doesn’t quite fit, and I was also regretful that, whereas we got 48 matches out of the taxonomic groups and 24 out of the geographic ones, we were only on track to have 12 biome matches.

    So here’s what we’re going to do. The next group stage will be the last one, and will consist of one group of eight zoos. All eight zoos will play each other once, and all zoos will also draw each of the seven categories once. There’ll be 28 matches in total, which brings the final number required to crown a Cup champion to a nice, even 100.

    The surviving finalists are:
    Beauval
    Bronx
    Chester
    Omaha
    Plzen
    Vienna
    Wroclaw
    Zurich

    The increased number of matches does create one little problem, which is that I do need to wrap this up (mid-February is a hard deadline for me, but I’d prefer the end of January). So rather than holding two matches at once, I’m going to at least experiment with holding four. I’ll add an additional day to each match to ensure people have time to participate in all of them.

    The more mathematically-minded among you will note that, after I've posted a few of the matches, it will be possible to sit down and figure out which zoo will face each other on which categories. I strongly recommend you don't do this: all you will achieve is robbing yourself of a sense of adventure as the round unfolds. I guarantee it will be more fun if you just sit back and take each match as it comes. But if you *do* decide to game it out for yourself anyway then, please, keep that information to yourself and do not post it or share it with others via private message. Nobody likes spoilers.

    Now, I want to talk a little about the biomes themselves, and how I want this format to work.

    The categories are:
    Deserts
    Freshwater
    Marine
    Mountains and poles
    Savannah
    Temperate forests
    Tropical forests

    As ever, these are intended to be broad and are geared towards ensuring there’s enough to talk about, rather than being strictly scientific. All should be pretty self-explanatory, though ‘Freshwater’ perhaps needs a point of clarification: to qualify for this category, a species must be closely associated with freshwater as an integral, essential part of its habitat and lifestyle. As a guide, hippos, otters, ducks, alligators and snapping turtles are all relevant here. Elephants, though they might spend some time cooling off in a lake, are not.

    These categories are inevitably more subjective than past formats, where the categories have had clear dividing lines between them. This time, some exhibits are going to count towards multiple categories, and you might not always agree with another poster on whether something should count.

    While I will step in if I see something truly egregious (hippos are not a marine species, even if they do go surfing on their days off), I don’t want to be constantly adjudicating boundary disputes. If you see an argument based on a species or an exhibit that you don’t think is relevant, ask that person to provide a justification based on external sources that places that species within the category under discussion.

    It doesn’t have to be a scientific journal – anything that’s not Wikipedia will do – but if you can’t find references to show that the species you’re talking about belongs in the relevant biome, then you need to remove it from your argument. At the same time, you are *not* obliged to consider a species that you don’t think should count, even if another poster has been able to provide a source to justify their own decision. This will only work if people accept that the categories are a little bit subjective.

    This approach should allow boundary disputes to be resolved quickly and without too much moderation from me. Just in case, though, I’m going to learn a lesson from when I introduced geographic categories and so before we kick off properly, I’m going to run a series of practice matches featuring some of the unluckiest zoos to have been eliminated. This will be one last chance to bid a fond farewell to the likes of Pairi Daiza, Prague and San Diego. Once I’m sure we’ve sorted out any teething issues we’ll get started on the Cup Finals.
     
  13. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    Through curiosity I was keeping tabs on the standings of the two collections throughout the matches, and San Diego was ahead a fair few times - the key moment of doom was when in the space of a few minutes one person changed from 3-0 San Diego to 2-1 San Diego, and another from 2-1 San Diego to 2-1 Cologne.
     
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  14. CGSwans

    CGSwans Well-Known Member

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    It actually caught me by surprise when I calculated the numbers this afternoon: my rough sense was that it was reasonably close but that Zurich’s win wasn’t really in doubt. I kinda regret not following it in real time like you did.
     
  15. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    From memory, the widest percentage margin SD had over Zurich overall (after the initial flurry of votes) was 3%, whilst the widest Zurich managed was about 1.5% - the narrowest gap was just before the aforementioned double-switch, at which point SD was ahead by about 0.08%.
     
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  16. snowleopard

    snowleopard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Thank you @CGSwans for creating this competition and there is certainly a high level of interest in the event. Who will be the champion? Who knows! :) With what many would rate as possibly the two best zoos in the world (San Diego and Berlin) both eliminated, we are left with 8 zoos from 7 different nations and the 'trophy' is there for the taking.

    There are clearly fine margins at work here, as for instance 25 ZooChatters all voted for San Diego to beat Cologne in the last round, with only a single person voting for the German zoo. Even with Zurich getting pummeled by Plzen in the other match-up, the Swiss zoo still squeaked through by the skin of its teeth. Every vote certainly counts.

    It's a testament to how many great zoos there are in the world when the final 8 fails to include such heavy hitters as San Diego, Singapore, Berlin and Prague. My best estimate, having not visited these two particular establishments, is that Plzen and Wroclaw are arguably the two biggest surprises of all. Each of those zoos are not very well known to the general public, but they are zoo nerd delights and have strong support on this forum.

    Beauval - France
    Bronx - USA
    Chester - England
    Omaha - USA
    Plzen - Czechia
    Vienna - Austria
    Wroclaw - Poland
    Zurich - Switzerland

    Lastly, I love the idea of each zoo playing each other once as it seems more legitimate than a risky series of knock-out matches.
     
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  17. Brum

    Brum Well-Known Member

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    The biggest surprise for me is the fact the final eight does not include a single German zoo, and Germany is arguably the number one zoo nation in the world!
     
    Last edited: 2 Jan 2020
  18. CGSwans

    CGSwans Well-Known Member

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    You could certainly construct a final eight made up of, say, Berlin, Prague, Pairi Daiza, Burgers, Cologne, San Diego, Columbus and Singapore that might have been more ‘expected’ at the outset than what we have got now.

    That doesn’t mean any of these outcomes are ‘wrong’: they are the collective results of 72 individual matches including somewhere around 2000 votes and just as many comments. Yes, random chance has played its part but that’s the way it goes: a zoo with weak spots is always going to be vulnerable when the competition is as consistently tough as the 32 zoos in this tournament.
     
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  19. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    Were I to have guessed at the final eight I reckon there's a good chance it would have looked pretty similar to the above, barring the following swaps:

    Beauval - Zoo Berlin
    Omaha - San Diego
    Plzen - Prague
     
  20. amur leopard

    amur leopard Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't have guessed Wroclaw and would have swopped it with Berlin.