If you’re confused by the terms used to describe the different types of bridge events played at clubs and tournaments, you’re not alone. Here’s a list of common bridge events with explanations.
Types of pairs events
The idea is to compete
against everyone but to be ranked
only with your peers. Each pair is assigned a stratum or “strat” based on the masterpoint holding of the partner with the most masterpoints. Example, a game might be
stratified in this manner: Stratified Open Pairs (3000+, 1500–3000, 0–1500). Thus, the most experienced players are placed in Strat A, intermediate players in Strat B and less experienced players in Strat C. Gold Rush events
are confined to players with less than 750 masterpoints and pay gold points only for overall placement in the top strata. The game proceeds normally; the difference comes when the scores are tabulated and ranked. In a
three-strat game, the scores are ranked three times. The first ranking is done as in a regular open game. These are the Strat A results. If a B or C pair does well in this ranking, they receive full credit for that
performance. It is not all that uncommon for a Strat C pair to place first overall, and they receive the full masterpoint award for that game. Note: A pair is eligible for only one set of masterpoint awards and automatically
receives the highest award. The second ranking compares the scores of only the B and C pairs: The scores of the Strat A pairs are eliminated. Once again, if a C pair does well, they receive points for their finishing
position in the Strat B results. The third and final ranking compares the scores of only the C pairs: All the scores of the Strat A and B pairs are eliminated.
The top group plays in a game of their own – Flight A. The rest of the field is divided into strats and plays as in a regular stratified pairs. There can even be stratification within Flight A. Flight A may be listed as
3000+ MPs while Flight X may be listed as 0–3000 MPs.
When flighting is used, the field is divided by expertise or experience or both into several separate games. Flight A (“unlimited masterpoints”) will be open to all players while the remaining flights will be limited. Flight
B might be 0–1500 MPs or 0–3000 MPs while Flight C might be 0–300 or 0–500. Each flight is scored individually, and masterpoint awards are made for each flight. The masterpoint holdings of the players determine their flight.
If one player is quite expert while his partner is new to the game, the pair must compete in Flight A. In flighted events, you may play up but not down. That means you may play in Flight A or Flight B even if your
masterpoint holding qualifies you for Flight C. Conversely, you may not play in Flight B or Flight C if you are a Flight A player.
Side game series:
A series of single-session pair games used in regionals and nationals that pay red points. These series include at least three sessions and may have as many as six. You may play in as few or as many sessions as you like, but only players who play in at
least two sessions are eligible for overall gold points. Your best two sessions are used for determining overall winners. You are not required to play with the same person to be eligible for the overall awards. If you come
in first overall in any of the side series pair games, the red points will automatically be converted to gold provided you play in a second session of the same side series. Side series are frequently grouped together in two
different ways: either horizontally (morning, afternoon, evening side game series) or in groups of two or three days (aft/eve side pairs across two days). Be sure to check your tournament flyer or speak with a director to
find out how the side series is being run. Because the series is ranked by player, not partnership, the series final isn't stratified, even though the individual games are.
Gold Rush pairs:
A popular mechanism for less experienced players to earn the gold points they need to become a Life Master while playing in a restricted field. Gold Rush events, which are limited to players with less than 750 masterpoints,
are run separately from open stratified or strati-flighted games that run concurrently. A Gold Rush game might be stratified 750/300, for example. Gold points are awarded for overall placement or section top awards in the
top strat only.
Types of team events
An event in which a team (of four, five or six players, with four playing at a time) plays another team. The losers are eliminated or “knocked out” while the winners play other winners until only one winning team remains. Sometimes, there
are three-way matches, also called round-robin matches, where three teams play against each other, normally with two survivors. The length of a KO match may vary from a single session to a full day (the Vanderbilt and Spingold) to a
multiday event (the Bermuda Bowl).
Bracketed knockout teams:
A KO event in which teams are divided into groups, usually of 9 to 16, based on their masterpoint holdings. Each bracket competes in a separate event with their own set of winners. A typical match consists of 24 boards against 1 other team
Compact knockout teams:
A shorter version of bracketed KO teams for four-player teams only. Instead of a 24 board match against each team, you play only 12 boards.
An event in which a team of four, five or six players, with four playing at a time, plays other teams in matches of six to nine boards. Team A sits North-South at Table 1 and East-West at Table 2 while Team B sits East-West at Table 1 and
North-South at Table 2. The results are compared and scored by International Match Points (IMPs). Pairings for the first round are random. Pairings for succeeding rounds are determined by a team’s win/loss record or victory point total.
Bracketed round robin teams:
An event in which teams are divided into groups, usually of 7–9, based on their masterpoint holdings. All teams will play each other within their group. The results are scored using IMPs. With 7–8 teams in the group, the top three teams
receive gold masterpoints and with 9 teams, the top four will receive gold masterpoints.
Open Swiss with a limited bracketed round robin teams:
Two events in which teams opt to play in either the Open Swiss (available to all players) or they can play in the bracketed round robin which has a masterpoint cutoff (often a number around 2500–3000). If there is a limited bracketed round
robin available, the maximum masterpoints means no one person can have more than the limit.
Gold Rush teams:
A popular mechanism for less experienced players to earn the gold points they need to become a Life Master while playing in a restricted field. Gold Rush teams are limited to players with less than 750 masterpoints,
are run separately from open stratified or strati-flighted team games that run concurrently. A Gold Rush game might be stratified 750/300, for example. Gold points are awarded for overall placement or section top awards in the
top strat only.
Soloway-style knockout teams:
A KO event in which teams are divided into groups, usually of 6–12, based on their masterpoint holdings. Each bracket is guaranteed to play two sessions in a Swiss format. With groups of fewer than 10, all teams will play each other in a
round robin Swiss (matches of 6–8 boards). Groups that have 10 or more teams will play a regular two-session Swiss to determine the qualifiers. The top four teams based on VPs qualify to the semifinals of the KO. The first-place team gets
to pick their opponent from the qualifiers that finished third and fourth (not second – unless the second place team wishes to make themselves available to be picked). On the second day of the KO, teams are frequently required to pay for
two sessions with a required playoff to determine third and fourth place. The requirement to playoff can vary; check with your local director to see if that will be required at your tournament.
Scoring systems used in teams
International match points (IMPs):
The most common method of scoring team matches. Scoring example: if Team A scores plus 620 for bidding and making 4S on a particular deal and Team B scores only plus 170 (they didn’t bid the game), the difference is 450, which
converts to 10 IMPs. The IMP chart is shown on the inside of your convention card.
Victory points (VPs):
A method of scoring Swiss Team matches. After the scores are compared and converted to IMPs, the IMP total is converted to Victory Points. A team’s VP total may be used to determine its next opponents and its final standing. The VP
scale is dependent on the length of the match. There are two common scales used – 20 VP and 30 VP.