Masterpoints

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Masterpoints or master points are points awarded by bridge organisations to individuals for success in competitive bridge tournaments run under their auspices. Generally, recipients must be members in good standing of the issuing organisation. At the international level, competitions and point awards are administered by the World Bridge Federation (WBF); its affiliates at the multi-national level, such as the American Contract Bridge League (ACBL), also issue points as do more local organisations such as the English Bridge Union (EBU), and the Deutsche Bridge Verband (DBV) and independent ones such as the American Bridge Association (ABA).

In general, each organisation has its own scheme for the categorization of competitive bridge events and has a parallel scheme for awarding various categories of points to players who are successful in them. Upon reaching certain thresholds in point accumulation or retention, most organisations bestow a rank on the individual in recognition of their achievements. Points and rankings generally have no monetary value, but have prestige value for some players and are sought after by them over a lifetime of play.

In some cases, the point awarding scheme is an important means of raising revenue for the bridge organisation insofar as they charge entry fees for each tournament where points are awarded and their availability acts as an incentive to participation; the more prestigious the points, the higher the entry fees.

In the past, points were issued in the form of paper certificates, which gave the player a tangible record of his or her achievement, but these are now increasingly replaced by electronic recording.

Awards of Masterpoints[edit]

Players who achieve a high placing in an event sanctioned by the national bridge organisation (a club game, sectional tournament, regional tournament, etc.) are awarded masterpoints according to their placing and the number of pairs, individuals or teams who played in the event.

Some events have an upper masterpoint limit, meaning that only players with a masterpoint holding under the limit may participate. This allows less experienced players more of a chance to place high, since they will not be playing against players who are significantly more experienced. Additionally, some events are stratified. This means that players with various masterpoint holdings play together, but in the final standings, players receive masterpoints based on their position within their stratum. For example, if you are first in stratum C, second in B and fourth in A, and the upper masterpoint limits are 300 for C, 500 for B and 1000 for A, that means that among players with fewer than 300 masterpoints, you did the best. Among players with 500 points or fewer, you did second best, and among players with fewer than 1000, you did fourth best. With those divisions, a player with 700 points would be able to place in stratum A, but not in B or C.

American Contract Bridge League[edit]

The ACBL awards several categories of masterpoints, each associated with the type of event and designated by a distinct color:

  • Unpigmented - awarded in online play
  • Black - awarded in club games
  • Silver - awarded in sectional tournaments, as well as Sectional Tournaments at Clubs (STaCs)
  • Red - awarded in regional tournaments (for places other than overall and section tops), as well as North American Open Pairs and Grand National Teams games at clubs
  • Gold - awarded for overall and section tops in regionals, as well as in NABCs (North American Bridge Championships) with an upper masterpoint limit of 750 or more
  • Platinum - awarded in national-rated events with no upper masterpoint limit

Like most bridge governing bodies, the ACBL assigns ranks to players according to their masterpoint holdings; the requirements for its various ranks are listed below.

ACBL Masterpoint ranks (members who joined before January 1, 2010 whose membership has not since lapsed)
Title MPs Notes
Rookie <5
Junior Master 5
Club Master 20
Sectional Master 50 5 must be silver
Regional Master 100 15 silver; 5 red, gold, or platinum
NABC Master 200 5 gold or platinum; 15 red, gold, or platinum; 25 silver
Life Master 300 50 black; 50 silver; 25 gold or platinum; 25 red, gold, or platinum
Bronze Life Master 500
Silver Life Master 1000 200 silver, red, gold or platinum
Gold Life Master 2500 500 silver, red, gold or platinum
Diamond Life Master 5000 250 gold or platinum; 750 silver, red, gold, or platinum
Emerald Life Master 7500 500 gold or platinum; 1000 silver, red, gold, or platinum
Platinum Life Master 10000 100 platinum; 650 gold or platinum; 1250 silver, red, gold, or platinum
Grand Life Master 10000 100 platinum; 650 gold or platinum; 1250 silver, red, gold, or platinum; a victory in a NABC+ event or World Bridge Federation event
ACBL Masterpoint ranks (members who joined, or renewed a lapsed membership, after January 1, 2010)
Title MPs Notes
Rookie <5
Junior Master 5
Club Master 20 5 black
Sectional Master 50 10 black; 5 silver
Regional Master 100 15 black; 15 silver; 5 red, gold, or platinum
NABC Master 200 20 black; 25 silver; 15 red, gold, or platinum; 5 gold or platinum
Advanced NABC Master 300 50 black; 50 silver; 25 red, gold, or platinum; 25 gold or platinum
Life Master 500 75 black; 75 silver; 50 red, gold, or platinum; 50 gold or platinum
Silver Life Master 1000 200 silver, red, gold, or platinum
Gold Life Master 2500 500 silver, red, gold, or platinum
Diamond Life Master 5000 750 silver, red, gold, or platinum; 250 gold or platinum
Emerald Life Master 7500 1000 silver, red, gold, or platinum; 500 gold or platinum
Platinum Life Master 10000 100 platinum; 650 gold or platinum; 1250 silver, red, gold, or platinum
Grand Life Master 10000 100 platinum; 650 gold or platinum; 1250 silver, red, gold, or platinum; a victory in a NABC+ event or World Bridge Federation event

Masterpoints are partly a measure of skill, but the system is regarded by many players as a measure of experience and longevity rather than skill. Experience is often related to skill, but not necessarily. Over the course of a lifetime, a player can earn many points, just with average play. For example, the same number of masterpoints, and hence the same rank, may have been achieved by Player A over 2 years and by Player B over 20 years.

It is also argued that some wealthy players hire 'professional' players to be their partners and so artificially inflate their masterpoint holdings owing to the greater skills of their 'professional' partner(s).

World Bridge Federation Master Points[edit]

In contrast, the World Bridge Federation system of Master Points annually reduces players' holdings of points older than one year by 15% and uses another classification of points, known as Placing Points, to record players' lifetime accumulation. The WBF also distinguishes between points earned in Open, Women's, Mixed or Senior events and awards its Titles (such as World Grand Master), based upon the accumlation and retention scheme for the particular point classification. See WBF Master Point Rules and WBF Master Point Standings

Comparison of Masterpoints between organizations[edit]

It is difficult to compare masterpoints between various organizations as they are not consistent in value.

The ACBL awards new ACBL members 10% of their ABA masterpoints (up to a maximum of 200 ACBL black points) and 20% of their WBF masterpoints.

For tournament seeding, the ACBL uses 50% of a person's ABA masterpoints plus their ACBL masterpoints.

For tournament seeding, the ABA uses 200% of a person's ACBL masterpoints (if less than 5,000) plus their ABA masterpoints. If the player has 5,000+ ACBL masterpoints, they are seeded with 10,000 plus their ABA masterpoints.

Other rating systems[edit]

External links[edit]