ACBL grants a club game sanction on the condition that the club conduct all game sessions in full compliance with ACBL regulations. These regulations help maintain the technical level of all games and ensure that masterpoints are issued under approximately equal conditions everywhere. To retain a sanction the club manager must observe both the letter and the spirit of ACBL regulations. Within the limits they establish, there is ample room for the development of innovative, imaginative programs and services for club patrons.

A. SYSTEMS AND CONVENTIONS

ACBL retains the right to approve or disapprove any bidding or defensive carding (lead or discard signal) convention for general use in ACBL-sanctioned tournament events. In exercising this right, ACBL has established convention charts that list conventions permitted in games having varying degrees of difficulty. See Appendix A.

A club manager can bar or allow specific conventions and can bar certain conventions in newcomer games but allow them in open games. The types of events for which this applies are club masterpoint games, club championships, club charity events, ACBL-wide events, unit championships, unit charity events, district charity events, and the first level of play in the North American Pairs event. The Alert procedure and the skip bid announcement are procedures used in tournaments and are optional (and strongly encouraged) in club games.

When masterpoints are awarded for overall positions in several locations, such as unit-wide games, STaCs, etc., all conventions in the ACBL General Convention Chart must be allowed unless the conditions of contest specify otherwise. Use of the Alert procedure is mandatory, and the rules that govern skip bid announcements are applicable.

Occasionally special games, such as the GNT event, may be held in clubs. In such a case the club manager must check the conditions of contest to be sure to conduct the game in conformity with the rules.

ACBL recommends that clubs which are inclined to permit patrons to test new or little known conventions or systems restrict such testing to one of several scheduled game sessions. If experience indicates that the majority of the club players welcome this policy, it can be extended easily to other sessions. In any case, players must have the approval of the director before using any convention not specifically authorized. ACBL recommends that each club post a list of approved conventions in a conspicuous place on its premises.

B. SEEDING

Seeding means specifically seating strong pairs (or weak pairs) in a manner relative to the movement, so that every contestant plays against a group of opponents of approximately the same strength. In a one-section event, both directions should be balanced. In a multi-section event, all fields should be balanced. In two-session events, the balance should be maintained for both sessions.

If there is an active effort to seat all strong pairs in one direction and the weak pairs in the other, the session must be classified as an invitational/restricted game. Further, if all strong pairs are seated in one section and all weak pairs in another, the strong section qualifies as open, and the other section becomes
restricted/invitational.

Seeding is not mandatory for any regular masterpoint games. All seating may be random by luck of the draw or on a first-come, first-served basis.

C. MARGIN FOR RANKING FINISHERS

Score adjustments, carryovers and raw scores will be rounded to two decimal places, with .01 constituting a margin of separation for ranking and masterpoints. Any margin between contestants will be sufficient separation for purposes of qualification.

D. CASH PRIZES

Many clubs consider the club masterpoints awarded to winners as sufficient prizes. However, some clubs award free plays to future club events to winning players. A few clubs award suitable prizes such as ACBL Bridge Bucks, trophies, or cash. Cash prizes are not subject to any restrictions.

E. SCHEDULING CONFLICTS

When a sectional (excluding STaCs or Limited/Restricted Sectionals) or higher rated event is being conducted within 25 miles of a club game’s playing site, the club is permitted to hold only its regularly scheduled club masterpoint games (i.e., no special games).

F. CANCELLATION OF A REGULAR GAME SESSION

Clubs must hold regularly sanctioned game sessions as provided on its approved application. A club may not change a regularly sanctioned game session to a different day or time, even temporarily, without prior ACBL approval.

A club may cancel a regularly scheduled game session because of:

• Unusual weather such as a snowstorm, hurricane, or tornado alert

• A conflict with a higher rated event (optional – not required,
but only a regular club game may be held)

• Holidays such as Memorial Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, New Year’s Day, and Christmas and other religious holidays

• Not enough tables for a legal game

• In the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and Bermuda, all statutory holidays, as well as local, provincial, national and religious holidays

There are no game or table fees for sessions canceled for an approved reason. The club must note the reason for a cancellation on the Monthly Report Form. A club may not make up canceled games.

G. CLUB RECORDS

The club must post recap sheets for each game no later than the next session of that game. Travelers, if used, must be available for player review through the next session of that game. The club must retain the game records for at least three months. For other than regular club games, the club must retain the game records for at least six months.

H. CLUB DISCIPLINE

Club management should deal promptly and fairly with all cases of improper conduct that occur during an ACBL-sanctioned masterpoint game in the club, including cases of unethical practices. The club manager should either handle these situations personally or establish a standing committee to review all disciplinary problems. Clubs holding non-sanctioned games may deal with problems arising in these games as they see fit.

The club manager can handle many behavior problems by discussing them with the offenders, by issuing a warning, or declaring a period of probation. In extreme cases or cases of repeat offenses, the manager can bar an ACBL member from the club game for a stipulated period of time, or permanently.

No open club may bar an ACBL member or members as a class, based upon the player’s race, creed, religion, political affiliation, sexual orientation, national origin, and physical handicap or on his proficiency at bridge.

Unless a non-ACBL member is currently suspended or expelled from participation in ACBL sanctioned events, permission to play in an ACBL sanctioned event at that club is at the sole discretion of the club management and ACBL has no jurisdiction. Therefore, except for a barring alleged to be for the above discriminatory reasons, these regulations do not apply (i.e. the ACBL requirements and rights enumerated in this section do not extend to non-ACBL members).

Except as detailed in the previous paragraph, a club may bar an ACBL member for whatever reason it deems proper and consistent with ACBL Rules and Regulations and the Laws of Duplicate Bridge. An obnoxious or incompatible partnership may be barred as a pair, but each may be permitted to play with other partners.

To bar an ACBL member, club management must notify the member in writing and send a copy of the notification to the ACBL Club Membership Department.

The notification must include the member’s name and player number and the reason for the barring. An open club can bar members from its regularly scheduled club masterpoint games, membership games,  club championships, charity and international fund club championships, and other special events specifically allocated to clubs as outlined above.

These regulations also apply to a club with an invitational sanction except that the club has the additional authority to refuse admittance to an invitational game to someone who does not meet the criteria upon which the invitational sanction is based (e.g. a member who has 500 masterpoints is denied admittance to an invitational game that is limited to members with fewer than 300 masterpoints).

If the member feels that his barring does not comply with these regulations prohibiting barring players as a class, religious or political affiliations, race, creed, sexual orientation, national origin, physical disability or proficiency at bridge, he or she may appeal the barring to the unit disciplinary committee. Appeals from the unit disciplinary committee may be filed in accordance with and under the authority of the ACBL Code of Disciplinary Regulations. Until the appeal is lodged and heard, the player remains barred unless reinstated by the club unless a stay is granted by the Unit Disciplinary Chairperson.

A club may extend the barring of an ACBL member from Grand National teams, North American Pair events, STaCs, qualifying sessions of a progressive sectional, ACBL-wide games, unit or district competitions, and/or unit-wide or district-wide championships held at the club. A member so barred may appeal the extension of the barring under the process described in the previous paragraph. In such cases, the written notice to the member barred must include the member’s right to appeal the action to the Unit Disciplinary Committee in which the club is located within 30 days of the action taken by the club. Such written notice is required, otherwise the barring shall not be effective.

I. DISABLED ACBL MEMBERS

An ACBL-sanctioned club game should make every reasonable effort to enable a physically disabled member to participate. The overriding philosophy is to accommodate the handicapped individual as long as such accommodation does not unreasonably disadvantage a substantial portion of the other players affected. The club should allow such players to use special equipment, such as card holders, bidding boxes, special playing cards, etc. Contact ACBL’s Tournament Department for the approval policy for special playing cards. The club should also accommodate such an individual when the handicap requires special seating such as a stationary position.

J. PARTICIPATION IN CLUB ACTIVITIES

To stimulate participation, a club may require that players participate in a specified number of previously held club masterpoint sessions to be eligible to play in its club championships. The participation requirement must be fully publicized in advance. A club may not impose participation requirements on events that have a sectional or higher rating; for example GNT, NAP, or ACBL-wide events. A club may not impose this requirement on events sanctioned to units, even though the games may be played in the club.

Visitors may be allowed to play in club championships without having met the participation requirement. The term visitor is defined by the governing body of the club and must be properly publicized.