When I was working at Supernationals last spring as a TD, I got into a discussion with my section assistant TD about how little things have changed in the way we record results at tournaments. The current processes that we use at both our local tournaments and at National events is labor intensive, slow, and prone to error. After returning home, I thought about what would be needed and spent time in the summer and fall coding up an Android app and a matching program on the pairing computer.
In Maryland, we've been testing it in both our local tournaments and at our two state scholastic championships, working out the bugs and making modifications based on feedback from the TDs and scorer's table assistants. This article is a summary of where the app, called TD Assistant, is at this time.
Entering Results for a Board
The original idea, and still the heart of the app, is the ability to enter results using a remote device. The app runs on any relatively recent Android device. For our MCA tournaments, we use both 2013 Nexus 7's and Android phones for the floor TDs. At the scorer's table, we use generic 10" Android tablets. The interface is the same for all the devices, although the tablets display a little more information than the phones and have wider columns. The home screen of the application request for you to enter a board number:
After you enter the board number, the app sends a request to the server and it returns the information for the board.
While the normal results are shown on the main screen, the less common results are available on the "OTHER" menu item.
Entering a results brings up a confirmation dialog to make sure the correct result was chosen.
Upon confirming the result, the app sends the result back to the server, where the SwissSys files are updated. It also logs the result in a text file as backup. At the scorer's table, this will be the primary use of the app. It has the advantage that any device can enter the result for any section. This gets rid of the single score sheet bottleneck that slows down sections where a large number of boards have results in a short period of time (blitz and low-rated players).
Optional Board Picture
An optional feature is the ability to record a picture for a given board in a round. This could be used to take a picture either of a results slip or of the final position on the board. The full resolution picture is sent to the server and stored by round and board for easy retrieval, while a thumbnail is shown on the results screen.
It is possible to just use the above results entry process, but having remote access to the information on the pairing computer provides some nice resources for the tournament directors
Floor TDs also have access to the complete lists of all the sections and the boards in the sections. The section list displays the names, starting board number, number of boards still playing, and the button to start the round. Once the Start button is pressed, the field then displays the time that clocks should be set to if clocks are added to a board that started without a clock.
Once enough time has passed such that any no-shows would forfeit, this time is displayed in bold with an "F" appended to the time.
Selecting a section brings up a display of the boards in the section (either all the boards or just the remaining ones, depending on the preference selected).
Selecting one of the boards brings up the results screen for that board, providing an alternative route to entering results.
The app can also perform a search for players across all sections. On the search screen, one enters the beginning of a player's last name, and it will return all the players that match, their board number, and their color. This is useful when players forget where they are supposed to go.
Selecting the player brings up a screen that allows the update of player information such as phone number or email for pairing notification, byes, and withdrawal.