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A tournament is more than a competition. It’s a multi-day event where players from different communities can gather to enjoy the game they all love – bridge. Tournaments also offer unique opportunities to win special pigmented masterpoints®, including silver and gold.

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General Information

Ribbon Eligibility

Ribbon Relationships Ribbon RelationshipsBlue Ribbon Eligibility Blue Ribbon EligibilityRed Ribbon Eligibility Red Ribbon EligibilitySilver Ribbon Eligibility Silver Ribbon Eligibility

Convention Cards


ACBL Convention Card: Download a PDF file and print a blank card. You may also save the file to your computer and edit this card for your personal use.
ACBL Classic Convention Card: Download a PDF file and print a blank card. You may also save the file to your computer and edit this card for your personal use.
Basic 2 over 1 Convention Card: From Larry Cohen’s Conventional Wisdom Lite series featured in the ACBL Bridge Bulletin. Download the completed card. To view the Conventional Wisdom Lite series, click here.
ACBL “Fat Free” Convention Card: Download a completed card with a basic system for you.
Standard American Yellow Card (SAYC): Download a PDF of the card as well as full instructions for using this popular convention card in single-page format or paginated format. A Spanish version of the instructions is available at
Bridge Bulletin Standard Bridge Bulletin Standard

conditions of contest_Tournaments
Charts, Rules and Regulations

Convention Charts

ACBL Convention Charts

The four new convention charts are listed in order from least to most permissive: the Basic Chart, Basic+ Chart, Open Chart, and Open+ Chart. The Basic and Basic+ Charts are intended for limited master point events. These Charts are written in manner similar to the old charts — by listing permitted methods.

The Open and Open+ Charts are intended for events with no masterpoint limits (or high limits). In contrast to the Basic and Basic+ Charts, methods are generally allowed unless they are expressly prohibited within the Chart.

A comprehensive Definitions section is included in addition to the Charts. Any word that is capitalized on a Chart is included in the Definitions section.

An Examples section follows the Charts for cases where a rule might be ambiguous. Both the Definitions and the Examples should be included with the Charts. Any Definition or Chart Rule marked with three asterisks (***) has 1 or more examples in the Example section.

Defense Database

Defense Database

Two classes of methods are particularly difficult to defend against, and these methods are allowed only in events governed by the Open+ Chart, and then only in segments of six boards or longer. These methods, based on #3 of the Opening Bids section of the Open Chart and on #3 or #7 of the Opening Bids section of the Open+ Chart, require both a pre-alert and a written defense, including a separate copy of that defense for each opponent.

Requirements for playing these methods

If you choose to play one of these methods, you are required to:

  1. Pre-Alert the method prior to the start of the auction on the first board.
  2. Have a complete written description of the method available for your opponents.
  3. Have a copy of an approved defense from this database available for your opponents should they wish to use it. If there is no approved defense for the method you wish to play, you may not use that method until such time as you have submitted a defense to ACBL and that defense has been approved.

The intent of these requirements is to permit responsible pairs a reasonable amount of freedom to determine the methods they wish to play while ensuring that no advantage is gained from a method that is unknown and/or whose submitted defense is inadequate.

Convention and Defense Approval
Convention and Defense Approval

A sub-committee of the Conventions and Competition Committee is responsible for approving defenses to methods which require them for addition to the ACBL Defense Database.

All proposals must include:

  1. a complete description of the method, including responses and rebids and what happens in competition,
  2. a detailed defense including initial actions, responses to the initial actions (including in competition), actions after opening-P- bid/P (and responses there to), delayed actions such as opening-P-bid- P-P/bid

Defenses To:

1. Artificial One-level Openings Showing Length Only In A Known Suit Other Than the One Opened:

2. Artificial Opening Preempts Below 3NT That Do Not Show At Least One Known Suit



Duplicate Decisions Duplicate DecisionsLaws of Duplicate Laws of Duplicate Laws of Rubber Bridge Laws of Rubber Bridge Options Under the Laws Options Under the Laws 1/1/24 Laws Update 1/1/24 Laws Update

Tournament Specific Regulations

Alert Procedures Alert ProceduresRecent Changes Recent ChangesAppeals Committee Handbook Appeals Committee Handbook

Reference (Outdated) Documents

These documents are outdated and presented for reference only. Current regulations can be found above.
Previous Convention Charts Previous Convention ChartsAlert Procedures (Pamphlet) Alert Procedures (Pamphlet)Alert Chart Alert Chart

Tournament Management

Valuable resources to assist you in managing and publicizing your tournaments. For additional assistance, contact the ACBL Tournament Department

TourneyTrax TourneyTraxTournament Supplies Tournament Supplies
Online Sanction Applications

Online sanction applications for sectional or regional tournaments are available only through unit or district tournament coordinators.

Who is your coordinator?

District/Unit Officers List District/Unit Officers List

tournament section td

Field Operations
The essence of the Field Operations structure is the ability for Tournament Diredtors (TDs) to see and work with their direct reports. This structure provides opportunities for direct mentoring and development of new TDs as well as exposure to the skills and knowledge of senior staff.
Field Operations Contact Information
Name Title Email Districts
McKenzie Myers Senior Manager, Field Operations
Brian Weikle Manager, Bridge Operations
Sol Weinstein Area Manager 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 18 (Canada), 19 (Canada), 24, 25
Peter Wilke Area Manager 8, 11, 12, 13, 14
Scott Humphrey Area Manager 7, 9, 10, 15, 16
Matt Koltnow Area Manager 17, 18(USA), 19 (USA), 20, 21, 22, 23
Become a Tournament Director

Become a TD

Become a Tournament Director

Your progression as a director starts by becoming certified as a Club Director. From there, you can progress by becoming a Tournament Assistant (TA) (capable of assisting ACBL directors in Sectional or Regional tournaments) or a Local Sectional Director (LSD) (certified to run Local Sectionals). Neither position is ACBL employment, the sponsor (District or Unit) is responsible for your compensation. To become a TA you need to complete a written exam. To become an LSD you need to complete an online course and pass the corresponding exam. For more information on these follow this link:

If you really like directing and want to better understand our great game and earn some extra income, consider the next step (part-time employment as an ACBL Tournament Director). An applicant should be a certified club director with at least one year of experience, a TA or an LSD. While a tournament is, in some cases, simply a larger club game, it differs in many key aspects. Apart from the size, the players and the sponsoring organization take a tournament much more seriously than a club game. All the skills practiced while working alone in a club will be important—but not as important as being a good team member and sharing common goals.

Job Requirements: The Essentials
  • Technical skills needed to run bridge games of all types and sizes.
  • Thorough knowledge and understanding of the Laws of Duplicate Bridge and ACBL regulations.
  • Thorough knowledge of ACBLscore and ability to work with required software and hardware.
  • Ability to be a sales person and accountant, able to sell entries and balance large sums of money.
  • Public relations skills to balance the roles of referee and judge, schoolteacher, psychologist and entertainment director.
  • Ability to work in a busy and noisy atmosphere while maintaining an even and friendly disposition.
Rulings and Bridge Ability

A thorough understanding of the Convention Charts and Alert procedures is crucial. Keeping up to date on bidding conventions and current trends is strongly encouraged as well as reading the NABC+ casebooks and articles dealing with rulings. Discuss potential rulings with other TDs and ask questions so that you know and understand what others think. Ask the leading players at your tournament for bridge judgment opinions per the instruction of the director-in-charge. Know your responsibilities if called upon to present a case to an Appeals Committee. While it is not crucial to be an expert player, it is important to understand as much as possible the game situations being discussed and the reasoning behind the rulings.

Knowledge of Movements

It is essential to have a complete knowledge of all movements one might encounter at a tournament (Mitchell, Howell, Board-a-Match, etc.). In addition, a TD must know all movements dealing with half tables and have the ability to add tables after a game has started regardless of the movement being used. It is important to know how to repair movements that have gone off track (such as pairs or boards going to the wrong table) with a minimum of delay. In addition, TDs must know to conduct Swiss and Knockout Team events of all sizes.

Technical Skills

A complete knowledge of ACBLscore is essential for a tournament director. Directors must be thoroughly aware of how to set up and score all types of games. In addition you should be aware of all secondary aspects of the program such as bulletin, summary, Edmov, all Set commands, etc. TDs should be comfortable entering names and scores for up to four two-board sections. In addition, they should have a working knowledge of computers, software, hardware and printers in use and be able to resolve minor problems.

The ACBL is also involved in online bridge. Eventually, work may be available directing online bridge, so a working knowledge of how this form of the game works will also come in handy.

Customer Service

While the items mentioned above are important in developing the skills necessary to be a Tournament Director, none is as important as the ability to deal with people. Obviously, players are drawn to a bridge tournament by the competitive side of the contest. The desire to win is very important to them. Never forget that the social side of the game is also very important.

A TD must be aware of the personal needs of our customers; this is an even more important aspect of directing than running the contests in a technically correct manner. Equally crucial is maintaining order, discipline and assuring all contestants that they will be spending their time in a pleasant and comfortable atmosphere. While it is vital that we deal with rulings and penalties in a manner consistent with our laws and regulations, it is even more important to do so in a manner that shows that we realize that these players are our customers and have many other options for spending their leisure time. Presentation is everything.

Contests must be run smoothly, on time and with little or no disturbance to the customers from the staff or other contestants. You must be consistent and impartial. When you do make a mistake, admit it, apologize and fix it as best you can. It is crucial that the players consider you someone they can rely on to be competent, fair and objective. Try very hard to treat all contestants equally, be they expert or newcomer.

Even when you are unable to satisfy a player’s immediate needs, let him or her know that you will pass the message along to the right parties. Also tell them to advise you if the problem has not been rectified in a reasonable amount of time so that you can look once again into resolving it. Remember that people making complaints will usually be in an agitated state. It is therefore crucial for TDs to maintain their cool and to be as sensitive as possible to the players’ concerns.


It also is important for TDs to recognize they are a member of a team. They will be judged, invariably, by the performance of the group—not an individual action. You should make every effort to perform the tasks assigned in a competent and professional manner. It is just as important for a TD to always be on the lookout for how to help fellow staff members perform to their best.


It is reasonable to expect it to take a couple of years to become established. Your workload will increase over time as your skills develop. Some areas have a greater need for directors than others.

Employment Policy

No ACBL employee (full time or part time) may stand for election or serve as an elected member of any ACBL unit, district or conference body, ACBL Board of Governors or ACBL Board of Directors. Further, no employee may serve as an appointed voting member of any of these bodies.

More Information

This is a job where technical ability and classroom study account for a small percentage of the necessary prerequisites for success. It is a profession that is constantly evolving. A TD must understand that the education process never ends. We are always on the lookout for the right people. For more information, please contact ACBL HR department, at 662-253-3109.

Kay Platinum Pairs, von Zedtwitz LM Pairs, Nail Life Master Open Pairs, Lebhar IMP Pairs, Bruce LM Pairs, 0-10000 Swiss, Vanderbilt,Spingold, Whitehead Women’s Pairs, STaCs, B-A-M Teams, Leventritt Silver Ribbon Pairs, Wagar Women’s Pairs, Mitchell Open BAM, Rockwell Mixed Pairs, Truscott/USPC Senior Swiss, Soloway KO Teams, Silodor Open Pairs, Wernher Open Pairs, Blue Ribbon Pairs, Smith LM Women’s Pairs, Freeman Mixed BAM, Mini Blue Ribbon Pairs, 0-10,000 KO, Roth Open Swiss, Senior Mixed Pairs, Jacoby Open Swiss, Bean Red Ribbon Pairs, Reisinger, 0-10,000 Swiss, 0-10,000 Open Pairs, Keohane NA Swiss, NABC+ Fast Pairs, Mini Spingolds, Super Senior Pairs,
0-10,000 Mixed Swiss, 0-10,000 Fast Pairs, Young (0-2500) Pairs, NABC+ Mixed Swiss, 0-10,000 IMP Pairs, TourneyTrax, Trax

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