Predict This | USDemocrazy

1 in 1,610,543,269 .

According to statistician Nate Silver , those are the odds that he predicted the outcomes of this year's March Madness games with perfect accuracy.

  No fan has ever verifiably completed a perfect bracket. An average March Madness tournament has between 16 and 20 upsets .

In case you're a little behind on your math education: one in one-point-six-billion is not good odds. 

For a better chance of picking a winner, let's look to another college sport with a March championship: the Pan-American Collegiate Chess Tournament. 

Chess is a good choice for predictability. The first round of this year's "Pan-Am" (featuring 45 teams) resulted in zero upsets .

What accounts for the difference?

First, chess is fundamentally more predictable. The outcome of the game results entirely from the decisions of the players.

One group from Stanford University created a system that can predict individual chess players' wins and losses based on past wins and losses with greater than 85% accuracy . Ranking systems abound, some of which have been  generalized to other competitions . 

Second, the chess tournament structure itself minimizes randomness.  

The Pan-Am is structured as a  Swiss-system tournament , which leads to fewer upsets that March Madness's single elimination system. 

Single elimination makes for easy to understand brackets, and mathematically " efficient but unfair " outcomes (as compared to "fair but inefficient" league play). 

 What's harder to measure is the influence of unpredictability on fan enjoyment.

So let us know in the comments: how much do you like being right?