The ACBL Bridge Hall of Fame was founded in the 1960s under the auspices of The Bridge World magazine. The hall honors people who have made outstanding contributions to bridge. Learn more.
ACBL Charity Foundation
The ACBL Charity Foundation was created in 1964. The principle goal of the foundation is to make substantial contributions to various charitable organizations. Learn more.
ACBL Educational Foundation
The ACBL Educational Foundation is a charitable trust fund established as a nonprofit organization in 1987. Learn more.
ACBL Player of the Year
This title is given to the ACBL member who earns the most Platinum masterpoints during a calendar year.
Ace of Clubs
A primary objective of the ACBL is to instill in all players the concept that vigorous efforts should be made to provide equity in bridge. Every player should take pains to make sure that the opponents have in no way been harmed through incomplete or misleading information as to the meaning of conventional calls and treatments. An aggressive approach along these lines on the part of each and every individual will ensure that bridge remains a game that everyone can enjoy. Learn more.
This is a score assigned by a tournament director (or an appeals committee) when either an infraction of the laws or a procedural error has occurred.
Albert H. Morehead Memorial Library
This bridge library is located at ACBL headquarters in Memphis, TN. It is one of the largest bridge libraries in the world with more than 3000 volumes, many artifacts and historical documents. The library is named in honor of Albert H. Morehead, a member of the ACBL Bridge Hall of Fame, who was a noted bridge author and ACBL official. Mr. Morehead bequeathed his private collection to the ACBL where it became the nucleus of the ACBL Bridge Library.
The objective of the alert procedure is for both pairs at the table to have equal access to all information contained in any auction. Learn more.
An average score is one-half the matchpoints possible on a given deal or in a particular session of a matchpoint pairs tournament.
This trophy is presented to the ACBL member who has accumulated the most masterpoints during the calendar year. Originally known as the McKenney Trophy, it was renamed in 1986 in honor of Crane, who had a dominant influence on the race for three decades. Crane, a Hollywood director and producer who was murdered in July 1985, was ACBL’s top masterpoint holder at the time of his death and was acknowledged by his peers to be unequaled as a masterpoint winner and matchpoint player.
Masterpoints awarded at club- and unit-level games are black. A new member (as of 1/1/ 99) needs at least 50 black points (out of a total of 300 points of all colors) to become a Life Master.
Named in honor of the late Easley Blackwood, this award was established in 1996 to honor bridge players, living or deceased, who contributed to the game in areas outside of bridge-playing expertise. Albert H. Morehead, an ACBL official, bridge writer, editor and player, was the first recipient of the award. Portraits of the people who receive this award are displayed in the ACBL Bridge Hall of Fame.
Board of Governors
The ACBL Board of Governors serves in an advisory capacity to the ACBL Board of Directors.
Board of Directors
The ACBL Board of Directors determines the policies and direction of the ACBL.
The Bridge Bulletin
ACBL’s monthly magazine, The Bridge Bulletin, is filled with information on bidding and play for all levels of players, information regarding upcoming tournaments, bridge book and software reviews and reports on special bridge competitions.
Bridge Plus+ Games
Bridge Plus+ is a shorter, friendlier, low-key duplicate experience created especially for students who have taken one or more of The ACBL Bridge Series courses.
Bronze Life Master
A player with Life Master status who has at least 500 masterpoints is known as a Bronze Life Master.
A caddy is an assistant at a bridge tournament who is selected by the local tournament committee and is usually one of a group of interested high-school students. The main function of a caddy is to collect the score slips (results on the deals played at each table of a duplicate game) following each round and deliver them to the scorekeepers.
Celebrity Speaker Program
Free lectures given at tournaments by bridge celebrities is a feature of an Intermediate- Newcomer (IN) Program. The most extensive speaker program is held three times a year at NABCs where bridge celebrities and bridge teachers speak 45 minutes prior to the afternoon and evening sessions.
Club Appreciation Games
Club appreciation games are special games run during the month of October at clubs. They offer masterpoint awards calculated at 85% of sectional rating.
Each regularly scheduled weekly game is entitled to four club championship sessions per year. Overall awards for club championship games in open clubs are 65% of sectional rating.
ACBL offers any member the opportunity to become an ACBL-rated club director in order to run a local club-level sanctioned game and award masterpoints.
Club Game Classifications
There are five general classes of games at clubs:
- Open club games welcome all players.
- Invitational club games may limit participation to members of a particular organization or to participants invited by the club manager. Guests are often accepted at invitational clubs.
- Masterpoint-limited club games are for players who are beyond Rookie level but not ready for open competition. These games may have any limitation that is determined to be best for the players in question — such as 49er, 99er, Non Life Master.
- Newcomer club games may operate under different titles (newplicate, novice, 0-5, 0-20, etc.), but participation is limited to persons holding fewer than 20 masterpoints on record with the ACBL.
- College or high school club games are special forms of invitational club games restricted to students, faculty members and their spouses.
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A player with 20 to 49.99 recorded masterpoints is known as a club master.
Points earned at the club level in games with club rating are called club masterpoints. These are black points and are distributed in fractional amounts. One hundred fractional points equal one masterpoint.
Forms used for partnerships to describe their bidding and carding methods. Learn more.
Each ACBL game is governed by a specific convention chart that states the conventional agreements allowed. Learn more.
Ely Culbertson was the man credited with making bridge an internationally popular pastime. Ely (E-Lee) and his wife, Jo, are members of the ACBL Bridge Hall of Fame.
An ACBL Life Master who has at least 5000 masterpoints is known as a Diamond Life Master.
The director of a duplicate bridge game is the person designated to supervise the contest and to apply the laws. There are club directors, many ranks of tournament directors and IN (Intermediate-Newcomer) directors, those who have been trained to work with newer players (see also Club Director and Tournament Director).
The ACBL is divided into 25 geographically defined districts. When someone joins the ACBL, they also become a member of a specific unit and the district in which the unit is geographically located.
In bridge, ethics equals fair play. Breeches of ethics are generally thought of as unfair and illegal practices and could include deliberate cheating. The Laws of Duplicate Bridge deal with the question of proper behavior at bridge.
Much of the popularity of contract bridge is attributable to the high standards of etiquette that are observed by the players. At all times, a player should maintain a courteous attitude toward partner and the opponents. A player should carefully avoid any remark or action that might cause annoyance or embarrassment to another player or might interfere with another player’s enjoyment of the game.
The process of adjusting matchpoint scores to the same base to make them comparable for ranking purposes is known as factoring.
In a flighted event, contestants compete only against other pairs/teams within the same point range.
This trophy, inaugurated in 1993, is given annually to the ACBL Senior Player of the Year. It is named for George Burns, the famous comedian, who played bridge daily at his country club into his late 90s.
Gold Life Master
An ACBL Life Master who has acquired at least 2500 masterpoints is known as a Gold Life Master.
Gold points are a type of masterpoint. They are awarded for topping your section or placing overall at regionals and NABCs in events of two or more sessions that have either no masterpoint restriction or a minimum masterpoint limit of 750 points or more. Partial gold point awards are given for certain special events.
Golden Age Master
A special category was set up by the ACBL to recognize the achievements of older members. There are two ways to qualify to become a Golden Age Master — (1) 70 years of age with 300 points of any color; or (2) 80 years of age with 100 points of any color.
The ACBL Goodwill Committee and its individual members work to create goodwill for the ACBL. They receive, convey and act on suggestions for the betterment of ACBL, particularly in the areas of active ethics, conduct, tournament conditions, bridge for Juniors and bridge for the handicapped.
Grand Life Master
The highest rank in the ACBL is Grand Life Master. To achieve this rank, a player must have earned 10,000 masterpoints and have won at least one North American Bridge Championship event that has no upper masterpoint limit or its equivalent.
ACBL clubs may offer handicap games where the contestants are given a handicap (either plus or minus) based on previous performance or degree of competence to create a more level competitive group.
Helen Shanbrom Ace of Clubs
The vast majority of ACBL members play in local club games. To recognize achievement at the club level, the Ace of Clubs competition was created in 1984. These club champions are recognized at the unit level and ACBL-wide. All points won at the club level are counted in this contest with the exception of those won in STaCs. This award was renamed in 2011 in honor of Grand Life Master Helen Shanbrom of Tamarac FL. Shanbrom has been one of the most active players in the ACBL for decades and has won the top category of the Ace of Clubs more times than any other member in ACBL history.
An IMP is an International Matchpoint, a unit of scoring used according to a schedule established by the Laws of Duplicate Bridge.
Designates an Intermediate-Newcomer program or event.
Instant Matchpoint Game
An Instant Matchpoint Game is a game in which players are given their matchpoint score on each board immediately after playing each deal. ACBL hosts an annual ACBL-wide Instant Matchpoint Game at clubs each September and a school-wide Instant Matchpoint Game for participants in the School Bridge Lesson Series program each May.
ACBL’s Junior Bridge Program provides playing and social activities for players under the age of 26 and is designed to develop a corps of dedicated younger players. One of the goals of the program is to produce Juniors with the skills to sustain ACBL’s position in the future as a world bridge power.
Every other year (odd-numbered years), the ACBL encourages participation in the summer Bridge Camp and World Junior Pairs competition sponsored by the WBF (World Bridge Federation). ACBL offers a Junior Bridge Camp during the even-numbered years.
Members of this group are ACBL’s elite Junior players who are the future of the organization. Junior Corps members are charged with working together with unit officials and tournament organizers to promote bridge among young people.
A player holding 5 to 19.99 masterpoints is known as a Junior Master.
February is Junior Month in the ACBL. During this month, clubs are encouraged to run special games to benefit the ACBL Junior Program, which supports activities for Junior bridge players. Participants pay an extra $1 fee per game, which is donated to this fund for Juniors. Clubs may run as many as four Junior Fund Games each month of the year.
Junior Team Trials
The Junior Team Trials is the ACBL’s method of selection of teams for the biennial World Junior Bridge Team Championship, inaugurated by the World Bridge Federation in 1987. The trials to select U.S. representatives is currently held in conjunction with the summer NABCs.
This honorary title is awarded to a Junior Corp member who is a graduating high school senior. Cited for outstanding tournament performance, this Junior player is someone who has excelled also in bridge-related administrative, recreational and promotional activities. The ACBL Educational Foundation, funded by a grant from the Homer Shoop/International Palace of Sports, presents a $1000 scholarship to the annual winner.
The Laws of Duplicate Bridge, as promulgated in the western hemisphere by the ACBL, are prepared under the auspices of the ACBL Laws Commission. Duplicate Decisions, a publication sold by ACBL, presents a version of the law book written in everyday language.
Life Master is the most highly sought level of bridge achievement. A Life Master is a player who has earned 300 or more recorded masterpoints, of which at least 50 must be silver, at least 25 must be gold, and at least another 25 must be red or gold. New members (as of 1/1/99) must also earn at least 50 black points as part of their total 300 points. Please note that no more than 100 masterpoints earned on the Internet may count toward the points necessary to achieve Life Master status.
Members who joined ACBL before Jan. 1, 1996, who achieve the rank of Life Master are also Life Members. They are members for life unless they resign or their membership is revoked per established procedure. Life Members are not required to pay dues but are required to pay an annual service fee in order to maintain an active status and receive services from the ACBL.
This is the unit that measures bridge achievement in duplicate play. Masterpoints come in black, silver, red, gold, platinum and unpigmented, and they are awarded for different levels of play. Learn more.
A matchpoint is a unit used in a method of scoring duplicate contests in which two or more scores are compared. A pair receives one point for each result it surpasses and one-half point for each result it ties.
Named in honor of Ruth McConnell, former ACBL president and WBF treasurer, The McConnell Cup is awarded to the winners of a knockout team event for women played at the World Bridge Championships at the same time the Rosenblum Cup is contested.
In 1974, the ACBL Board of Directors voted to recognize the masterpoint achievements of all players and the Mini-McKenney races were established. The winners at each level of achievement (Rookie, Junior Master, etc.) are recognized by the ACBL each year in the March issue of The Bridge Bulletin and the home unit of each winner may purchase a Mini-McKenney medallion to present to the player.
This is the term for the North American Bridge Championships, which are operated annually by the ACBL. These tournaments are held in the spring, summer and fall and are rotated around the United States and Canada. Learn more.
NABC+ (NABC-Plus) Events
NABC+ events are the highest rated championship events offered by ACBL. Held only at the three annual NABCs, they are nationally rated events with no upper masterpoint limit. The Player-of-the-Year contest is won by the player winning the most platinum masterpoints in these events during the year.
A player with at least 200 masterpoints, including at least 50 pigmented points of which at least 5 must be gold, at least 15 must be red, and at least 25 must be silver, is known as an NABC Master.
Newcomer Game (or Novice Game)
This is an event that is restricted to players with fewer than 20 masterpoints. Participation may be even more restricted — the upper limit may be as low as 5 masterpoints.
This is a comprehensive book of facts about bridge and of bridge personalities since the inception of the game. It is available in our online store.
ACBL members may opt to become patron members and receive an enhanced benefits package.
Masterpoints awarded in NABC+ events that are currently considered for the Player-of-the-Year award are platinum.
The seven-digit number issued to each member of the ACBL is that person’s player number. The first digit is changed to a letter when the member achieves Life Master status.
Player of the Year
Each year the ACBL designates one of its members as Player of the Year. That person receives The Goren Trophy for earning the most masterpoints (platinum points) in North American Championship events with no upper masterpoint limit (NABC+).
As a player accumulates masterpoints, certain milestones, or ranking levels, will be reached that indicate progress. Learn more.
Recapitulation Sheet (Recap)
This is a large printed form on which the results (written on pick-up slips) are posted at bridge tournaments and on which matchpoints are assigned to scores and totals are computed. In many organizations, a computer-generated recap sheet has replaced the manual recap sheet.
Masterpoints won in all events at regional tournaments and in regionally rated events at the three annual NABCs (North American Bridge Championships) are red, unless they are gold. A player needs 25 red points (or the equivalent) as part of a total of 300 masterpoints to become a Life Master.
A player who has 100 to 200 recorded masterpoints, at least 5 of which are red or gold and at least 15 of which are silver, is known as a Regional Master.
Reisinger Memorial Trophy
This trophy was donated in memory of Curt H. Reisinger and is awarded to the winners of the fall NABC Board-a-Match Team Championship.
The Richmond Trophy is awarded annually to the Canadian who wins the most masterpoints during a calendar year.
A player holding fewer than 5 masterpoints is known as a Rookie.
A sanction is the permission given by the ACBL to a club, unit or district to hold a duplicate event and to award masterpoints.
A player with 50 to 100 recorded masterpoints, at least 5 of which are silver points, is known as a Sectional Master.
Seeding constitutes the assignment of certain tables to particularly strong contestants to assure there will be no preponderance of strong pairs in direct competition within any one section. In pair events, tables 3 and 9 are usually reserved for seeded players; at NABCs, tables 3, 6 and 9 are usually reserved. Some team events are also seeded.
Senior Player of the Year
The player, 55 years or older, who wins the most masterpoints each year in senior tournaments and senior events at all tournaments becomes the Senior Player of the Year. This player receives the George Burns Trophy.
Silver Life Master
A player of Life Master status who has at least 1000 masterpoints is known as a Silver Life Master.
Silver points are masterpoints awarded at sectional tournaments, progressive sectionals and STaCs (Sectional Tournaments at Clubs). A player must earn 50 silver points as one of the qualifications for advancing to the rank of Life Master.
The Spingold Trophy was donated in 1934 by Nathan Spingold and is awarded for the NABC Master Knockout Teams Championship played annually at the summer NABC. This event ranks with the Vanderbilt Cup as the most highly prized trophy on the ACBL calendar.
A tournament with regional rating held at two widely separated sites within an ACBL district is called a split regional. Scores are compared between the two sites to determine the first- and second-place winners of regionally rated pair games. Swiss teams and knockout teams are separate events with different winners at each site.
This is an abbreviation for a special kind of sectional tournament known as a Sectional Tournament at Clubs.
Standard American Yellow Card (SAYC)
The Standard American Yellow Card is a convention card that has been filled out to display a simple, modern method that leads to a good, solid understanding in a partnership when both players have read the card and the booklet. Learn more.
This is a type of game movement where all players are assigned to a group (strat) based on their current masterpoint holdings.
An event that is a combination of flighted and stratified.
The tournament director is the official representative of the sponsoring organization, responsible for the technical management of the tournament. The tournament director is charged with restoring equity at a table when an irregularity has occurred.
The ACBL sanctions the following types of tournaments: NABCs — three major national championships each year; Regionals — sanctioned to each of the 25 districts: Sectionals —– sanctioned to the 300+ units. Learn more.
See a complete listing of tournament event definitions here.
A unit is a division of the ACBL covering a designated area. Some units include only a part of a city and others include entire states. The unit supervises bridge activities at ACBL games in its territory and conducts tournaments at the local and sectional levels. Groups of units form ACBL districts, and officers and board members of units elect the district’s representative to the ACBL Board of Directors. ACBL has more than 300 units. ACBL members are placed in the unit where they are geographically located.
The Vanderbilt Knockout Team Championship is contested annually at the Spring NABC. It ranks with the Spingold Trophy as the most highly prized trophy in the ACBL calendar. The Vanderbilt Cup was donated by Harold S. Vanderbilt, a member of the ACBL Bridge Hall of Fame, and individual replicas of the trophy are given to the winners of the team championship.
Victory points is the scoring method favored by many experts in contests where there are many teams and each team plays a relatively small number of deals against each of the other teams. When using victory point scoring, the IMP score on each board is calculated. The total IMP score on the boards of the match are then converted to victory points in accordance with a predetermined scale.
Von Zedtwitz Award
Named for Waldemar von Zedtwitz, a member of the ACBL Bridge Hall of Fame, this award was established in 1996 to honor living or deceased bridge players whose contributions to bridge were through bridge-playing talents or outside the area of playing expertise. P. Hal Sims, one of the giants of the early game of bridge who was involved in several highly publicized bridge matches, was the first recipient of this award. Portraits of players who receive the von Zedtwitz Award are displayed in the ACBL Bridge Hall of Fame gallery at ACBL headquarters in Memphis, TN.
Von Zedtwitz Gold Cup
The von Zedtwitz Gold Cup is awarded annually at the summer NABC for the Life Master Pairs Championship, one of the most highly regarded pair events in the ACBL calendar. It was donated by Waldemar von Zedtwitz, one of the great bridge players and personalities of all time.
A vugraph offers a method of presenting bridge play to an audience larger than can be accommodated around a bridge table. The audience watches the matches played simultaneously by the opposing teams. The presentation is complemented by commentary designed to make the audience both understand and enjoy the bidding and play of the experts competing in the event. Vugraphs now are available online as well.
This is the most prestigious event for players under the age of 26. It is played every other year (odd years) and hosted by the World Bridge Federation. ACBL teams are selected in the off years at the Junior Team Trials held in conjunction with the summer NABC. These teams enter a training program for the year prior to the event.
World Wide Pairs
This international competition is currently run in June of each year. It is scored as usual at the local level and matchpointed around the world at the world level.
To become a Life Master is the dream of all serious bridge players. Some never make it in their lifetime; others seem to have a special gift for the game and become Life Masters within a very short time. The record for the youngest Life Master is held by Richard Jeng of Johns Creek GA, who attained the rank at age 9 years, 6 months, and 12 days in 2009. (See also “Life Master” and “Ranks.”)
This is a policy recommended by ACBL and followed at many clubs and tournaments. It strives to promote a friendly atmosphere at the table while eliminating unacceptable behavior including rudeness, intimidation, gloating, profanity and a variety of other offenses. Learn more.