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 country club or 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 or a team game), and every contestant must be scheduled to play a minimum of 18 boards.
The following regulations should apply when an ineligible person or pair participates in a restricted club game:
- At no time should the director use a pseudonym, non-member, deceased member or similar to disguise the identity of an ineligible player or pair.
- If a player falls outside the masterpoint limits for the given game but has only recently gone over the threshold, for that one time a director may allow the pair to be eligible but club management or the club director should advise the player they will no longer be eligible to play in that game.
- Clubs always have the opportunity to raise the ceiling of their masterpoint-restricted games by submitting a request in writing to the Club and Member Services Department.
- If the club determines that having a director, manager, or ineligible player playing with an eligible player will serve the club’s interests they may do so. This pair should be marked as ineligible, and as explained in III.B. below the rankings shall be affected accordingly.
- In the case where two ineligible players are asked to play so that the game will not have a half-table, this pair should remain a phantom pair with none of the scores recorded for this pair nor for their opponents.
- An ineligible pair (not the phantom pair) will still count for the club’s monthly total of tables.