The "No Justice in the Universe" phenomenon: why honesty of effort may not be rewarded in tournaments
In 2000 Allen Schwenk, using a well-known mathematical model of matchplay tournaments in which the probability of one player beating another in a single match is fixed for each pair of players, showed that the classical single-elimination, seeded format can be "unfair" in the sense that situations can arise where an indisputibly better (and thus higher seeded) player may have a smaller probability of winning the tournament than a worse one. This in turn implies that, if the players are able to influence their seeding in some preliminary competition, situations can arise where it is in a player's interest to behave "dishonestly", by deliberately trying to lose a match. This motivated us to ask whether it is possible for a tournament to be both honest, meaning that it is impossible for a situation to arise where a rational player throws a match, and "symmetric" - meaning basically that the rules treat everyone the same - yet unfair, in the sense that an objectively better player has a smaller probability of winning than a worse one. After rigorously defining our terms, our main result is that such tournaments exist and we construct explicit examples for any number n >= 3 of players. For n=3, we show (Theorem 3.6) that the collection of win-probability vectors for such tournaments form a 5-vertex convex polygon in R^3, minus some boundary points. We conjecture a similar result for any n >= 4 and prove some partial results towards it.
doubly monotonic matrix