A Decision Analysis Approach to Curling Strategy:

The application of an esoteric technique to a common leisure activity.

Keith Willoughby

College of Commerce

University of Saskatchewan

Kent Kostuk

Industrial Engineering Department

Federated Co-operatives Limited

Curling is a winter team sport requiring both physical and strategic skills.  Our research has focused on whether traditional strategy is consistent within a rational decision making framework.

As in most strategy based games, it is preferrable to shoot last in curling - this is known as having the hammer.  If a team with the hammer does not score in an end (inning) they keep the hammer for the next end.  In the early ends it is clear that blanking an end (the team with the hammer electing to not take a point) is good strategic planning.  Our research indicates that this is not always the case late in the game.

Based on a decision analysis model our presentation will illustrate when the conventional strategy is incorrect. We will also answer the age old strategic question: "Is it better to be one down with the hammer, or one up without, in the last end?"


November 25, 1998

Park Town Hotel, Maple Room

Cocktails 5:30, Dinner 6:00, Presentation 7:00

Tickets $17

For more information contact:

Kent Kostuk 244-3295 kent.kostuk@usask.ca

Keith Willoughby 966-8427 willoughby@commerce.usask.ca