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ACBL Handbook: Clubs
Chapter 4: Part 1 - page 1-16

Go to:  Index   Part 2 - page 17-32     Part 3 - page 33-51


 This document is provided courtesy of the
American Contract Bridge League

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NOTE: to view the latest revision of the handbook go to ACBL


      CHAPTER.4 (Rev.02/01)                             CHAPTER.4 (PAGE 1)



     ACBL issues sanctions to bridge clubs authorizing them to run duplicate

     games at which masterpoints are awarded, thus permitting ACBL members and

     others to compete on a regular basis in their own community.  This

     chapter presents ACBL rules and regulations pertaining to clubs running

     sanctioned masterpoint games.

     It is the responsibility of the club to comply with all local, state and

     federal laws.  Clubs are not authorized to use the ACBL name or logo or

     other ACBL identification except in connection with the issuance of




     An ACBL club sanction grants the right to an entity to conduct bridge

     games at regularly scheduled times and locations and award masterpoints

     at those games in accordance with specific ACBL rules and regulations.


     There are approximately 3,600 clubs that conduct ACBL sanctioned games.

     Some operate only a monthly game, while others operate as many as 18

     games a week.  Altogether, nearly 2.5 million tables of sanctioned games

     in clubs are played annually throughout ACBL territory.


     Games must be conducted in accordance with both the letter and the spirit

     of ACBL regulations as well as the Laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge.

     The success or failure of games conducted by a club is the responsibility

     of the club manager.  The club manager is free to operate the club as he

     or she sees fit, as long as the operation of ACBL sanctioned games falls

     within the limits prescribed by ACBL and the unit within which the club

     is geographically located.



     Any individual ACBL member, group of ACBL members, or nonaffiliated

     organization (such as a country club, a fraternal or industrial

     organization, or a church or other religious group), may apply for a

     sanction.  When ACBL issues a sanction, the sanction holder is given the

     right to conduct bridge games and award club masterpoints in accordance

     with ACBL rules and regulations. Sanction application forms are available

     from the ACBL Club Membership Department.




      A club may conduct one or more regularly scheduled games under one

      sanction, at varying sites.  The club must list all regularly scheduled

      games that will award masterpoints and all addresses where these games

      will be held on the sanction application.  Once the sanction is granted,

      only those game sessions listed on the application may award

      masterpoints.  If a schedule change is contemplated or proposed, two

      weeks notice must be given to ACBL before the change may be made.

      However, no notice is necessary if a club's regularly scheduled session

      falls on the evening (6:00 p.m. or later) of December 31 (New Year's

      Eve).  The club may schedule two sessions of play that night-one to

      begin before midnight and the other after.



                                                       CHAPTER.4 (PAGE 2)



      A club may add or change game sessions on a sanction any time during the

      year, provided that it notifies the ACBL Club Membership Department and

      pays a fee (SEE Appendix G) for each game session changed.



      ACBL regulations permit the canceling of a specific session without

      penalty (SEE CHAPTER.4, Section Three-V.E).  The club manager or

      director must note the canceled game session on the Monthly Report Form.

      No fees are refunded for canceled game sessions.



      ACBL sanctions are not exclusive.  ACBL encourages open competition

      among clubs and will sanction two or more club games simultaneously in

      the same community but usually not at the same location.  When two or

      more club games do occupy the same quarters (as happens when a group of

      sanction holders cooperate to maintain a city bridge center), they may

      not operate simultaneously unless their games are of a different class.


      Units may not compete with existing club games.  A unit may sponsor a

      club game or games when no existing club game(s) is in operation in a

      given area.  Exception: Units operating a club-type game prior to a new

      game receiving sanction may continue to do so.



      Every club holding ACBL sanctioned games has the right to run one

      special club championship game each calendar quarter for each game

      session sanctioned.  For example, a club that meets twice each week may

      hold two club championships per quarter.  Regulations that cover club

      championships are explained in detail in Section Six of this chapter.


      When a club recruits 10 new members, one additional club championship

      may be upgraded to a sectional-rated, black point game (SEE CHAPTER.4,

      Section Six-I.)



      Clubs that operate in full compliance with ACBL regulations remain in

      good standing.  On application, ACBL will renew their game sanctions for

      the following year.  However, ACBL will not renew sanctions for clubs

      that have unresolved problems with monthly or special game reports until

      the problems are resolved.  ACBL is not obligated to renew sanctions for

      clubs with significant violations of ACBL rules and regulations.



     All fees and charges for sanctions are payable in U.S. funds or

     designated equivalent.


      ACBL considers a club game new if it has not been sanctioned previously

      at the specific location for which it is applying, if it fails to renew

      its sanction by January 31, if it is on inactive status, or if it has

      not conducted regularly scheduled duplicate games during the preceding

      calendar year.  However, if a club moves to a new location in the same

      playing area and retains its regular clientele and club number, ACBL

      does not consider it new.  Should a new club game sanction be denied, a

      specific reason will be given.



                                                       CHAPTER.4 (PAGE 3)



      When a club files its annual sanction application, it must include a fee

      for each regularly scheduled game session it intends to conduct.  This

      fee is paid once a year (SEE Appendix G).  A regularly scheduled game

      session is held at approximately the same time of day, on the same day

      of the week, either weekly, every other week (for example, every other

      Wednesday), twice a month (for example, the second and fourth Wednesday

      of every month), or monthly.  Games that operate for only a short time

      during the year (for example, during summer months or fall holidays) are

      subject to this fee, just as if sessions were held throughout the year.



      A club must pay a fee for each sanctioned game session held plus a fee

      for each table in play.  ACBL charges only one game session fee if

      different levels of games are held simultaneously.  The club must show

      on the Monthly Report Form the number of game sessions played, as well

      as an exact listing of the number of tables in play at each game session

      (SEE CHAPTER.4, Table 4.1, page 5).  The club must send this report to

      ACBL along with the remittance to cover the fees due.


      NOTE: Sanction and session fees are waived for any game that a club

      schedules to recruit new members and for which it charges no entry fee.




      When ACBL receives an application for a new club game sanction or

      reinstatement of a lapsed sanction, there is an automatic 30-day

      probationary period before the sanction is issued.  During this period,

      copies of the application are sent to an official of the unit that has

      jurisdiction and, on request, to the district director for their



      ACBL also requires a 30-day probationary period when a club game

      sanction is transferred to a new owner or group.  During that time the

      unit and/or district director may assess the club's new management.  The

      ACBL will waive the 30-day probationary period if the unit or the

      district director agrees in writing to the waiver.



      A unit or district director may object to a masterpoint game sanction

      being granted on the grounds that: (1) the proposed quarters are not

      suitable, or (2) the applicant's record as an ACBL member indicates

      previous failures in meeting ACBL standards.  ACBL may refuse to grant a

      new sanction because of the applicant's and/or club manager's history of

      failure to adhere to ACBL regulations.  If ACBL rejects an application

      because of an objection from the unit or district director, the

      applicant may appeal the rejection to the ACBL Board of Directors.  The

      applicant must make the appeal within 30 days of the date he or she

      received notice that the application was rejected.



      A sanction is valid only until the end of the calendar year for which it

      was issued (SEE CHAPTER.4, Section One-V.D).  ACBL will not renew a

      sanction if the club fails to observe regulations, including those that

      concern reporting and paying for special events sanctioned by the club.



                                                       CHAPTER.4 (PAGE 4)



      If for some reason, such as remodeling playing quarters or location

      loss, a club must close a game for an extended period of time, ACBL will

      place the sanction on an inactive status.  ACBL will not renew the

      sanction for the following year unless the club has a location and a

      specific date when games will resume.



      A. MANAGER

      Every ACBL sanctioned masterpoint club game must designate an active

      ACBL member as its manager, except as noted below.  The manager may be

      the owner or may be elected, appointed, or hired.  If the club sponsor

      is a non-bridge-related organization, the club manager may be a non-ACBL

      member employee of the sponsoring organization.  The club manager is

      accountable to ACBL for the enforcement of ACBL rules and regulations in

      all sanctioned games the club conducts.  The club manager must supervise

      the following activities:


      - Issuance of club masterpoint receipts

      - Preparation and filing of the Monthly Report Form

      - Correspondence with ACBL on club game matters

      - Application for sanction renewals and reporting any change of club

        managers or session changes on a form provided by ACBL.  The

        signatures of both club manager and owner (proprietary club), or club

        manager and president or secretary (membership or sponsored club) must

        be on the form when it is filed.



      CLUB IDENTIFICATION NUMBER:  Each club holding ACBL sanctioned games

      receives an identification number, which should be included on all

      correspondence with ACBL.


      GAME SESSION NUMBER:  For ease of identification, especially in filling

      out the Monthly Report Form, all game sessions are assigned identifying

      numbers as shown in Table 4.1 below:



          GAME SESSION      NUMBER              GAME SESSION        NUMBER

         Monday morning          1              Thursday evening      12

         Monday afternoon        2              Friday morning        13

         Monday evening          3              Friday afternoon      14

         Tuesday morning         4              Friday evening        15

         Tuesday afternoon       5              Saturday morning      16

         Tuesday evening         6              Saturday afternoon    17

         Wednesday morning       7              Saturday evening      18

         Wednesday afternoon     8              Sunday morning        19

         Wednesday evening       9              Sunday afternoon      20

         Thursday morning       10              Sunday evening        21

         Thursday afternoon   11             Any other games

                                                  (cruises, etc.)     22


      Games that start prior to noon are morning games; games that start from

      noon to but not including 6:00 p.m. are afternoon games; and games that

      start from 6:00 p.m. to but not including midnight are evening games.



                                                          CHAPTER.4 (PAGE 5)



      PROPRIETARY CLUB: The club manager and the club owner(s) of a

      proprietary club (a club owned by one or more individuals) must sign the

      sanction application.


      SPONSORED CLUB: For a sponsored club (one that has a governing body such

      as a board of directors), the club manager and either the president or

      the secretary of the club must sign the sanction application.  For a

      club that is sponsored by a non-bridge related organization (such as a

      private company or industry, a government agency, a YMCA, or a country

      club), the club manager and an official of the sponsoring organization

      (for example, the director of recreation, the building manager, or the

      program director) must sign the sanction application.



      In September, ACBL sends every club holding ACBL sanctioned masterpoint

      games a renewal application.  The application lists all information on

      record with ACBL concerning the club's operation except the names of the

      owners.  The club should indicate corrections, additions, or changes on

      the renewal application.  The club should then return the application

      form to ACBL headquarters with the appropriate fees.  Noted changes

      become effective January 1 of the year for which the sanction is

      granted, unless otherwise noted and approved.  Renewals for sponsored

      club games must have the signatures of the club manager and the

      president or secretary.  If ACBL does not receive an application for

      sanction renewal before January 31 of the new year, the sanction will be




      An application for an ACBL club game sanction will not be accepted until

      the club manager or responsible party signs the following arbitration









      ACBL sends a year's supply of Monthly Report Forms (SEE page 46) to the

      club manager on approval of the sanction renewal.  The club must file

      the report for each month by the tenth of the following month and must

      include the appropriate remittance.  If a club's monthly report(s), with

      fees, is not received on time, a late fee will be assessed.



      SUMMARY SUSPENSION BY MANAGEMENT: ACBL management has the right to

      cancel a club game sanction summarily for refusal to comply with ACBL

      regulations or with management's interpretation of those regulations.

      The club may appeal such a cancellation to the ACBL Board of Directors

      but must suspend operations pending the hearing of the appeal.



                                                       CHAPTER.4 (PAGE 6)


      SUSPENSION BY THE UNIT:  The unit, by committee or the unit board, may

      hold a hearing and recommend to ACBL that a club game sanction be

      canceled for violation of ACBL rules and/or regulations during ACBL

      sanctioned games.  If ACBL follows such a recommendation, the club

      holding the game so canceled may appeal to the District organization.

      Pending the outcome of the appeal to the district, the club may continue

      to operate.  Appeals from district recommendations are appealable to the

      ACBL Board of Directors.



     There are four types of regular club games: open,

     invitational/restricted, newcomer, and Bridge Plus.  One or more types of

     games may be listed on a single sanction.


     For ease of identification, especially in filling out monthly reports,

     these games are assigned classes as follows:

                    Open                             Class 4

                    Invitational/Restricted          Class 3

                    Newcomer                         Class 2

                    Bridge Plus                      Class 1

     On written request to the ACBL Club Membership Department, the club may

     change the status of a game.


     I.  OPEN GAME

     This game is open to all ACBL members.  Prohibiting or allowing

     non-members of ACBL to play does not affect open game status.


     In an open game a club may not bar players because of their bridge

     proficiency, religious or political affiliations, sexual orientation,

     race or national origin, nor may it prohibit partnership formation

     because of the skill of the pair.  The club may not place the majority of

     strong pairs in one direction, nor may it otherwise segregate entries

     into strong and weak groups (SEE CHAPTER.4, Section Three-IV.B).



      In an open game a club may stipulate that each participant hold a

      minimum number of masterpoints but cannot stipulate a maximum.  For

      example, an open game could specify that all players must have no fewer

      than 20 masterpoints but could not refuse entry to a Life Master.



      Club managers may regulate conventions in games conducted at their

      clubs.  A complete list of conventions that may be used for club play is

      shown on the ACBL General Convention Chart/SuperChart (SEE Appendix

      A; additional copies may be purchased from the ACBL Sales Department).



      A club that charges a membership fee may conduct an open game, but the

      game must be open to all ACBL members, whether or not they are members

      of the club.  However, the club may allow its own members to play at a

      reduced fee.


      The entry fee for a non-member may be as much as 50% more than a

      member's entry fee.  However, if the member entry fee is less than

      $1.00, a surcharge of $.50 for non-members is permissible.



                                                       CHAPTER.4 (PAGE 7)



      An open pair game must have a minimum of two-and-one-half tables.  A two

      table individual with a one-winner movement or a two table team game

      (.01 masterpoints per board played, match awards only) is allowed.  In

      any open club game every contestant must play AT LEAST 18 boards.


      Sanctioned clubs may hold shortened regular open games (not to include

      any special games awarding extra masterpoints) with a minimum number of

      boards played of 12.  Masterpoints will be awarded at 80% of the award

      for open games.  Sanction fees will be the same as for open games.



     An invitational game is one that limits or places restrictions on who can

     participate in its events.  Participation commonly is limited to:


     -  Members and guests of the organization that holds the sanction (such as

        a country club or a fraternal organization)

     -  Personnel (and their families and guests) of industries that are

        currently participating in commercial and industrial leagues

     -  Players who hold fewer than a stipulated number of masterpoints (when

        the maximum permitted is fewer than 20, the game is defined as a

        newcomer game)

     -  Sections or directions segregated according to strong and weak pairs

     -  Strong players forbidden to play as partners

     -  Husbands and wives only

     -  Life Masters excluded or required to play with non-Life Masters

     -  Members of one sex only


     Eligibility may be restricted for any reason except those that violate

     ACBL bylaws.


     An invitational/restricted game may have no fewer than two-and-one-half

     tables (except in the case of a two-table individual with a one-winner

     movement), and every contestant must play AT LEAST 18 boards.



     A newcomer game is limited to players who hold fewer than 20

     masterpoints, although a club can set a lower maximum, such as 1

     masterpoint, if it so desires.


     A newcomer game is conducted to acquaint new players with duplicate

     bridge and to encourage participation by inexperienced players.


     A newcomer game must consist of at least two-and-one-half tables.

     However, there are masterpoint awards for two-table newcomer games

     conducted as individuals or team games.  AT LEAST 10 BOARDS MUST BE



     Any club with a sanctioned game may conduct a newcomer game session.  The

     game session may be run any time, even if another regular club game

     session is running concurrently.  However, the club must list the

     newcomer game session on the sanction application and the monthly report.



                                                       CHAPTER.4 (PAGE 8)



     ACBL recognizes that some relatively skilled players, through failure to

     register their club masterpoints, retain masterpoint eligibility to

     participate in newcomer events inappropriate to their skill and/or

     experience.  When the director or club management determines that the

     ability of a player is vastly superior to that of the other newcomer game

     participants, the club may refuse entry of that player in its newcomer



     In such a case, the director should advise the player, as diplomatically

     as possible, that he or she is too proficient to play in the newcomer

     game.  The director should encourage the player instead to participate in

     the club's games with a higher masterpoint limitation or the open games.



      Subject to specified conditions, a club may allow one or two players who

      hold 20 or more masterpoints to play in a newcomer game.  This would be

      the case when there is a single newcomer player available whose

      participation would eliminate a half-table movement.  For example, if

      there were 13 pairs plus one single, there would be a 6 1/2 - table game

      which, by adding a player, would become seven tables.  In this instance,

      the club may allow one non-newcomer to play.  In addition, when there is

      an odd number of newcomer pairs entered, resulting in a half-table

      movement, the club may allow two non-newcomer players to participate if

      each plays with a newcomer partner and if a Mitchell-type movement is

      used; that is, the two newcomer/non-newcomer pairs sit in opposite

      directions.  These pairs are ineligible for masterpoint awards from the

      newcomer event.  In no case may the two non-newcomer players play as



      A partnership, including one with a fill-in player (non-newcomer), may

      use only the conventions the club allows for that game.



      Pairs in which one partner is a non-newcomer will not receive

      masterpoints and will not be ranked.  For example, if an ineligible pair

      earns sufficient matchpoints to have finished second, that pair is not

      ranked.  Instead, the third-place pair is ranked second and receives the

      second place masterpoint awards.  In such a case, all lower-ranked pairs

      move up one rank, accordingly.



      Ineligible pairs count in table totals.  For example, ACBL considers as

      a three-table game one that consists of four pairs of newcomers and two

      other pairs, each of which is made up of one newcomer and one

      non-newcomer, even though the two mixed (non-newcomer and newcomer)

      pairs are ineligible for masterpoint awards.



                                                       CHAPTER.4 (PAGE 9)



      At the discretion of club management, three-member pairs may participate

      in newcomer games.  The club will apportion earned masterpoints among

      the three players in a ratio that approximates the number of boards each

      played. For example, a  pair consisting of newcomer players A, B, and C

      finishes first in a newcomer game where each member of a two-member pair

      is entitled to .40  masterpoints, or .80 masterpoints for the pair.  In

      this three-member pair, however, A, B, and C split .80 masterpoints

      according to the number of boards each played.



     In addition to regular games, ACBL designs special programs to stimulate

     bridge activity.  If the sanctioned activities listed below do not meet

     the requirements of a group or organization, ACBL may be able to prepare

     a special program that does.  Anyone interested may contact the ACBL Club

     Membership Department.



      A club may conduct ACBL introductory games without first obtaining

      sanctions, but the games must have ACBL approval.  The purpose of these

      games is to acquaint members of nonaffiliated groups or organizations

      with duplicate bridge and the American Contract Bridge League.


      Bridge teachers, club managers, or enthusiastic individual members are

      usually the ones who organize introductory games.  Groups, such as

      luncheon clubs, religious organizations, or industries interested in the

      social or promotional possibilities of these games often sponsor them.


      The individuals who direct these games should have reasonable

      qualifications.  The director usually issues club masterpoint

      certificates, which are available from the ACBL Club Membership

      Department (SEE CHAPTER.4, Section Four-II.A).


      Each game must have at least three tables, and each player must complete

      at least 10 boards.



      Handicapping of regularly sanctioned club games can encourage players

      with limited experience to attend the games by giving them more

      opportunity to win club masterpoints.  Stronger players also may be

      freshly challenged by having to play better in order to win.


      When a club holds a handicap game, it must be held during one of the

      club's regularly scheduled sanctioned games.  The game may be organized

      in any of the following ways:

      - Creating a new game at a time different from that of existing games

        (with the expectation of drawing players not now engaging in duplicate


      - Converting one session per week from an existing game to a handicap


      - Converting an existing game to a handicap game for half of its

        sessions (for example, every other week there could be a handicap


      - Where the clientele is large enough, converting a section of play to

        handicap format, keeping one section as regular duplicate bridge.



                                                       CHAPTER.4 (PAGE 10)



      - Creating a bridge team league in which all players have handicaps for

        a round-robin season.

      - Conducting Swiss team sessions at specified times with the teams


      Clubs may establish handicaps by averaging a player's previous

      performances in comparable club game sessions or by considering the

      player's ACBL rank.


      To establish handicaps for existing clientele, directors should use past

      recap sheets from recent game sessions.  For example, to compute each

      participant's percent of possible score for the last three games in

      which each took part, the player's matchpoint score would be divided by

      the maximum possible score, then a percentage average would be computed.

      The average is the sum of the three percentages divided by three.  The

      handicap percentage would be determined by subtracting the average from

      0.650 (par) and multiplying the result by 0.80 (or 0.90).  This method

      would provide the player with a handicap of 80 or 90% of the difference

      between their "average" and a stated par of 65%.


      A sample handicap determination follows:  Scores were 0.510, 0.537, and

      0.610, for a total of 1.657.  Dividing the total by 3 yields an average

      0.552.  Then, subtracting 0.552 from 0.650 yields 0.098, which,

      multiplied by 0.90 equals a handicap of 0.088, or 8.8%.


      To arrive at the handicap for a pair, the handicaps of both players are

      added together and divided by two.  While the game is being played, the

      percentage handicap for each pair is converted to handicap matchpoints.

      This is accomplished by multiplying the percentage handicap by the

      possible matchpoints (for example, 156 average equals 312 possible).

      The handicap matchpoints for each pair are posted in a column in which

      they can be added easily to the raw score matchpoints.  The after-game

      calculations are merely a matter of adding two matchpoint totals

      together.  A sample calculation follows.  Percent handicap times

      possible matchpoints equals the matchpoint handicap, which is to be

      added to raw score.              0.088 x 312 = 27

                                        0.081 x 312 = 25

                                        0.102 x 312 = 32

                                        0.125 x 312 = 39

                                        0.075 x 312 = 23

      This calculation may be eased by subtracting the lowest matchpoint

      handicap from all the others.  Thus the pair with the lowest handicap

      has nothing added to their raw score, and the other matchpoint handicaps

      are reduced appropriately.  As an example, if the lowest handicap in the

      field is 15 matchpoints, subtract 15 from each pair's calculated total.


      When a contestant has not played in three previous games, the club

      director may use any of the following options:


      - Explain that the player cannot use a handicap until he or she

        completes three games at the club.

      - Establish the handicap based on only one game (at the conclusion of

        that game, or at the conclusion of two or three games).



                                                       CHAPTER.4 (PAGE 11)



      - Base the handicap for the first game on the player's rank (SEE Table

        4.2).  For non-members, ACBL suggests that the handicap shown on the

        chart for the Club Master category be arbitrarily assigned.


      There are two methods of awarding masterpoints: split masterpoint awards

      or 100% awards for scratch winners and 50% awards for handicap winners.

      In the split method there are two winner categories, or fields: raw

      score and handicap score.  The first-place award in each field will be

      one-half of what it would be normally (maximum in each field for first

      place will be 0.75 club masterpoints). Players placing in both fields

      (which is what often happens) receive the total of the two awards added



      In the other method the scratch winners receive 100% awards while the

      handicap winners receive 50% awards.  Players receive the higher of the

      awards, but NOT both.


      ACBL suggests that club masterpoint certificates be marked with an "H"

      to indicate handicap place of finish and with an "R" to indicate raw

      score place of finish.


      The club should indicate on its Monthly Report Forms and on the Club

      Masterpoint Certificates those games that are handicap games.


      Handicaps based on rank are easier to administer and maintain than any

      other form of handicapping. Using the rank format, each member's

      handicap is added to that of his or her partner to determine the size of

      the handicap.  One board equals the maximum matchpoints possible on a

      board. For example, a Junior Master (1 1/4 boards) playing with a

      Sectional Master (3/4 board) would have a handicap equal to two boards.


      For further information about handicapped games, the pamphlet

      "HANDICAPS" is available from the ACBL Club Membership Department.

                         TABLE 4.2  HANDICAP BONUS TABLE (RANK)


         Player Rank         Masterpoints    Percent Handicap    Bonus Board

         Rookie                0-  4.99            25               1-1/2

         Junior Master         5- 19.99            22               1-1/4

         Club Master          20- 49.99            19               1

         Sectional Master     50- 99.99            16               3/4

         Regional Master     100-199.99            13               1/2

         NABC Master         200+ (not LM)         10               1/4

         Life Master         Under 500              5               1/8

         Life Master         500+                   0               0



      A stratified pair game is one that produces more than one set of

      winners.  All pairs are ranked in the top stratum; the pairs in the top

      stratum are eliminated in determining the ranks in Stratum B; both A and

      B pairs are eliminated in determining the ranks in Stratum C.  It is

      possible for Stratum B and C pairs to place in the higher strata, but

      Stratum A pairs are eligible for A awards only; and Stratum B pairs are

      eligible for A and B awards only.  The stratum in which a pair plays is

      determined by the player who has the most masterpoints.



                                                       CHAPTER.4 (PAGE 12)



      Stratified pair games may be conducted with two or three strata.  The

      lowest stratum may have any upper masterpoint limitation suitable for

      the club.  The lowest stratum must have at least five pairs for overall

      awards to be issued and at least three pairs in a comparison group for

      section awards to be issued.  There should be approximately the same

      number of pairs sitting N/S and E/W in each stratum, so that the section

      awards will be equal.


      The game is first scored on the total number of tables in play, and

      masterpoints are computed from the Open/Invitational point award chart.

      Awards for the second stratum include tables in the remainder of the

      game (all but the top stratum) and are computed from the appropriate

      point award chart.


      In a Newcomer stratum (0 to 20 masterpoints), only tables in this

      stratum receive masterpoints, from the newcomer award chart.


      The club issues masterpoints to each player based on the place of

      finish.  If the player places in more than one stratum, the player

      receives the higher of the two awards, not both.


      For further information about stratified games, the pamphlet

      "STRATIFYING YOUR CLUB GAME" is available from the ACBL Club Membership




      The purpose of the home style bridge concept is to attract primarily the

      non-duplicate bridge playing public to ACBL clubs.  Home style bridge is

      an easy-to-run, fun game.  Since cards are shuffled and dealt for each

      hand, social and rubber bridge players adapt to it easily.


      The Swiss pairs format is the most popular among the clubs that have

      tried this program.  Pairs are each assigned a different number and are

      seated at random for the first round.  Players cut for the deal and, in

      most movements, play four deals per round.  At the end of the round they

      total their scores and report the point difference (either plus or

      minus) to the game director.  The game director converts the score to

      victory points (SEE CHAPTER.4, Section Seven-I.B.2) and records this

      figure on the recap sheet.  Starting with the two highest victory point

      totals, the director assigns the seating for the next round so that

      pairs with the closest scores play against each other.  The same

      procedure is used for all succeeding rounds.  A record of the pair

      assignments for each round must be kept by the director so that pairs

      play against each other only once in the same session.  After all the

      players receive their seating assignments, the next round begins.


      Overall and match awards are issued for this type of contest.  Match

      awards are based on total score before conversion to victory points.  In

      the case of a tie, each pair receives one-half of the individual match



      Match awards, which are based on the number of boards played in the

      match and the classification of the club, may be found in the

      Masterpoint Award Charts located in files MPSWISS or MPKOS.



                                                       CHAPTER.4 (PAGE 13)



      Open clubs issue .04 club masterpoints to the winners of each four-board

      match, and invitational/newcomer clubs award .03 club masterpoints for

      each four-board match. Overall rank is based on the total victory points

      won in a complete session of play.  Players receive either the overall

      award or the total of the match awards, whichever is greater.  For

      overall masterpoint awards, refer to the files MPPAIRS, MPSWISS, MPKOS.

      These games earn the same overall masterpoint awards as any other

      regularly sanctioned club game; that is, awards are based on the type of

      club (open, invitational/ restricted, or newcomer).


      When issuing Club Masterpoint Certificates for these games, the letters

      H.S. should be printed to the left of the box in which the amount of the

      award is written.


      Home style bridge may be used in club games only.  It may be used in

      club championships and charity club championships but not for ACBL-wide

      events, district-wide events, or any other special events.  Clubs must

      apply to the ACBL Club Membership Department to conduct home style

      bridge games that will issue masterpoints.  The Alert procedure and skip

      bid warning are not encouraged for this type of event.


      Regular convention cards should not be used for home style games.  An

      inexpensive, specially designed home style convention card is available

      from ACBL.



      ACBL offers a plan for duplicate bridge activity on college campuses.

      On request, the ACBL Education Department will send an information

      packet and a sanction application to any student or faculty member who

      is interested in operating a sanctioned bridge game on any campus within

      ACBL jurisdiction.  The sanction application should be completed in

      accordance with the regulations listed below and returned to the ACBL

      Education Department.


      - Games are to be open to students, faculty members, and their spouses


      - No matter how many times a year a game is scheduled, an annual fee for

        each game session must accompany the application.  The sanction year

        runs from January 1 through December 31.

      - The college game is not required to operate on a regular schedule.

        The day of the week may be changed if the change does not interfere

        with the schedule of an existing open club on the campus.

      - The game will be allotted one session with club championship rating

        for every 12 regular sessions played.

      - The college game is rated as an invitational game.

      - Each game must submit a Monthly Report of all game activity that

        occurred during the preceding month.  Report forms are sent along with

        sanction approval.  The Monthly Report must be mailed to ACBL no later

        than the 10th of the month following the month in which the reported

        games were played.

      - A fee for each game plus a fee for each table must be sent with the

        report form.

      - A faculty adviser must co-sign the sanction application and must agree

        to serve as the official ACBL contact.



                                                       CHAPTER.4 (PAGE 14)



      The month of February is designated as Junior month.  During this month

      each club is authorized to hold sectional-rated black point Junior Fund

      games.  All clubs may run as many fund games as they have games.  Up to

      four Junior Fund Games may be run in any other month.  The additional

      fees (see Appendix G) go to the ACBL Junior Fund in the USA and the

      Canadian Junior Fund in Canada (Canadian dollars).  Bermuda and Mexico

      fees can go to either of the above funds or an equivalent fund.



      A high school interested in adopting a program similar to that offered

      to a college should write to the ACBL Education Department for more




      A bridge teacher may apply for a special sanction to conduct a pupil

      game.  ACBL will issue the sanction free of charge if: (1) the applicant

      is an ACBL member, (2) the game is restricted to bona fide students of

      the sanction holder, (3) the lessons run for a minimum of 45 minutes,

      and (4)  at least nine boards are to be played.  A minimum of at least

      eight participating students is required. If there are only two tables,

      the game must be run as a team event, individual event, or Swiss pair



      The game may be sanctioned as a regularly scheduled session or

      periodically, subject to ACBL regulations.  The sessions may be run at

      different times and places from the lessons.  A monthly report form is

      not required for pupil games, and there are no session or table fees.


      The teacher who runs the game need not be an ACBL club director.  The

      interests of both the teacher and the pupils are advanced substantially,

      however, if the teacher has such a rating.



      These games provide a transition from ACBL beginning bridge classes to

      newcomer games conducted at ACBL-sanctioned games.  They are operated by

      ACBL accredited teachers.  Players are encouraged to ask the teachers

      for advice on bidding and playing the hands after play has been



      A sanction is required to conduct an ACBL Bridge Plus game.  Bridge Plus

      sanctions are issued free of session fees if all of the following

      conditions are met:


      - The applicant must be an ACBL accredited teacher or a club manager in

        conjunction with an ACBL accredited teacher, but only the teacher is

        authorized to run the game.

      - Only bona fide students with fewer than 5 masterpoints may participate

        in the game.

      - The game must consist of 10 to 14 boards.

      - The game must be sanctioned for weekly operation and should be run for

        no fewer than two hours and no more than two-and-one-half hours.



                                                       CHAPTER.4 (PAGE 15)



      - Monthly Reports must be sent to ACBL by the tenth of the month

        following the month in which the game was held, and the reports must

        show the dates the games were held and the number of tables in play.

        Per table and per game fees must accompany the reports.  The ACBL Club

        Membership Department provides the blank Monthly Report forms.


      If an accredited teacher is not able to meet all the above conditions,

      he or she may conduct a cost-free sanctioned pupil game.


      ACBL recommends (but does not make mandatory) the provision of a non-

      smoking environment in a separate room in which there are no other games

      being conducted.


      Club Masterpoint Certificate pads are available to the sanction holder,

      and only the club manager or co-manager can issue the masterpoints.  A

      minimum of 0.10 masterpoints will be awarded to the winners of three

      table games.


      The teacher who runs the game need not be a club director, although ACBL

      encourages teachers to have this rating.  The teacher/director resolves

      all irregularities.


      At the teacher's discretion, beginning bridge players with whom he or

      she is acquainted or friends of the students may play in Bridge Plus



      The teacher may use pre-dealt hands each week.  A set of newcomer hands

      can be purchased from the ACBL Sales Department.



      The ACBL sanctions duplicate games as part of the social program aboard

      cruise ships.  Any ship that conducts sanctioned bridge games must pay

      an annual sanction fee. This fee permits the ship to conduct sanctioned

      games on all its cruises for the entire year.  A letter of permission

      from the cruise line authorizing a director to conduct a bridge program

      on the ship for a calendar year must accompany the sanction application.

      The ACBL provides a free supply of club masterpoint reports and



      The ACBL will sanction games on a ship for a single cruise that does not

      exceed 14 days, charging a sanction fee.  There is one sanction fee for

      cruises of one to seven days and a larger sanction fee for cruises of

      eight to thirty days (see Appendix G).  Whoever receives sanctions for

      cruise ships is expected, within the constraints placed upon them by the

      cruise lines, to actively promote ACBL for the purpose of recruiting new



      ACBL defines the duration of a cruise as the period from the time the

      ship leaves the port of embarkation until it either returns to that port

      or terminates the advertised cruise at a different port.  A 40-day

      cruise to the Orient, for example, is a single cruise, even though it

      may involve 18 days going, 4 days in port, and 18 days returning.



                                                       CHAPTER.4 (PAGE 16)



      Cruise ships need not hold club masterpoint games at regularly scheduled

      intervals.  Since the games are part of the social activity, they must

      suit the convenience of the players.  The technical operation of the

      games must follow the regulations set forth for most sanctioned club

      games, with the following exceptions:


      - There are no table and session fees, and the director of the

        sanctioned cruise game does not have to submit a Monthly Report form.

      - Masterpoint awards are 50% of the award for an open club game.

        Directors also may hold newcomer games if warranted.

      - ACBL regulations require that these games have a club or higher rated


      - There is no requirement that a specific number of boards be played

        during a session.  Masterpoint awards for such events are the same as

        they are for a complete game.


      As a supplement to the cruise games authorized, cruise championships may

      be scheduled in accordance with the following regulations:


      - A limit of one cruise championship event of each kind every 14 days

        may be held during the cruise.  The event may be of one or two

        sessions.  Typical cruise championship events are open pairs, men's

        and women's pairs, mixed pairs, and individuals.

      - Masterpoint awards for cruise championships are 50% of an open game

        championship.  Players who earn masterpoints in a cruise game receive

        their points from ACBL.


      Directors or managers on cruise ships need not pay the per table session

      fees, but must submit club masterpoint reports to ACBL at the end of the




      The sanction fees for land cruises are the same as they are for ship

      cruises.  The only difference is that the "cruise" is held on land.

      Land cruises that operate at a single site in an ACBL country for more

      than 14 days will be sanctioned as a club game and report as one.  All

      other land cruises held in an ACBL country that are open to all ACBL

      members will be able to award masterpoints at full open club value.

      ACBL would consider, for example, a sanctioned bridge game held over a

      weekend at a vacation resort as a single land cruise.



      Masterpoints can now be awarded in online computer bridge games.  The

      recognition of these points will be in the form of a new type of

      masterpoint and they will have no pigmentation.  No more than 1/3 of the

      masterpoints needed to achieve established ACBL status levels can be

      from online play.  Thus no more than 100 of the required 300

      masterpoints for Life Master may come from online play.  The total

      number of masterpoints available to be awarded in an online club game

      will be the same as in a comparably sized face-to face game.

Go to:  Index   Part 2 - page 17-32     Part 3 - page 33-51


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