Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Marathon Match Official Rules and Regulations

Eligibility  |   Registration  |   Round Structure  |   Prizes  |   Conditions of Participation

No purchase necessary to enter or win. Void where prohibited.

Overview of the Tournament

The 2007 TopCoder Open ("TCO") Marathon Match Competition will take place between February 19 and June 29, 2007. It will consist of four (4) online elimination rounds and one (1) onsite final round. The prize purse for this competition is $30,000 in cash. Up to 8 competitors will win a cash prize, and for competing in Online Round #2, up to 500 competitors will win a participatory prize. The top 8 finishers in the online rounds will advance to the onsite Championship round, being held at the Mirage in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA on June 27, 2007.


TopCoder members meeting the following criteria are eligible to compete in the Marathon Match Competition:

  • Must be at least 18 years of age (as of March 7, 2007); AND
  • Must currently be eligible for participation in TopCoder projects (i.e. not suspended from TopCoder).

TopCoder members who are 18 years of age or older as of March 7, 2007 are eligible to win cash prizes, unless otherwise prohibited. The TopCoder Open is void in the Quebec province of Canada and elsewhere where prohibited by applicable law. Cash prizes will not be paid to residents of Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan, or Syria.

Employees of TopCoder, Inc. and of all official tournament sponsors, regardless of commitment date as sponsor, including any companies involved in the production (including prize suppliers), implementation and distribution of this tournament and their advertising or promotion agencies, parent companies, service providers, agents, officers, subsidiaries or affiliates, or any other persons or entities directly associated with the tournament and members of the immediate families (parent, child, sibling, and spouse of each) and/or persons living in the same household as such persons, are ineligible to enter the tournament. If a competitor's employer signs on as an official sponsor of the tournament after February 19, 2007, then that competitor will be removed from further participation in the tournament. TopCoder members who are performing internships for any official tournament sponsor between February 19 and June 29, 2007 are also ineligible to compete.

Those members who are eligible to compete in any of the four tournament competitions will be permitted to participate in any/all of them online. However, in the event a member becomes a finalist in more than one competition and the onsite competition times overlap, the member must choose only one competition to participate in as a finalist by May 11, 2007.

In the event that a competitor is disqualified from any round, no other competitors will be added in his/her place. The only exception to this is advancement to the onsite rounds.


Registration for the 2007 TopCoder Open Marathon Match Competition will open at 9:00 AM EST on Monday, February 19, 2007, and will close at 6:00 PM EST on Tuesday, March 6, 2007. In order to be eligible to compete in the Marathon Match Competition of the TCO, competitors must be a registered TopCoder member and have registered separately for the Marathon Match Competition. There is no limit to the number of registrants for the tournament; however each individual may only register once.

Online Elimination Rounds

Everyone who competes in an online round must register for each round on the TopCoder web site. TopCoder members from around the world may be participating in the online rounds, but all start times will be communicated as Eastern Standard Time (UTC/GMT -5) or Eastern Daylight Time (UTC/GMT -4), as appropriate, so contestants in different time zones must adjust accordingly. If a coder does not participate, for any reason, in an online round he/she has advanced to, it will be treated as an automatic loss in that round of competition.

Coders will be assigned a tournament seed prior to Online Round #1 based on their current rating.

The dates and times of the online rounds of competition are as follows:

Round of Competition Start Date and Time End Date and Time Participants Advancers
Online Round #1 Wednesday, March 7
Wednesday, March 14 Noon** All Registered Participants 500
Online Round #2 Wednesday, March 21
Wednesday, March 28 Noon** up to 500 200
Online Round #3 Wednesday, April 4
Wednesday, April 11 Noon** up to 200 50
Online Round #4 Wednesday, April 18
Wednesday, May 2 Noon** up to 50 8
*Time listed in Eastern Standard Time (UTC/GMT -5). In the event that a round must be cancelled for any reason, the round will start the following day at the same time.
**Times listed in Eastern Daylight Time (UTC/GMT -4). In the event that a round must be cancelled for any reason, the round will start the following day at the same time.

Scoring and Advancing during Online Rounds

After each Online Round, the highest scorers will be identified and will advance to the next online round. Coder advancement in all rounds is determined by comparing the total point values from all system testing for each coder. In order to advance, a coder must submit a full submission, as defined in "Competition Round Structure". The structure of the online rounds is as follows:

  • Online Round #1
    All eligible registered members may compete. Up to the highest 500 scorers will advance to Online Round #2.
  • Online Round #2
    Up to 500 coders will compete. Up to the highest 200 scorers will advance to Online Round #3.
  • Online Round #3
    Up to 200 coders will compete. Up to the highest 50 scorers will advance to Online Round #4.
  • Online Round #4
    Up to 50 coders will compete. Up to the highest 8 scorers will advance to the onsite finals.

NOTE: In the event of a tie for any advancing position during the online rounds, the tie will be resolved in the following manner:

  • Total points acquired during the previous round of the tournament. If a tie still exists this will continue to the next previous round until resolved or the Round 1 score is tied.
  • If a tie still remains, then by tournament seed.
  • If a tie still remains, all tied coders will advance to the next round.

Competition Round Structure

Each online and onsite round of competition consists of two phases: the Coding Phase and the System Testing Phase. (Note: The format of these competition rounds is similar to the format of non-TCO TopCoder Marathon Matches. The rules in place for Marathon Matches as of March 7, 2007 will also apply to the online and onsite rounds of the TCO.)

The Coding Phase is a timed event where all contestants are presented with the same question. The scoring criteria for the rounds are described in the problem statement, and will change from round to round. During the event each competitor has the option of submitting one of two types of submissions: an example submission or a full submission. Each example submission is run against example test cases listed in the problem statement, and detailed feedback is provided to the user. Each full submission is run against a more complete set of hidden test cases, and only a provisional score is given to the user. For Online Rounds #1, #2, and #3, the coding phase is one week long. For Online Round #4, it is 2 weeks long.

The System Testing Phase is applied to the most recent full submission for each competitor. During system testing each submission is run against a large number of hidden cases, then scored according to the criteria specified in the problem statement. Once the system tests are finished, competitors will be ranked by their score on the system test cases. Only these scores will count in determining advancement.

Onsite Championship Round

Important Information

Travel Confirmation

The eight (8) advancers from Online Round #4 will travel to Las Vegas on Tuesday, June 26, 2007 to compete in the Championship round of the tournament being held on Wednesday, June 27, 2007. All contestants must arrive at the Mirage no later than 4:00 PM PDT on Tuesday, June 26, 2007.

All contestants must confirm their attendance at the onsite rounds no later than 5:00 PM EDT (UTC/GMT -4) on Friday, May 11, 2007. That is, contestants must have acquired any necessary travel visas and know for certain that they can travel to the U.S. by that date and time. In order for a finalist to confirm attendance for the onsite finals, it is necessary to show proof of visa and/or passport by the deadline (5:00 PM EDT (UTC/GMT -4) on Friday, May 11, 2007) if the finalist is required to travel from outside the United States. Finalists may do this by emailing a copy of their documents to Jessie D'Amato Ford at Competitors who fail to meet this requirement by the deadline will not be able to attend the onsite finals and will be replaced as an onsite finalist.

Visa Assistance

At the end of Online Round #3, TopCoder will issue visa invitation letters at the request of international competitors who require one to obtain a travel visa to enter the United States. All competitors that advance to Online Round 4, will receive a request form to fill out if they require a letter. Competitors have until 5:00 PM EDT (GMT/UTC -4) on Monday, April 23, 2007 to request a letter. Visas can take a significant amount of time to obtain in certain countries; therefore, for those competitors who need a letter, it is in their best interest to request one well before the deadline. The cost of obtaining a visa is the sole responsibility of the competitor. If you fail to request a visa invitation letter by the date above, TopCoder will not assist you in the process of obtaining a travel visa. See more information about travel visas.

Travel Details

TopCoder will provide air travel arrangements for each competitor. The flight reserved by and paid for by TopCoder is for arrival on June 26, 2007 and departure on June 30, 2007 (or July 1, 2007 if the cost is significantly less to fly out a day later). TopCoder will pay for each competitor's airfare up to $1,500, however we will do what we believe is reasonable given each individual circumstance (e.g., if the most reasonably convenient ticket itinerary is a little more than $1,500, TopCoder will pay for the entire cost). Extended flights and/or hotel room nights requested by a competitor that result in additional costs will be the responsibility of the competitor and will be deducted from the competitor's total TCO prize money won.

TopCoder will also provide ground transportation to and from the McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, as well as hotel accommodations and meals for each contestant. All other expenses are the responsibility of the contestant. TopCoder will not provide travel or lodging accommodations for competitor guests at the 2007 TCO.

Championship Round

The Championship Round will be a single round of eight (8) coders. Placement in the Championship Round is determined by comparing the total points of each coder. The winner of the Championship Round will be the coder with the highest point total for the round. In the event of a tie in the Championship Round, the tie will be resolved in the following manner (in order):

  • Total points acquired during the previous round of the tournament. If a tie still exists this will continue to the next previous round until resolved or the Round 1 score is tied.
  • If a tie still remains, then by rating (higher is better) following Online Round #4
  • If a tie still remains, then the prize money will be distributed equally among the tied coders

About the Prizes

The tournament will award prizes to up to 500 competitors and $30,000 in cash prizes. Any and all applicable taxes on prizes are the sole responsibility of the prizewinner. Prizes will be distributed as follows:

Competitor(s) Prize
1st place finisher* - Marathon Match Competition Champion $15,000
2nd place finisher* in the Championship Round $7,200
3rd place finisher* in the Championship Round $3,600
4th place finisher* in the Championship Round $1,800
5th - 8th place finishers* in the Championship Round $600 each
Up to 500 competitors who compete in Online Round #2 Limited edition 2007 TopCoder Open t-shirt
* Prize will be awarded at the conclusion of the Championship Round. Winner must be present at the onsite rounds to receive prize.

Conditions of Participation

By participating in the tournament, you agree to be bound by these rules and to all decisions of TopCoder, which are final, binding and conclusive in all matters. Also, by participating in this tournament, you consent to providing certain information to the title sponsor. Such information shall include the information contained in your TopCoder member profile, as well as your competition statistics.

Contestants must not cheat. All ideas for code and/or challenge submitted must be the contestant's alone. TopCoder uses the word "cheat" to mean collaboration of any sort - including, but not limited to, working with another competitor, submitting code that was not fully authored by you, and using resources, software, etc. that are not allowed in TopCoder competitions. TopCoder reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to remove any competitor from the tournament who it suspects has cheated.

If a contestant is eliminated for cheating after he/she is confirmed as a finalist and a flight is already purchased for the onsite finals, that contestant will be responsible for reimbursing TopCoder the cost of the airfare. TopCoder reserves the right to withhold any cash prizes owed until the amount of the plane ticket is paid off.

All decisions relating to the viability of submissions, the ranking of submissions and all other matters pertaining to the tournament shall be within the sole discretion of TopCoder or its designee and shall be final and binding in all respects.

Finalist (Online Round #4 Advancer) Information

All contestants who advance to the onsite tournament rounds must complete the following items and submit them to TopCoder by 5:00 PM EDT on Friday, May 11, 2007:
  • Confirmation of attendance/proof of travel documents - Please email Jessie D'Amato Ford ( to confirm your attendance onsite. If you require a passport and/or visa to visit the United States, you must show proof of your documents via a scanned copy of the necessary documents.
  • Please submit a photo, if we do not have one on file for you.
  • Please make sure your most up-to-date information is listed in your TopCoder profile in the event we need to mail your plane tickets or contact you via telephone.
  • Competitor Questionnaire - the questions and responses may be published in the 2007 TopCoder Open program
  • Travel form - provides TopCoder with the appropriate travel information for your trip to the onsite tournament rounds
  • Affidavit of Eligibility and Liability and Publicity Release
    • TopCoder must receive the original copy of a notarized affidavit unless a notarized affidavit is already on file with TopCoder. The document must be postmarked by May 11, 2007, and must be sent in such a manner that it will arrive at TopCoder no later than June 3, 2007.
    • If TopCoder already has a notarized affidavit and a tax form on file for a contestant, that contestant may affirm the affidavit online. No hardcopy needs to be sent to TopCoder.
  • Applicable tax form (unless one is already on file with TopCoder)

Failure to submit the above items on time will result in a forfeiture of advancement as an onsite finalist. In that case, the next highest scorer from Online Round #4 will advance.

All prizes (cash prizes and participatory prizes) will be sent within 60 days of the Championship Round. Unclaimed or undeliverable prizes will be forfeited. Competitors who do not submit the required information listed above by the applicable deadlines will forfeit their prizes.

As a condition of participation in the tournament, all information provided by you in your TopCoder member profile must be comprehensive, accurate and up-to-date. TopCoder may require you to complete an additional registration form to register for the tournament. In order to be eligible to participate in the tournament, you must have completed any and all registration forms required by TopCoder.

As a condition of winning and redeeming a cash prize, certain contestants will be required to submit a completed (i) Competitor Questionnaire, (ii) Affidavit of Eligibility and Liability and Publicity Release, (iii) IRS Form W-9 or W-8BEN, as appropriate if one is not already on file with TopCoder, and (iv) Travel Form. In completing the Affidavit of Eligibility and Liability and Publicity Release, a cash prize winner (a) confirms his/her eligibility, (b) represents and warrants that he/she has not cheated; that the idea for the code and/or challenge submitted is his/hers alone, (c) verifies the accuracy of the demographic information submitted to, and contained in, the TopCoder member database, (d) authorizes TopCoder to publicize the tournament's results, (e) agrees to sign any applicable forms required by tax authorities, (f) licenses to TopCoder rights to all information submitted during the tournament (including rights to source code and other executables), and (g) releases TopCoder from liability arising out of any prize won. TopCoder requires contestants to complete the Form W-9 or W-8BEN for tax reporting purposes. If prize notification is returned as undeliverable, or if the cash prize winner fails to return the Questionnaire, Affidavit, W-9 or W-8BEN, or travel form, as specified, the cash prize winner will be disqualified and the prize money won by the disqualified cash prize winner will be forfeited. Providing false information in the registration process or in the required forms described in this paragraph will disqualify a cash prize winner.

By participating in a tournament and redeeming a prize, a winner releases and agrees to hold harmless TopCoder, its affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies, sponsors, and prize suppliers, and all of their respective directors, officers, employees, representatives and agents, from and against any and all liability for any loss, property damage or damage to person, including without limitation, death and injury, due in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, from or arising out of participation in this tournament, or participation in any tournament-related activity, or the receipt, use or misuse of a prize. TopCoder specifically disclaims all liability associated with, and makes no warranties with regard to, any prize given.

In addition, all prizewinners agree to cooperate with TopCoder's publicity efforts, without further compensation. This includes the agreement to use their name, handle, address (city and state) and likeness for publicity purposes, where legal, for this or similar future tournaments, and to use the statements made by, or attributed to, the winners relating to TopCoder and any and all rights to said use, without further compensation. Furthermore, all prizewinners agree to promptly notify TopCoder if a third-party, including tournament sponsors, contacts the prizewinner regarding employment opportunities and/or media interest as a result of the prizewinner's participation in the tournament.

TopCoder reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to revoke any and all privileges associated with competing in this tournament, and to take any other action it deems appropriate, for no reason or any reason whatsoever, including if TopCoder suspects competitors of cheating, tampering with the entry process, the operation of the Web site, or the tournament process, or otherwise being in violation of the rules. TopCoder reserves the right to cancel, terminate or modify the tournament if it is not capable of completion as planned for any reason, including infection by computer virus, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention or technical failures of any sort.


The tournament is void in whole or in part where prohibited by law.

A list of tournament winners by coder handles will be available on the web site at, and will be displayed for at least 3 months after the end of the tournament.

This tournament is brought to you by TopCoder, Inc. ( 703 Hebron Avenue (now 95 Glastonbury Blvd), Glastonbury, CT 06033. AOL LLC is not responsible for any aspect of the Tournament.