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Pembury Handicapping Method

Handicapping is used to adjust scored percentages in Prize Pairs competitions so that all players start with a more or less equal chance. Prize Pairs are usually the last competitions in the month.

If you and your partner, whether you have played together before or not, play above your individual past performances, then your scored percentage will be adjusted accordingly and enhance your chance of winning a prize.

A player's past performance gives a past average percentage. A new player is provisionally assumed to start with 50%.

A pair of players have a combined past percentage which is the average of the two individual past averages (see examples below).

If this combined average for the pair differs from 50%, then their scored percentage is adjusted upwards or downwards by this difference.

If two players have past averages of 40% and 50% respectively, then their combined past average is (40 + 50)/2 = 45% and, since this is 5% less than 50%, their scored percentage will be increased by 5%

If two players have past averages of 45% and 55% respectively, then their combined past average is (45 + 55)/2 = 50% and, since this is exactly 50%, their scored percentage will remain unchanged.

If two players have past averages of 50% and 60% respectively, then their combined past average is (50 + 60)/2 = 55% and, since this is 5% greater than 50%, their scored percentage will be decreased by 5%

A player's past average percentage will tend to move up (or down) if performance improves (or deteriorates). Members have expressed the opinion that these individual figures should be treated with some confidence, so a list will not be published. However, any player wishing to (occasionally) know their own current figure should please contact John Bendall.

Finally, it may be worth remarking that, like voting systems, there are many handicapping methods. None is absolutely foolproof and each has its noisy advocates. The above is about as simple and fair as it gets.

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