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About tournaments and contests

As there is overlap between these two terms. Electricka explains here the basic nature of each and the way in which The Muses distinguish between them:

ContestAs used here, a contest is a structured, organized race, conflict, or other competition between rivals. Contests may result in strife or arguments, disputes, or other controversies; they may arise over a controversial question, issue, or rivalry. If there is a prize, it may be concrete (cash, a sponsored trip, a scholarship) or it may be abstract (the showing of a winner's art work, honorable mention).

In this feature, contests are limited to struggles for victory or superiority in which contestants personally demonstrate or exercise an art-related skill or craft for whose excellence they can win during the period in which the contest is actively underway. The contestant wins by using the skill in direct combat with opponents. The demonstration may take the form of personal activity, like sketching in front of an audience or playing a piano; or it may take the form of passive activity, such as exhibiting a portrait or submitting a recording.

This definition is performance oriented; it includes contests that give awards for things participants do during the contest or things they make or submit specifically for the purpose of winning; it excludes contests in which "victory" is measured by generalized achievements, skills, contributions, or talentsfor example, contests that grant lifetime achievement awards are not part of this feature. Another way to describe this aspect of a contest: In this feature, contests are more like jousts and less like Pulitzer prizes.

TournamentA tournament is a trial of skill in some game, in which competitors play a series of contests, such as a chess tournament, a crossword puzzle tournament, a spelling bee, or the like. The primary difference between a tournament and a contest is that a tournament consists of a series of strongly related contests.

A tournament may be fought between individuals, groups, or teams. It may pit individuals or teams from different places, nations, or cultures against each other; or contestants may be defined by almost any other criteria.

Tournaments are more intricate than contests; they call for more effort on the part of organizers and have a more complex structure. Why? Because in a tournament there are multiple contests that need to be organized, each with its own demands, and because each contest in a tournament is functionally and conceptually interrelated to all the others. For example, a typical crossword tournament consists of a series of preliminary puzzle sessions designed to eliminate less skillful entrants and identify finalists; all the individual contests are capped by an extra, overall session in which winners are established.

Historically, a tournament was a contest or martial sport in which two opposing parties of mounted and armored combatants fought for a prize, with blunted weapons and in accordance with certain rules; it was a meeting that occurred at an appointed time and place for the performance of knightly exercises and sports. Although times have changed since these good old days, modern tournaments and contests in the arts are not dissimilar in many respects from their earlier counterparts. Although modern tournaments are not as physical as their predecessors, they can be just as hard fought and strenuous; rivalries can be just as intense or bitter.

In this feature, The Muses use the terms contest and tournament in all these senses and contexts, except that they restrict the scope of the kinds of contests and tournaments to those that are related to the arts.

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