Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Configuration Win

Challonge is snappier than ever thanks to some recent server changes. I dumped Apache for Nginx and finally patched a memory leak that was causing occasional mayhem on the server.

I'm also in the process of switching the app to use haml as part of a code refactoring effort.

Stay tuned for several enhancements right around the corner...

Friday, December 4, 2009


Ties can now be submitted for round robin matches. They act as the second sorting value (behind # of wins) when ordering the standings.

I might be brewing up support for Swiss tournaments... but don't get too excited yet, chess players. I have a good bit of code to write before these hit production.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Bronze for Single Elimination

An optional match for 3rd place can now be included for single elimination tournaments. This match pairs the losers of the semifinals.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Maybe Next Time

Final results now include the 3rd place finisher (aka "Maybe Next Time"). Round robin ranking was improved a bit to support this, so RRs finally list the winners instead of just displaying a big table (though this is still available below the bracket). Single elimination brackets will soon be updated to support an optional 3rd place match between the semi-final losers.

Not sure when the bug was introduced, but the losers bracket print view is fixed for the bracket generator page. The [L-X] identifiers for seeding the bracket were all showing as [L-]...not very helpful like that. Whitespace between the winners and losers bracket was also removed from the print view.

Thanks to all who have requested new features and continue to support Challonge! November was a great month with a record number of published tournaments and verified new users. There are several new features in the works as we look to offer some new services.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Round Robins Evolved Again

Round robins have evolved yet again and finally match the look of the elimination brackets. Also in the update is a scheduler, so the days of giant round robin tables have passed.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tags and Profiles

I didn't go overboard on this, but tournaments can now be tagged. The new user profile pages benefit the most from this as it allows users with several tournaments to get organized a bit. I still need to add a tool for better tag management, but this should be a good start.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Live Bracket Images

Live bracket images are currently undergoing production testing. You can check them out for any published Challonge bracket by going to[Tourney_URL].png

Here's an example:

These will be offered free of charge and linked to from tournament pages in the near future.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Filesystem Rebuild

I have everything backed up, but it's looking like the Challonge server needs a rebuild. Sorry for the inconvenience.

UPDATE: Challonge has switched hosts - more memory at our disposal now, so expect a bit of a speed boost. everything should be set up and running now.

UPDATE2: Character set problem messed up all special characters (accents, etc.). Good to go now thanks to this fine advice.

Friday, November 6, 2009

FREE Bracket Modules

Because free is so much better than not free, I split the bracket module feature into two tiers - standard and premium. The premium module takes on the previously posted pay structure while the standard module carries an ad banner - read more here.

I'm currently testing "live" bracket images on production, so those should be available soon. This should be welcome news to forum users!

Also, I'm really hoping to get a Challonge t-shirt order in this month. Who wouldn't want one of those for Christmas??

A couple other minor updates just made:
- server callback to check URL availability on new tournament page
- tournament name filter added to tournament browsing page

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Bracket modules for external websites, finally!

Challongers can finally host brackets on their own websites. To help cover some of our hosting costs and avoid cluttering the bracket modules with ads, we decided to charge a modest amount for them. Most small venues will get excellent mileage for next to no cash (5,000 uses for $5; 20,000 for $15). The modules are ad-free and you can report scores and log in/out from within them - read more here.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Bracket Module Beta Testing

Bracket modules are finally in beta. If you're interested in testing them, send me a request along with your Challonge account email address ( Beta testers who send me feedback will earn some extra module use credits when this feature is production ready.

The Challonge favicon was just updated and I also added "apple-touch-icon.png" for iPhone users who bookmark the site.

Up next:
  • T-shirts - struggling with ideas here. If you come up with a great idea and I go with it, I'll definitely send you a free t-shirt
  • FAQ / Help page, brief screencasts?
  • Tournament tagging -- need to think this one over as I want to keep things simple.
  • Single elimination display options for conference tournaments - 2 or 4 brackets converging to the center

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

New Logo!

Just posted the new Challonge logo. It's good to know a graphics guy (thanks Chuy)! I haven't touched up the stylesheets to match the new shade of orange, but hey, I was anxious to get it up there. T-shirts are inevitable.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Major Upgrade Complete

Here are the highlights:
  • Participant management rewritten
    • Participants can be entered with a name and email address - the giant textarea for entering names has been dropped (except for the bracket generator)
    • Email addresses are looked up immediately and linked to Challonge accounts (previously not done until bracket was published)
    • Drag-n-drop ordering/seeding
    • Participants can unregister themselves prior to tourney start
  •  Tournament Sign-up pages
    • Challonge users can sign-up with a name or team instead of having to use account default (previously not possible until bracket was published)
    • Upon registering, non-challonge users are given a link to unregister in case their plans change
    • If you sign up for a tournament using your Challonge account, the tournament organizer will not be able to see your email address. The organizer can only see email addresses that he/she enters.
  • Score and outcome editing for tournament organizers (finally)!
  • Multi-set score view displayed when hovering over a match
  • Round robin rewrite
    • Scalable
    • Easier to read
  • Dashboard changes
    • Paginated table view of tournaments
    • Table view of open matches
  • Print preview views now apply the print stylesheet, so you don't have to use your browser's print preview for the real preview
  • Contact/Support now requires Konami Code to send comments... a nice alternative to captcha if you ask me
Bracket module documentation is coming along nicely. I still have a couple admin pages to write for them, but modules should go public in October. Here's a pretty bland module sample. As this demonstrates, you can choose to hide the upper-right control box and arrows, and all the colors are customizable. There'll be flashier samples in the docs later.

If you're interested in beta testing the bracket module, send me your challonge account email address via Contact/Support on

Friday, September 11, 2009

Challonge! == David Cornelius

Effective this morning, my name is "Challonge!", and I will now use "its" and "we" instead of "his" and "me." Very exciting stuff. This will give a slightly more professional feel when we start selling t-shirts and anything else down the road. Or maybe I just want a business credit card with "CHALLONGE!" on it...

In other exciting news, my buddy's working on a new slick logo for the site. This will help drive to second level (please watch the movie Zardoz). I'm hoping to launch this along with t-shirts, bracket modules (documentation and support pages about 50% complete), and some other site improvements.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

SSL and some bracket module news

Challonge is now set up for secure connections, so most account-related pages will be routed through https. In case you're wondering, the main reason for adding the SSL cert is for running some Google Checkout tests.

Bracket modules are fully functional, but documentation is pretty much nonexistent at the moment. I'll be rolling these out after returning from vacation, so I'll either be inviting beta testers or throwing the modules straight into production.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Legal Stuff

Terms of Service and a Privacy Policy were added to Challonge. Thanks to Automattic for the open licensing of their legal docs (and the other great free services they provide). I love how website Terms of Service basically make you the Internet God... until you're in court, then who knows.

And in case you're wondering, the docs offer no surprises. I will never give up private information unless law requires me to do so.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

New Brackets are Up

I'm only part way through the major bracket update (skinnable, scalable stuff), but I chopped off some progress into a new release that's up on I bundled up the bracket controls to help keep things tidy and added scroll arrows for those who hate click-and-drag. The controls are a little lame at the moment, so they might get refaced down the road.

Most of my grunt work in this release should be transparent to users. More time than I anticipated was spent making the entire bracket scalable, and in preparation for allowing custom color schemes in bracket modules, all bracket lines are now drawn using borders instead of images.

The code is complete for reverting score submissions, but there's no front-end in place to take advantage of it at the moment. I did, however, add a warning message if you select a match winner who did not win the majority of games entered, so this should help cut down on mistakes.

In case you're wondering, I try to keep Challonge looking good in Firefox, Opera, IE 7+, and Chromium (usually covers most Webkit browsers like Safari). If something looks funny in your browser, please let me know... unless you're using IE6.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Behind the Scenes

While no changes have been published to Challonge recently, I wanted to mention a few things that are being developed behind the scenes.

Scalable Brackets will soon be finished. This means you'll be able to zoom in and out when viewing brackets (very snazzy, almost done with this one).

Skinnable Bracket Modules - Colors, fonts, default zoom level, etc. will be configurable soon, so I'll be introducing embeddable bracket modules that can be posted on external websites and fit any design style. I'll probably have to charge a modest amount in blocks of 10,000 requests or so (server load will rise), but these should be pretty sweet and useful.

Improved Participant Management - Just a vision right now, but this one's pretty high priority for me. I want to spruce up the tool for adding/removal people, changing seeds, setting teams, etc. Plenty I could ramble on about this, but I'll spare you.

There are several other items on the horizon as well. If you emailed me a feature request, I haven't forgotten about you!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Bracket Reset points to challonge. Early on, that domain was actually favored for whatever reason...seems like crazy talk now.

Anyways, I just pushed up a "bracket reset" feature that's a step in the direction of a score correction utility. Resetting a bracket clears all the scores and takes you back to the point at which you can add participants and edit seeds. So, if you accidentally start a tournament before adding some stragglers, you can just reset, add them, and start things fresh -- no need to start from scratch as before.

I have a terrible time staying consistent with my Challonge priorities, but at the moment, I'm looking into sprucing up the methods for managing participants. Something drag-n-drop is the vision, but we'll see. Also, someone emailed me about adding Swiss Tournament support. I'm interested for sure, just wondering when I'll have a chance to push through that mind bender.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Losers Bracket Perfected

While the old way of generating double elimination losers brackets wasn't all that bad, I finally nailed down the logic that will create ideally configured brackets for any size tournament. The placement of losers in the bottom bracket should now prevent rematches for as long as possible, giving participants a nice mix of opponents.

The updated algorithm for creating double elimination brackets will only affect new tournaments. Already published brackets will be completely untouched.

I know there were at least a few people waiting on this update, so thanks for your patience and feedback!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Introducing Challonge! Mobile

Don't get too excited! Challonge mobile doesn't let you view brackets or much else, but you can at least report scores from your phone now. The interface is dead simple, so I imagine it'll work on most mobile browsers -- I tested on a BlackBerry 8830 with the crappy BlackBerry browser and Opera Mini. Just hit from a mobile device and you should get redirected to the mobile site:

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Sign-ups, etc.

The tournament creation process underwent a major overhaul to make it more intuitive and add the sign-up page option. Instead of having to figure out all the participants up front, you can now opt to have Challonge host a sign-up page for you. You can then distribute a sign-up link and filter the list as you wish before kicking things in gear.

Also in this release, the arbitrary 4 person limit for tournaments has been dropped to 2, mainly for the sake of hosting finals. I can't remember what else was changed at the moment, but there were a handfull of other tweaks as well.

Coming up next! By popular demand, I'll be creating a score fixing utility so you can repair reporting mistakes and not have to start from scratch. Also, I'm working on the bracket viewer to allow for size scaling and multi-set score viewing. The viewer will eventually be modularized to allow users to embed customized brackets anywhere on the net. The core logic of double elimination losers brackets still needs some tweaking as well...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Regarding the Losers Bracket Update

While the losers bracket update was an improvement, I finally realized a few key concepts that will help me finalize the bracket. It's all figured out in my head... now for the tedious part.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Double Elimination Loser Bracket v2

While I can't claim to have addressed every losers bracket scenario perfectly, I think the latest update corrects a lot of the scenarios, especially for large brackets. There's no way to avoid rematches for some bracket sizes, but the "standard" sizes (4,8,16,32,64,...) and most variants should be smarter than before.

Existing tournaments will not be affected by this update, but all new tournaments and bracket generator output will reflect the new algorithm.

Special thanks to Pierre and Esteban for identifying some of the losers bracket seedings that didn't look quite right. I'm not 100% content with the changes this update enforces, but I think the algorithm is more reliable than the current one.

Thanks for using Challonge! There's plenty more to come, and I appreciate your support. Please feel free to contact me with your comments by following the Contact/Support link at the bottom of

Friday, June 19, 2009

! Double Elimination Brackets !

I finally got around to applying the new look to double elimination brackets. There are bound to be a few flitches to work out, but I'm pleased that this feature is out the door at last.

Next, I'll be revisiting the seeding logic for losers brackets. Scenarios for large tournaments have been brought to my attention (thanks!) where rematches aren't avoided as much as is possible. Tournament open sign-ups are also near the top of the queue.

Monday, June 15, 2009

A Tweak or 2

Tournament participants can now set their names for each tournament instead of being restricted to a single name per account. This allows a participant to provide a game specific alias or team name that will show up in the brackets.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

sweet updates at last

It had been a long while since any updates were pushed out the pipeline, but finally some progress was made! There was a significant change to the database model that eliminates some major annoyances and paves the way for team and open sign-up tournaments. No longer will you have to enter for users without email addresses. Also, the participant management interface is far more flexible than before, and the tournament setup process is more user friendly... I hope.

As mentioned in the previous post, the brackets have a face lift coming. Single elimination tournaments already have the new look, so if you're interested, give it a quick look using the bracket generator. The "classic" bracket will still be available as a printer friendly version.

Next in line: new bracket look for double elimination (already in the works), open sign-up tournaments (right now you have to sign up people on your own), and team tournaments (the one I have the biggest personal need for right now). After these are shipped, I'll be looking into bracket export options (image, pdf, etc.) and embedding options so you can post a live bracket on your website or in forums with custom colors & styling.

Let me know if you're in need of a certain feature and I can adjust my priorities. Suggestions and feedback are always appreciated!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Bracket Remodeling

Here's a sneak preview of the new brackets under development. Single elimination is completely working, so as soon as I expand the new look to double elimination, these guys will be live.

Round robins are still crying for some love, but I have a couple tasks to do before I give them any.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Talking to myself

Now that I finally applied some styles to, I figured I'd start talking to myself a bit. I'll be mentioning random upcoming features here, so feel free to chime in if there's something you'd like added to the site.

Though challonge has gotten its first swipe of styling, the generated brackets are still pretty lame. I opted to make them Google maps-ish with click and drag viewing, but this may change once I finish reworking the display of the brackets.

Also in the works: team tournaments, open sign-up tournaments (currently only support invitationals), and some additional UI changes (photos?).