This Handbook is an expression of the concern that the American Bridge Association has for our new players. Our intent is provide
information about duplicate bridge that will make you feel more competent at
the bridge table and provide some essential information about the operational
aspects of the ABA.
This Handbook is dedicated to Mrs. Sara Pearson, past Western Section Vice
President, for allowing us to use the materials developed for the Western
Section Handbook as basis for this manual.
ABA is a national organization of predominately Afro-American bridge players.
To paraphrase Sara: "while we are not a social club, we are a very close
group and act like a large extended family. . We welcome you to the ABA family,
and hope you enjoy many hours at the table playing duplicate bridge."
Table of Contents
WHAT IS DUPLICATE BRIDGE?. 4
WHAT IS TOURNAMENT BRIDGE?. 4
MECHANICS OF DUPLICATE BRIDGE.. 4
INDIVIDUAL BOOKKEEPING.. 5
DUPLICATE SCORING.. 6
FULFILLING A DOUBLED OR
REDOUBLED CONTRACT.. 7
LEARN HOW TO SCORE.. 7
IMP DIFFERENCE VICTORY POINTS. 9
THE CONVENTION CARD.. 10
YOU AND THE TOURNAMENT DIRECTOR.. 10
RULES AND GUIDELINES FOR
DUPLICATE BRIDGE.. 12
WHAT IS THE AMERICAN BRIDGE
ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE.. 15
LOCAL CLUB.. 15
The UNIT.. 15
THE INDEPENDENT CLUB.. 15
The SECTION.. 15
WHAT IS ABA MEMBERSHIP?. 16
PLAYER CLASSIFICATION.. 17
FIELD CLASSIFICATION MASTER
NEW PLAYER FIELD -0-24 MASTER
MASTER POINT AWARDS. 20
Schedule of Sanction Fees 25
A GLOSSARY OF BRIDGE TERMS. 29
RECOMMENDED BRIDGE BOOKS FOR NEW
2008-09 National Officers and
Error! Bookmark not defined.
WHAT IS DUPLICATE BRIDGE?
bridge is the form of contract bridge that is played in all major national and
international tournaments and is sometimes called Tournament Bridge. It is the
form of bridge played in most clubs - country clubs, social clubs and in some
people's homes. The game is called "Duplicate" because each hand is
played at least twice (but not by the same players) under conditions that are
exactly alike, same cards in each hand, same dealer, and same vulnerability.
Only the bidding and play, and consequently the score, might vary each time a
particular hand is played.
The results from each time the board is played
are compared with those of the players who held the same cards under the
conditions set by each board. If a partnership sits East-West, the results will
be compared with other East-West in the field. The same is true for the
North-South partnerships. The number of points scored during the play of a
given hand is not as important as the number of pairs that are outscored. At
duplicate it is possible to score well with a minus score since others may lose
more points on a board.
Eight players are enough to have a
duplicate game at home. (An experienced duplicate player may help you conduct a
game. Don't hesitate to ask.) You may wish to purchase your own set of
duplicate boards and other equipment from any bridge supply company.
WHAT IS TOURNAMENT BRIDGE?
Tournament Bridge for the most part is duplicate
bridge. Each hand, instead of being played only once, as would be the case
in rubber bridge, is bid and played by two or more different pairs but always
under conditions that exactly duplicate the playing conditions; dealer,
vulnerability, and exact card-holding in each hand are precisely the same. Only
the resulting score might vary due to differences in the play, bidding or both.
MECHANICS OF DUPLICATE BRIDGE
The mechanics of duplicate bridge are
simple and may be learned as you learn the game itself. The hands are shuffled
and dealt, or prepared from hand records, the first time they are to be played.
Hands will not be redealt but will be moved as they are from table to table for
play by other contestants. The completed hands are put into a numbered
duplicate board. This is a tray with four pockets, one for each player's hand
(See Figure 1). The board has a printed arrow pointing to a position designated
as North. The dealer and vulnerability is shown as well. The word
"Dealer" is printed above the pocket of the player so designated. If
a side is vulnerable, the abbreviation "VUL" will be shown above the
pockets, which hold the cards of the partnership. The pockets will also usually
be lined with red. However some duplicate boards may not have red pockets so
players must be alert for the written designation. Being vulnerable means that
premiums for games and slams will be greater and penalties for undertricks at
any contract will be increased.
Figure 1. A Duplicate Board
The tables being used for a duplicate
will have markers placed on them by the Director of the game to show the table
numbers and the designated compass directions, North, South, East, and West. I
All tables will have the same compass orientation. This is to ensure the proper
movement of the players and boards as the game progresses. The player sitting North
at each table is responsible for the orientation of the boards and must ensure
that the North position on the boards matches the direction designated as North
by the table marker.
The Director assigns an initial position
to the contestants (individual, pair or team) at the start of a session. Unless
otherwise directed, the members of each pair or team may select seats, among
those assigned to them, by mutual agreement. Having once selected a compass
direction (example NORTH or EAST), a player may not change it except on
instruction from or with permission of the Director.
bridge other players must play the same hand after you, therefore to prevent
mixing up the cards individual bookkeeping is required. Each defender, declarer
and dummy when playing to a trick puts his card on the table immediately in
front of himself. When all four cards have been played, each player turns his
own card over face down and places it along the edge of the table starting on
his left. The individual cards are placed so that the narrow edge is parallel
to the edge of the table of the side winning the trick (See Figure 2). After
the hand has been played out each player will have his thirteen cards face down
in front of him along the edge of the table. After both sides have verified the
results each player will count his cards to be sure of thirteen and return them
face down in his designated pocket of the board played. If you aren't careful
in returning your cards you could foul the board, spoiling the results on later
rounds, and earning yourself a penalty.
Figure 2. Quitted Tricks
common form of duplicate bridge scoring is matchpoint. At duplicate scoring
honors do not count and since every deal is scored separately there is no
carryover of results from previous hands. Trick scoring remains the same, 20
points per trick for minor suits (clubs and diamonds); 30 points per trick for
major suits, (hearts and spades); 40 points for the first trick at no trump and
30 points for each subsequent trick at this denomination. In addition to trick
scores a bonus or 300 points is given for bidding and making a non-vulnerable
game, 500 points for vulnerable game and 50 points for any part score bid and
made regardless of vulnerability. Slam bonuses and penalties remain the same as
reflected in the following chart. Doubled and redoubled premiums are also
shown. Table 1 lists the total score for each possible contract.
Each board is scored separately. In
addition to the trick score, there is a bonus for successfully fulfilling a
For making a GRAND SLAM 1000 1500
For making a SMALL SLAM 500 750
For making ANY GAME 300 500
For making ANY PART-SCORE 50 50
FULFILLING A DOUBLED OR REDOUBLED CONTRACT
Not Vulnerable Vulnerable
Doubled Redoubled Doubled Redoubled
Contracted tricks score is score is score is score
doubled quadrupled doubled quadrupled
Overtricks each 100 200 200 400
Bonus 50 100 50 100
If by chance you fall short of your contract you will
be penalized as follows:
Non Vul Vul
lst Trick 50 100
2nd Trick 50 100
3rdTrick 50 100
Each additional trick 50 100 300
*Redoubled -multiply by 2
LEARN HOW TO SCORE
pick-up slip is made for each round. It records the results of the boards
played that round. (The weekly club games usually have Traveling Score Slips
which stay with the board, folded and concealed in the North pocket) .It is the
responsibility of the North player to enter the accurate score on the pick-up
slip or the traveler. The East-West pair has the responsibility for checking
the accuracy of traveling score slips as well as pick-up slips. Check the score
before you initial it. If the score is correct after you initial the
slip, mark an "x" on the back, and return it to the North player. He
places it face down under the edge of the table marker. A caddy will come to
get it. If the score on a pick-up slip is incorrect ask North to make out a new
slip. Don't accept strikeovers. Destroy the incorrect slip. The Director should
be called for correction to traveling score slips.
LEARN THE METHODS OF SCORING
Pair games are match-pointed. The Director
or scorer match points the boards. On each board a pair gets one match point
for every pair they beat and 1/2 match point for every pair they tie. In team
games, four to six players to a side (only four play at a time) the scoring is
more complex. For Open-Team-of-Four matches that are scored board-a-match, a
team wins, ties, or loses the board. For Swiss, Knock-out (K/O), and Round
Robin (R/R), teams an International Match point (IMP) Scale is required to
score the game. (See Table 2.)
Table 2. - International Match-Point Scale
Difference IMP'S Difference
IMP'S Difference IMP'S
Teams calculate the difference between their scores at
both tables, and use the IMP scale to get their IMP score. For example
At your North-South table (N-S) 620
At your East-West table (E-W) -170
The difference +450 =
The score for the opponents will be just
the opposite (minus 10 IMPs). Write your plus IMPs in one column and your minus
IMPs in another column on the right of your scorecard. Add up each column
separately and find the algebraic difference. That's your net score!
If IMPs are to be converted to Victory
Points, the Director will inform you of the Victory Point Conversion Scale,
since they vary with the number of boards played per round. Here you calculate
the IMPs per round and convert them to Victory Points. Add up your Victory
Points for each round and that is your score! (See example in Table 3).
Table 3. - 14-Point Victory Point Conversion Scale
IMP DIFFERENCE VICTORY POINTS
0 7 7
1-3 8 -6
13-15 12- 2
16-18 13- 1
19 or more 14-0
THE CONVENTION CARD
The outside of your private score is
used as a Convention Card (See Figure 3). Your opponents are entitled to know
your conventions and special treatments. In other words, they are entitled to
know whenever a bid may have an unusual meaning. And, of course, you are
entitled to the same information concerning their conventions and treatments.
Some conventions (like takeout doubles and Blackwood) are so universal that
they are considered standard. Others are so extreme that they are not permitted
in organizational pair games. However, a great many conventions are allowed.
You occasionally will play against a pair who seems to have a "Book"
written on their cards. Don't let this intimidate you. Your opponents are
trying to be scrupulously fair, listing all their conventions to make sure you
are not misled.
YOU AND THE TOURNAMENT DIRECTOR
Every game or competition needs an
umpire. Duplicate bridge has the Tournament Director (TD) who is the technical
manager of your tournament and it's his job to maintain discipline and to
insure the orderly progress of the game. The Director is bound by the laws of
duplicate bridge and by supplementary regulations announced by the sponsoring
organization. Call the Director for all infractions. Don't try to solve them
yourself. He will rectify any errors or irregularities brought to his
attention. Don't feel intimidated if someone calls the Director. The Director
administers and interprets laws. He does this over and over again and has most
of them committed to memory. If you don't understand what the director is
telling you, ask to see it in the book of laws and. Read it for yourself.
For a better knowledge of the laws, purchase the ACBL, Laws of Duplicate
Contract Bridge (Revised! 1987).
Players new to duplicate often misunderstand
or are unaware of the somewhat different rules that govern the tournament game.
Even experienced players sometimes forget these differences. Whenever a law has
been violated or there is a reason to believe that it has, or any irregularity
has occurred, the Director must be called. Newcomers should not be upset
when a Director is called because failure to summon the Director may result in
a forfeit of the rights of any player at that particular table and impact the
overall scoring of the game.
Call for the Director in a moderate tone
of voice. It is not necessary to yell loudly or display any aggressiveness.
Always address the Director by his title and not by name or in any other way by
which you may know him. If you disagree with the ruling, simply tell the
Director that you wish to appeal the ruling and he will provide you with an
appeal application for submission to a committee for review and adjudication.
Figure 3. â€“ The Convention Card
appeal any of the Director's rulings through the Appeals Committee. You must
make your protest in writing and submit it within 30 minutes after the
conclusion of the session. Give all pertinent information. In fact, let the
Director know that you plan to appeal so that he may alert the Appeals
Committee. All persons directly involved must attend the Appeals Committee
meeting. (Laws 92 & 93)
In Pair games, check your matchpoints
after the Recap Sheet has been posted. If there is an error in your score you
may apply for correction. Obtain a Score Correction Form from any Director or
the Scoring Room. Fill in all pertinent information and return it to the Chief
Director or Chief Scorer. Do this immediately! There is an established length
of time (protest period) allowed for applications for score correction to be
considered (The extent of this period is usually posted on the Recap Sheet.)
The Director gives instructions as to
the proper movement of the players and boards from table to table. The session
ends when all the rounds scheduled have been played and all scores have been
properly collected and entered.
Director can assess Penalties for: (Law 90)
1. Tardiness 2. Slow
3. Loud discussion
4. Comparing scores
5. Touching another's cards
6. Misplacing cards in board
7. Failure to comply promptly with
8. Errors in procedure
Power to Suspend (Law 91)
1. In performing his/her duty to
maintain order and discipline, the director is specifically empowered to
suspend a player for the current session or any part thereof.
2. The director is
specifically empowered to disqualify a player, pair or team for cause, subject
to approval by the Tournament Committee or sponsoring organization.
RULES AND GUIDELINES FOR DUPLICATE BRIDGE
1. Maintain a
courteous attitude toward partner and opponents. Avoid remarks that will
interfere with the enjoyment of the game.
2. Do not bid or
play with special emphasis, speed or reluctance.
3. Do not allow
partner's hesitation, remark or mannerism to influence your call or play.
4. Review the auction only for your own information, not
for your partner's.
5. Do not use any
bid or play that may have a special meaning to your partnership unless it is
noted on your convention card and will be alerted by your partner to the
6. Do not detach a
card from your hand before it is your turn to play.
7. Avoid any indication
of approval or disapproval of partner's or opponents' bid or play.
8. Do not make a claim or concession of tricks if there
is any doubt about the outcome of the deal.
9. When dummy, do not exchange hands with your partner
before the opening lead or ask him/her to let you see his/her hand. Also, do
not look at your opponents' hands while your partner is playing a contract.
(Laws 42 & 43)
10. It is considered
unethical to stare at your partner, or your opponent, or to watch them closely
for the purpose of determining the position in the hand from which a card is j
11. Avoid discussing
the bidding, play or results of a board so that it may be overheard. This is
12. Avoid the touching
or handling of cards belonging to another person. After the board has been
played and you wish to see another's hand, ask if you may see the hand. That
person will hold the cards so that you may see them. Only one hand should be
out of the board at a time.
13. Use only the
prescribed language for bids and calls. (A rap on the table does not constitute
a legal pass).
beverages Any use of liquor must
comply with local laws. The serving of drinks at tables is not specifically
prohibited, but if any player at the table objects, such objection must be
sustained by the director. Open display of a pocket flask, wine bottle or
liquor bottle at the table during the game is not permitted.
15. The Alert
Procedure The partner of a bidder who
makes a conventional call or who uses an unusual treatment must bring this to
the attention of the opponents by saying, "Alert" before his
right-hand opponent makes his call. At this point, right hand opponent has two
options: 1) he can make his call without finding out what the unusual call
meant, or 2) he can ask the alerter for an explanation.
16. Checking (Verification) Check the opponents' pair or team
number and the board numbers before you begin to play. Check the positions of
the players and boards before bidding. There is a stiff penalty for bidding or
playing out-of-turn. Check to see which way the card is turned after the trick
has been quitted (all 4 persons play to the trick). Count your cards face down
before and after play.
17. Kibitzer 01.
Kibitzing (Law 76). A kibitzer is an
onlooker at bridge and kibitzing is the act of watching a game from the
sidelines. In serious play there are unwritten, as well as written, rules
concerning the deportment of the spectator. A kibitzer should not look at the
cards of more than one player, except by permission. A kibitzer must not
display any reaction to the bidding or play while a hand is in progress. A
kibitzer must refrain from mannerisms or remarks of any kind (including
conversation with a player) .A kibitzer must not in any way disturb a player. A
kibitzer may not call attention to an irregularity or mistake, nor speak
on any question of fact or law except by request of the Director.
Kibitzers are always welcome, however, kibitzer may be removed at a player's request
without cause. The director can remove any kibitzer for cause.
All bridge players
should condition themselves to kibitzers.
18. Opponents. Be polite and courteous. Your opponents have the
right to know the conventions and treatments used by your partnership. You may
question the opponents before the auction begins and only when it's your turn
to make a call during the auction. You may also question the bidding after the
auction is over and your partner has made his opening lead. You must question
only the partner of the player who has made the call.
19. Partner. The most important person at the tournament is your
partner. Negative comments about what your partner does should be made to him
in private at the end of the session. If there is a misunderstanding that needs
correction take your partner aside. Don't discuss it at the table.
20. Profanity. Profanity is a serious matter and may be the basis
for immediate ejection from the game by an official as well as further action
by the organization.
Accusation by a Player Any public
accusation of unethical conduct against a player by a member of the
organization constitutes improper conduct and may subject the offender to
22. Skip Bid
Warning Whenever you bid at a level
higher than necessary to make a sufficient bid, you are doing something
unexpected. It is suggested that before you make a jump bid you say, "I'm
about to make a skip bid. Please wait."
23. Slow Play Bridge is a timed event. Many players do not realize
that slow play not only is a discourtesy to the opponents of the moment, but
also to all the other tables taking part since it can slow down the entire
game. Directors have the right to penalize players who are repeatedly guilty of
slow play. The director also has the right to monitor slow players by
positioning himself/herself near the table to protect the movement of the
boards and to see that the round is finished as quickly as possible.
24. General. If much of the above information is confusing to you,
just remember that you will learn through experience. If you realize that you
are in organized competition, not just a social pastime, you will better
understand and enjoy the game. If you are in doubt, just use the golden rule!
WHAT IS THE AMERICAN BRIDGE ASSOCIATION
body of the ABA is divided into eight sections covering designated states. They
are: (1) Eastern; (2) Great Lakes; (3) Mid-Atlantic; (4) Mid-Western; (5)
Southern; (6) Southwestern; (7) Northwestern: and (8)Western.
are divided into units and clubs. Units are composed of local clubs. If there
are two clubs within a 35-mile radius, they may elect to form a unit. However,
if there are three or more clubs within the 35-mile radius, they must form a
unit. For example, in the Western Section there are two units, each having seven
clubs and five independent clubs.
LOCAL CLUB(S) holds
weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly duplicate games and sponsors tournaments. The
Club is the building block for the structure of the ABA. It is the nucleus of
the local group. Membership in the ABA is obtained through Clubs. Any
individual desiring to affiliate may submit his/her membership through an ABA
Club if (s)he resides in the area of its jurisdiction (a 35-mile radius). It is
the Club's responsibility to inform individuals of dues obligations. Forward lists of members each year with membership
dues and charter fees to the National Secretary, via the Unit Secretary, who
prepares the form PSA 404 and submits the same to the ABA National Office and
the Section Secretary. The local club(s) promotes the programs of the unit and
of the national body. The local club(s) hold business meetings periodically.
Some clubs suspend activities during the periods of National and Sectional
is a regional group. It insures that the Section and the national laws
and regulations are carried out and adhered to by clubs within its
jurisdiction. It promotes Sectional and National programs. A unit may host,the
endorsement of its membership, may sponsor regional events, as well as sponsor
through its clubs a reasonable number of local and regional contests, a minimum
of one per club per year. Programs, fees and playing sites are announced in
sufficient time to assure maximum attendance. The unit requires that the
Director-in-Charge file accurate game results together with required fees,
promptly according to the ABA, Handbook. The unit meets quarterly.
The INDEPENDENT CLUB (where only one club exists) has the same
rights and privileges as Units.
oversees the business of Units and Independent Clubs within its
jurisdiction. The Section Vice-President is the chairperson of the section
Committee and is a member of the Executive Board of the ABA. All applications
for clubs and unit charters are subject to review by the section Vice-President.
The section Vice-President must approve any sanctioned game in the section. The
section provides for necessary meetings, conventions, tournaments and
membership activity. It is a clearinghouse for tournament schedules within the
section to avoid conflicts. It insures the collection, processing, and
maintenance of sanctions, fees, schedules and other such data as may be
It insures implementation and
communication of procedures, policies and all decisions affecting the interests
of clubs, units and individuals within its jurisdiction. Each year, the Western
Section conducts two tournaments (Spring and Fall) at which time the Bi-Annual
Open Meetings are held. The section Vice-President is elected at the Spring
Sectional every other year (odd year)
The national officers are the President,
Vice-President, National Secretary and Treasurer.
The general officers are the eight
The national and general officers are the
Executive Board of the ABA. This board meets at both tournaments. Call meetings
are held at other times and places. Much business is conducted through the
The election of national officers is
held every other year. The election is usually held in the "odd" year
with the term of office beginning January 1st of the "even" year.
The Section Vice-Presidents are elected
every other year by the respective section. Not all sections hold elections in
the same year. The effect is to "stagger" the seating of new board
WHAT IS ABA MEMBERSHIP?
Membership in the American Bridge
Association, Inc., (ABA) is open to all persons of good character and repute.
You may apply for membership through an affiliated club if residing in an area
where there is ABA activity. All others must apply for membership through the
respective Section Vice-President or National Secretary as a member-at-large.
Each person accepted for membership is
assigned a player number. The masterpoint holdings are recorded and the person
All members may vote on all matters as
may be provided by the By-laws, compete in tournaments, and join any open club.
Transfer from one club to another is permissible. A person whose membership has
lapsed may be reinstated at the discretion of the ABA.
Free membership is available for New
Players who complete at least an eight-week course in bridge from an accredited
instructor. The unit/club new player's coordinators should contact the their
Section Vice President or the National Secretary at the ABA National Office for
Dues are payable the first day of
January each year and continue in force until the last day of December in the
same year. Any new member joining the ABA for the first time will
receive credit for the last three months of the previous calendar year.
National dues are paid directly to the
National Secretary using membership form PSA 404. Sectional dues and a copy of
the form PSA 404 are sent to the Section Vice-President or his/her designee.
Dues paid are not returnable or transferable.
The NATIONAL BODY is the
nationwide organization. It encourages and develops the game of duplicate
contract bridge and unites all bridge players into one group using identical
laws and procedures for bridge games. It sponsors, supervises and conducts
yearly two tournaments, the Spring and Summer nationals.
The Annual meeting of the ABA is held at
the Summer National. The ABA also holds meetings of the membership at the
There are ten categories of player
classifications authorized by the ABA regulations. These categories are the
direct result of master points earned in ABA sanction tournaments. To receive
credit for master points, a player must be a financial member of the ABA during
the same year the master points are earned.
Table 4. - Player Classifications
Total Master Point
Class Holding (Range) Recognition
(LM) 100-299 Gold Pin
Senior Life Master (SLM) 300-599 certificate
Ruby Life Master
(R) 600-1199 Ruby pin + certificate
Diamond Life Master (D) 1200-2499 Diamond pin + certificate
Silver Diamond (SD)
2500 - 4999 certificate
(GD) 5000 - 9,999 certificate
(PD) 10,000 - 19,999 award + certificate
Grand Master (GM) 20,000 and up Medallion + certificate.
You may not play in a field below
your classification. Penalties apply! However, you may play in a higher field.
There are four (4) categories of "Field Classification" authorized
for Championship events. Each field classification is determined by the master
point holdings of the majority of the players in the field. Every game (pair,
team, individual, etc.) must be classified into one or more of the following,
depending on the number of fields in the event.
In most instances pair games
in the ABA are Stratified. This means that players in different field
classification play together in the same event. Even though they play against players
in different fields, their scores on each board are only match pointed
(compared) against players in their own field or National Secretary.
game can have either two or three Stratas. For example, the game may contain
Strata A, Strata B, and Strata C together. The lowest strata must have at
least five (5) pairs (2Â½ tables) in order to pay overall awards. Limitations
of each stratum should be established prior to the game. If the game consists
of less than the minimum 5 pairs required in the lowest strata, the level of
the strata must be increased to the next highest legal strata that includes at
least 5 pairs, (for example, a 0-24 game should be increased to a 0-99 game or
a 100-300 game.) or you may choose to eliminate the lowest strata. In limited
masterpoint games such as 0-24, 0-99 and 100-300, the strata must be eliminated
if the strata contains less than 5 pairs. There must be approximately the same
number of pairs that sit N/S and E/W in each Stratum, so that the section
awards will be equal. This event is like a Flighted Pairs except the flights
(now called stratas) are intermixed and play against each other as in an open
game. When the scoring is completed, there are multiple rankings and any pair in
a lower Strata has the potential to win the greater awards of an upper strata
if they legitimately rank there. A strataified game is advantageous to all
stratas: 1) Strata â€œAâ€ players get ranked on the number of tables in the
entire field resulting in additional masterpoints; 2) Strata players have the
advantage of possibly winning points in the higher strata, based on a greater
number of tables which yields more masterpoints; 3) Strata â€œCâ€ players are
ranked against other Strata â€œCâ€ pairs, giving them the experience of
playing against more skilled players without diminishing their chances
of winning. Also Strata â€œCâ€ players have the advantage of possibly winning
points in the two higher stratas, which yields more masterpoints.
it works: Here is an example. You
want your game to have three Stratas, with C players having 0-299 masterpoints
(mps), Strata players having 300-1199 mps and Strata A players having 1200
mps to infinity. Entries sold to Strata C players are marked C to identify that
Strata with less than 300 mps. Entries sold to Strata players are marked to
indicate that no person has less than 300 mps but not more than 1199 mps.
Entries sold to Strata A players are marked with an A to indicate more than
1199 mps. A pair must enter the strata for which the partner with the higher
number of masterpoints is
Pairs from each strata are distributed throughout the section(s) as evenly as
possible. When the game is over, the entire game (field) is ranked as one.
After ranking, the Strata A players with more than 1199 mps are eliminated. The
Strata A and Strata C field are now ranked together. After this ranking,
players who have more than 299 mps are eliminated, Strata C is now ranked
separately. A pair ranking (placing) in Strata A, Strata B and Strata C, will
receive the highest masterpoint award. Thus, a Strata â€œCâ€ pair could win
points from the Strata A field or Strata B field, and a Strata C pair could
points from the Strata A field. The Strata A pairs can win points only in
their own field, but even this is a gain because their masterpoint awards are
based on the number of tables in the entire game. Remember, players can
always qualify to win points in a higher masterpoint category, but they cannot
win points from a lower category.
There are five (4) categories of
"Field Classification" authorized for Sectional, Regional, Early
Bird, Midnight and Side Games:
FIELD CLASSIFICATION MASTER POINT HOLDING
Field IV+ 2000 UP
Strata 2000 - 4999
Field III 1200 -1999
Field II 300 - 1199
Strata 600 - 1199
Strata 300 - 499
Field I 0 - 299
Strata 100 - 299
Strata 25 - 99
Strata 0 - 24
NEW PLAYER FIELD -0-24 MASTER POINTS
At any level of pair competition, a
separate field may be set- up for New Players providing there are at least nine
tables registered in the main event and there are at least three (3) tables of
new players (0-24) registered. Otherwise, New players will be combined with the
lowest classified field. Whenever at least five pairs of New Players are
combined with another field and one places in the overall. ONLY the highest
scoring New Player pair will be awarded 10% of the first place overall master
MASTER POINT AWARDS
National games offer the highest number
of master points to the winners. There are master points for the top scorers in
each section, providing the score is not in the overall.
Sectional games offer the second highest
number of master points. There are points for top section scorers too!
"A" games outrank
"B" games and "C" games are lowest on the master point
scale of sanctioned events.
Those who wish to amass master points in
a hurry, NEED TO attend national and sectional events. Your chances for winning
master points are greater since these high master-point award events are well
attended. When deciding in which events to play, plan to play in those where
most master point award is highest.
Table 5.- Basic Master Point Award Schedule 1st Place, One Session
Pair Event Field
IV Field III Field II Field I 0-99
Sectional 12.48 9.36
8.11 6.86 5.62
Grade A 8.64 6.48
5.62 4.75 3.89
Grade C 4.80 3.60
3.12 2.64 2.16
The table bonuses are not
included. As the number of tables increase, the master point award increases.
In addition to master points, winners
shall receive trophies, scrip, or free play slips).
As you and your partner gain confidence
you will want to participate in bigger events with increased competition, so
here are the types of tournaments that ABA units and clubs sponsor starting
with games that give the fewest points and ending with those that give the
highest number of points:
Sponsored by individual clubs
Sponsored by individual clubs and
Sponsored by individual clubs and units
Sponsored by units
Sponsored by Sections
Spring and Summer Nationals
Sponsored by the ABA
Any of the above tournaments can consist of anyone or
a mixture of the following events:
Type of Event
Players change partners after each
Any two people can play together
One man and one woman will be
Two men as partners or two women
Open Team of Four
Any four to six people may comprise a
Two mixed pairs will be a team
Four to six men or four to six women
Four to six men
Four to six women
Four to six people playing short
Modified Round Robin
Four to six people (teams are
flighted according to the average point holding of the top four masterpoint
holders on the team)
Full Round Robin
Same as Modified Round Robin except
that it may be played within a 90-day period
*In Non-Mixed Events pairs or team members must be
comprised of only men or women. However these events will have both men and
**These events will have only women or
***A Speedball Swiss allows for five boards to be played in 25 minutes
against each opponent. Usually held after the main event of the day.
One-session team events must consist
of four Players. All others may
consist of 4, 5, or 6 members. Grade "C" games are one
session. They are usually held on the regularly scheduled club days or
sometimes for special events other than: at the club game: Clubs may have a
total of 12 Grade "C"s, one per month, during the year. Units may
have a maximum of four (one each quarter) only with a business meeting.
"B" games are sponsored individually by clubs or in conjunction with
other clubs (a weekend of "B" games)
"A" games are sponsored by units, or independent clubs where there
are no units.
6. National Events Traditionally Scheduled
Calendar of Special Games
Annual Membership Game
Nationwide Benefit Game
Late July or Early August
Last Friday & Saturday
Nationwide Scholarship Game
Nationwide Scholarship Game
Selects the Date
United Negro College Fund Game
Super Open Pairs
Other Special Games to Be
Scheduled During the Year
ABA Headquarters Fund Game
Education/Membership/House Acquisition Games
Club Benefit Game
The ABA Spring tournament begins the Monday after Easter Sunday and
continues through Saturday of the same week.
The Section vice-President must approve
all games. Permits to hold games are called sanctions. One sanction is issued
for each game. All information regarding the game is written thereon. After
the Section Vice- President signs the sanction, the sponsor can then
publicize the event. At the site of the game, each sanction must be posted.
Sanctions are not to be altered. If the date changes, or type of game changes,
the sanction must be returned and another one issued by the Section
The sponsor of the sanctioned event must
get the results (winners) to the National Secretary within ten (10) days.
Failure to do so may affect the posting of master points and can lead to
Sanction fees are similar to
adminiStrataive fees. They are an important source of income for the ABA.
Sanction fees are based upon the gross receipts and the type of game. The
sponsors indicated on the form pay them to the ABA.
7. Sanction Fees
Schedule of Sanction Fees
City Swiss Team (minimum fee
Grade C Regional (minimum fee
Grade B Regional (except Swiss
& Round Robin)
Grade B Regional Swiss &
Grade A Regional (except Swiss
& Round Robin)
Grade A Regional Swiss &
Sectional (except Swiss &
Sectional Swiss, Round Robin
and KO Teams
Annual Membership Game
Benefit Games (except Nationwide
Games, Scholarship and Headquarters)
Scholarship & Headquarters
Nationwide Benefit, Scholarship
and Super Open Pair Games
Special Club Benefit
There are standing committees as there
are in any organization. The most important committee in the ABA is called the
National Tournament Authority (NTA), which is responsible for all facets of the
national tournaments. The next important committee is the National Tournament
Committee (NTC) which is responsible for the national tournament schedules,
maintaining the master point award schedule, and introducing new rules and
games for play.
Another important committee is the
Appeals and Ethics Committee, formerly referred to as the Card Committee. This
committee is responsible for order and decorum at the national tournaments.
Referred to the committee are disputes, which arise in play that cannot be settled
by reference to the rules alone. An Appeals and Ethics Committee is formed at
all levels of competition (local, unit, section).
In order to support our non-profit
status, the ABA conducts special tournament games. These games are called
"Benefit", "Scholarship" and "Special Promotion".
Proceeds from these games go into special funds in the ABA Charitable and
Education Foundation. Through the Foundation yearly contributions are
made to various charitable organizations such as the: United Negro College
Fund; NAACP; Sickle Cell Foundation; Martin Luther King Center, and Black
universities. Additionally, twenty-four (24) scholarships are awarded to worthy
students who have successfully completed their first year of college or a
business school. Applicants are recommended by the Section Scholarship
Chairperson to the National Scholarship Chairperson for selection. For
additional information contact the local unit/club coordinator or the Section
Also established is a Merit Award
Program for outstanding service at the local, section or national levels.
Application must be endorsed by the Section Vice-President.
There is a Life Membership Award for
individuals making significant contributions at all levels. An additional
criterion is 20 years financial member. Application must be endorsed by Section
The ABA Bulletin
The ABA Flash
(published only at nationals)
Section Newsletters (published by the Section Vice President or his/her designee)
The Update (published
by the National Secretary on an as needed basis to communicate information to
There are on-going classes and programs for New
Players and other levels of bridge. Contact the club/unit president for
Hopefully, this booklet has given you
some insight into duplicate bridge and the ABA. Additional information can be
obtained from the club/unit officials, Section Vice-President, or the national
officers. The line of communication for obtaining information or resolving
(1) Your Club
(2) Your Unit
(3) Your Section
(4) Your National
(5) Your National
The Official ABA Handbook contains additional
information on tournaments, etc., and may be purchased from the National
Office. Your Section Constitution and By-laws and Roster are distributed
Bridge on the Internet
There are several free and some
subscription-based servers available for playing bridge on the Internet. OKbridge is the oldest of the still-running Internet
Bridge services; players of all standards, from beginners to world champions
may be found playing there. OKbridge is a subscription based club, so it offers
premium services such as customer support and ethics reviews. SWAN Games is a more recent competitor. Bridge Base
Online is the most populated online bridge club in the world, as it is free
to play regular games. The above online clubs offer various features such as
options to earn ACBL masterpoints, play in online tournaments, compile lists of
friends, purchase software to improve Bridge skills, and earn money playing
Bridge. On Bridge Base Online there is also a Vugraph feature where important
international events are shown for anyone interested to watch.
A GLOSSARY OF BRIDGE
ADVANCER The partner
of an overcaller.
ALERT A method of drawing the
opponent's attention to the fact that a particular bid has a conventional or
ARTIFICIAL A bid designed to show a specific holding
rather BID than a playable suit.
ANNOUNCEMENT An explanatory statement made by the
partner of the player who has just made a call that is based on a partnership
understanding. The purpose of the announcement is similar to the Alert. It is
made following calls whose meanings are not unusual, but which different
partnerships treat differently.
APPEAL In a tournament, to appeal is to request that a
committee review the ruling made by a director.
AVERAGE Half of the matchpoints available on a board
or for a contest.
BAD HAND Hands with little honor strength.
BALANCE OF STRENGTH -The
concept of calculating which side holds most of the high card points.
BALANCING Reopening the bidding in the "pass
out" seat after the opponents stop at a low contract.
BID A call by which a player proposes a contract that
his side will win at least as many odd tricks (one to seven) as his bid specifies,
provided the hand is played at the denomination specified.
BLACKWOOD A convention which uses 4NT to ask the
partner how many aces are held and SNT to indicate that all of the aces are
held, while asking for the number of kings.
BOARD 1) A devise that keeps each player’s cards
separate for duplicate bridge
BOTTOM In tournament play, the lowest matchpoint
score on a particular hand.
BOARD-A-MATCH A team event with matchpoint scoring.
CADDY An assistant at a bridge tournament,
responsible for putting out the boards, etc., at the tournament. Picks up the
score slips at the completion of each round.
CALL Any bid, double, re-double, or pass.
CONVENTION Any call or play, which conveys a meaning
to a partner that the opponents cannot be, expected to recognize. A call or
play that does not carry the standard meaning that the opponents would anticipate.
DIRECTOR A person designated to supervise a duplicate
bridge contest and to apply the Laws.
DOUBLE DUMMY Play of the hand that could be improved
upon, as though declarer was looking at all four hands. It can also be used to refer
to perfect play by the defenders or declarer.
DUCK To play a small card, and surrender a trick,
which could be won, with the object of preserving an entry or a tenace
position. To protect a card for use as a threat card in subsequent play.
DUMMY (1) The declarer's partner after he has placed
his cards face up on the table, which is done immediately after the opening
lead is made by the opponent on the declarer's left. (2) The cards held by the
EARLY BIRD A one-session game held early in the
morning, about 9AM, before the main event of the day.
ETHICS Fair play. Breaches of ethics are generally
are unfair practices that fall just short of deliberate cheating.
FIELD All the contestants in a specific event.
FORCING A series of bids by a partnership that
requires the bidding to continue. Some sequences are considered forcing by
virtue of the strength of the previous bidding.
FOULED BOARD A board into which a card or cards have
been interchanged or hands have been inserted into incorrect pockets.
FREE BID A bid made by a player whose partner’s bid
has been overcalled by the right hand opponent (RHO)
GRAND SLAM The bidding for and turning of all
thirteen tricks by declarer.
HAND A particular deal of 52 cards (4 hands). The
thirteen cards held by one player. The term is also used to indicate the order
in bidding and play, as in "second hand" or "fourth" hand.
HANDICAP A duplicate game in which extra match points
are added to the earned match points of lower-ranking players. The lower the
ranking, the more match points added. No handicap matchpoints are added to
Diamond level player's score.
HIGH CARD The points in a given hand from Aces,
POINTS (HCP) Queens, and Jacks.
HOLDING The hand held by a player.
HOLD UP Not wining a trick when first offered for a
tactical reason (see Duck) .
HONOR One of the five top cards in a suit of a bridge
hand: an ace, king, queen, jack or ten.
INDIVIDUAL A method of duplicate competition in which
each MOVEMENT contestant plays with many different partners.
JUMP SHIFT A new suit response at a level one higher
than necessary, generally to show a very good hand.
KIBITZER A person who watches the game from the
sidelines. Rules apply for kibitzers. (See Law 76)
KNOCK-OUT A team-of-four event in which the winner of
head to head meetings advances to the next round and the loser is eliminated.
LAWS Laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge, as
promulgated in the western hemisphere by the ACBL, prepared under the auspices
of the National Laws Commission of the ACBL with input from the Laws Commission
of the World Bridge Association. The ABA is governed by these Laws.
LEAD The first card played to a trick. LHO Left Hand
Opponent MAJOR SUIT Hearts or Spades
MASTER POINT The unit used to measure bridge
achievement in tournament and club play.
MATCH PLAY A team-of-four contest in which two teams
compete against each other playing several boards.
MINOR SUIT Clubs and Diamonds
MISFIT A term used to describe a situation where the
hands of a partnership are unbalanced and the suits in one hand are opposite shortness
in the other and vice MONSTER A bridge hand of great trick-taking potential
whether through high cards or distribution.
OPENER The player who makes the first bid in an
auction. OPENING LEAD The play to the first trick after the auction is over and
the dummy has not been spread.
OVERCALL Any bid by the player on the left of the
opening bidder. It's nearly always based on a long suit or multi-suited hand.
OVER-RUFF To trump higher than the right hand
opponent after a plain suit lead.
PART SCORE At duplicate vulnerable or not, the total
score for all overtricks won plus the bonus for successfully fulfilling a
contract under game.
PART SCORE In duplicate, vulnerable or not, the 50
points given for fulfilling
BONUS a part score contract.
PENALTY An obligation or restriction imposed upon a
side for violation of the Laws.
PENALTY A card that has been pre-maturely exposed by
a defender and
CARD must be left face-up on the table until legally
played or permitted to be picked up. (See Law 50)
PICK-UP SLIPS A form devised for the recording of the
results on the play of the boards on one round. Information contained on the
slip includes identifying numbers of the pairs, the board number, which pair
was declarer, the final contract, and by whom.
POINTED SUITS Spades and diamonds, so called because
of their pointed tops.
POST MORTEM The discussion of bridge hands after the
conclusion of the play at any time thereafter.
undisclosed understanding between the
partnership. This is strictly illegal!
PROTEST The time in which appeals for corrections to
the PERIOD score will be accepted and changes may be made, whether the error is
made by the scorer or by a PSYCHIC CALL Any bid made primarily to misrepresent
your hand, in order to create the illusion of strength, or to conceal a
QUICK TRICKS A high card holding that in usual
circumstances will win a trick by virtue of the rank of the cards in either
offensive, or defensive play. The accepted table of quick tricks: AK of the
same suit 2 Quick Tricks, AQ of the same suit, 1-1/2 Quick Tricks A, or KQ of
same suit 1 Quick Trick, Kx 1/2 Quick Trick
QUITTED All four players have played to the trick and
have TRICK turned their cards face down.
RESPONDER The partner of the opener.
REVERSE An unforced rebid at the level of two or more
in a higher ranking suit than that bid originally.
REVOKE Failure to follow suit during play when
holding a card of the suit required or failure to lead a suit required by law
when holding a card in the specified suit.
RHO Right Hand Opponent
ROUNDED SUITS Hearts and clubs, so called because of
their rounded tops.
RUFF To trump the lead of a plain suit.
SACRIFICE A bid made knowing that it cannot be
fulfilled on (SAVE) the premise that the penalty to be paid will be less than
the adverse score were the opponents permitted to play the hand.
SAFETY PLAY The play of a suit, in such a manner as
to protect against an abnormal or bad break in the suit, or to otherwise
protect your hand.
SEEDING The assignment of certain tables to
particularly strong contestants to assure there will be no preponderance of
strong pairs in direct competition within anyone section.
SET The defeat of a contract.
SHOOTING The art of playing deliberately for an
SMALL SLAM The bidding for and winning of 12 tricks
by the declarer.
SPEEDBALL A partial
round robin movement SWISS T/4
(ZIP Swiss) wherein
25 minutes are alloted to complete 5 boards against each opponent. There are 5
rounds. (See Swiss T/4).
SQUEEZE A play which forces an opponent to discard a
winner, or a card that protects a winner.
STIFF Singleton, generally used in reference to a
major honor: ace (A), king (K), Queen (Q) without guards.
STOPPER A card which may reasonably be expected to
stop the run of a suit.
STRAIN Either of the five denominations. No trump,
spades, hearts, diamonds, or clubs
SWISS T/4 A partial round robin movement when
insufficient time is available for a complete round robin. After the first
round, winning teams or pairs are pitted against each other, and losers face
each other as in a double elimination event, except that all teams continue to
play throughout the event. For each succeeding round, new pairings are made on
the basis of the records of the matched teams, or pair, but not two teams or
pairs may playa second match against each other.
TEAM Two pairs playing in different directions at
different tables, against the same opponents, but for a common score.
TENACE Two cards of an interrupted sequence in the
same suit. AQ, KJ, Q10, and J9 are examples. When the highest card in your suit
is the highest card not yet played you have a major tenace. When a card or
cards higher than yours have yet to be played you have a minor tenace.
TOP The maximum match point score on a hand in
TRAVELING The score sheet accompanying a duplicate
bridge SCORE SLIP board
UNDERRUFF To trump with a card lower in value than
that which another player has already played to the same trick.
VULNERABLE A condition of play in which the premiums
and penalties are increased.
RECOMMENDED BRIDGE BOOKS FOR
to Play Winning Bridge
By David Bird. A teaching course and guide to all things bridge, this
hard-cover volume includes a history of the game and its champions, a beginner
tutorial, sample games, rules and reference sections. It also features tips for
intermediate and higher-level players.
New Bridge Complete
By Charles Goren. The original "bible" for the Standard American
5-card-major system, this classic was updated in 1985 and remains a solid
reference for beginners and advancing players.
the Bidding Bridge
Basics 3: Popular Conventions
By Audrey Grant. "Bidding in the 21st Century" series, which includes
updates of instructional books used in American Contract Bridge League teaching
programs. The Club Series manual teaches bidding; the Diamond Series teaches
play of the hand. Other titles by Audrey Grant are here.
to Declarer's Play Introduction
to Defender's Play
By Eddie Kantar. These popular books feature easy-to-understand
"how-to's" on all the basics, from one of the game's best teachers
and most readable authors. Both volumes include some advanced material.
By Eddie Kantar. An entertaining, detailed introduction to the basics of
bidding and play. 1997 Bridge Book of the Year.
Basics - Five-Card
By Ron Klinger. Two volumes with succinct lessons that teach the basics of the
standard bidding system used by most players in North America.
Fun Way to Serious Bridge
By Harry Lampert. Now in its 20th printing, this is a sound introduction to the
basics, with lots of illustrations and a pleasant writing style. The tips here
are valuable for learners and for party-bridge players who want to make the
transition to duplicate bridge.
Complete Idiot's Guide to Bridge
By Anthony Medley. A comprehensive lesson book for learners, with good explanations
of the logic behind bridge bidding. Each chapter has many quiz hands.
By William Root. Clear descriptions of the basics from this late, award-winning
Bridge in Five Days Bridge
for Bright Beginners
By Terence Reese. Bidding summaries and fundamentals of offensive and defensive
bidding and play.
Introduction to the Science of Bidding: Bridge with Brian
By Brian Richardson.A beginner's text that will appeal to those who eventually
want to play duplicate bridge. In addition to the basics, the author teaches
weak two-bids, Jacoby transfers and other popular conventions.
in 3 Weeks
By Alan Truscott. A comprehensive, 21-day course for absolute
beginners. The basics are presented in an short, easy steps, with a handy index
for quick reference.
Bridge for Beginners & Beyond
By Karen Walker. The
16th edition of a self-teaching textbook for learners and advancing players who
want to tune up their skills. Lessons begin with the bare basics and progress
to more advanced topics, including tips on how to add popular conventions to your
system. Order direct from the author through this link
1) The Official ABA Handbook
2) The Constitution & By-Laws of the ABA
ABA Website â€“ ababridge.org
is the official website of the American Bridge Association. The site contains
information about the history of the ABA, links to section web pages,
tournament schedules and results, and links to other bridge resources and
The format Handbook was developed from
the Western Section Handbook published by Sara Pearson. Mrs. Emelie Boone and
Col. Robert Friend. provided special assistance in the development of the
This Handbook was edited and revised by
Gloria Christler, past Executive Secretary, Southern Section Vice President
(2008-) All Sections, Clubs and Units are welcome to copy and edit the Manual
to meet their needs.