Cross Table Dinner


New Member
Sep 18, 2017
Hi guys,

maybe one of you can help me. And please apologize, I am german living in SouthAmerica, so my english is limited and I might not be able to express myself as good as I would like to ... patience please ...

I am organizing a Cross Table Dinner, you might have heard about this.

In a Cross Table Dinner, you have a 3-course dinner, you sit with 3 others and after every plate you switch the tables, in order to continue eating with other 3 people. However, the idea is, that these are always different persons and that you do not repeat anyone.

So the ideal form is:
10 tables (every table gets a number 1-10)
40 persons (every person gets a number from 1-40)
3 rounds

And every person should get a card with the tables, he is going to sit at, before the event starts.
it is more or less easy to construct this when there are really 40 people coming, especially the first two rounds. works fine, i did this a lot of times.

However, it is getting complicated now for me in my next event, because the number of participants is uncertain. It can be 32, 36, 40 or even 44. (I would always try to fill up the tables, if needed I would participate myself).

Does anyone have an idea, how I can calculate this as soon as I know the exact number of people participating? Avoiding that anyone repeats another person(number). Is there any magic formula, table, that could do the trick?

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Eric W

MrExcel MVP
Aug 18, 2015
Welcome to the board. Or maybe, Bienvenidos! or even, Willkommen!

The problem you mention comes up now and again. It's often called the Sociable Golfer problem, because one way of stating it is setting up groups of golfers. In general there is no definite method of creating the groups, but there are techniques to come up with groups in special circumstances.

There is a web site that creates such pairings for you:

This is specific to golf, but I think you can probably get it to work for your situation. When you get to the generator, say that the golfers are in 5-somes. When it asks for the number of golfers, pick the number of people, or the next highest number if it's not exact. Then pick 3 events. It'll take a few minutes to run. When it's done, combine tees. Tee 1 and tee 2 = table 1, tee 3 and 4 = table 2, and so on. If the number wasn't exact, then player 45 out of a group of 44 will be an empty seat at a table.

If the number of diners is small enough, you can try using the 8-some option.

Hope this helps!

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