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MPs and NGS - do they depend on the rules applied?

Recent conversations in this ftorum have raised one of those "theoretical" questions in my mind.

As I understand it, all games of bridge must follow the Law book. Those run by the EBU also follow the White / Blue / Sky Blue books ("the books"). Events run by other organisations do not have to follow the books, but usually do.

Since the EBU grants masterpoints for and calculates the NGS ratings based on club / district / county events, I assume that adherence to the books is not essential for this.

My questions are:

1) What about EBU licensed events run by other organisations? Do they have to follow the books?

2) What if an event is not following one (or more) of the laws? I'm thinking in particular of law 25 but the point applies more generally. As has been pointed out elsewhere, bridge is not being played. Is it still right to issue MPs and amend NGS ratings?

I suspect it depends on the nature and degree of the variation. At one end, if a director incorrectly applies a law in error, or the opposition allow a potential penalty card to be picked up, we are surely still playing bridge. At the other end, if we decide that everyone may see their partner's cards, we most defintitely are not.


  • edited January 2021

    As you say, all games of bridge must follow the main Laws of bridge book. In theory, this means that no event can conflict with any of these laws, and any additional regulations must not conflict with the Law book.

    From the Masterpoints handbook, "Sponsoring organisations may award Master Points in accordance with the conditions laid down in this Handbook for the following types of event played under the Laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge, the Bye-Laws and regulations of the EBU and the conditions of the Master Points scheme. There are some special requirements for a licensed charity event (see Section 1.8)."

    For Licensed events, again from the handbook, "The rules for the event and the general rules of play will be in accordance with the current Laws of Duplicate Bridge and any supplementary regulations laid down by the Laws and Ethics Committee of the EBU (see the Blue Book for details, copies of which are available on the EBU web-site)."

    Clearly there is plenty of room for interpretation here. Indeed, the White Book link on the EBU website says that it is "only official for events run by the EBU." The Sky-Blue Book also says it applies only to events organised by the EBU. The same cannot be said for the Blue Book.

    Law 81C (Director's Duties and Powers) is also interesting... "1. to maintain discipline and to ensure the orderly progress of the game. 2. to administer and interpret these Laws..."

    Regarding then your first question, EBU licensed events that are not run by the EBU (or required as per a licensing agreement) do not have to follow the Sky-Blue or White Books, but the Blue Book should be followed. The Blue Book however has lots of scope for choosing regulations appropriate to your event anyway.

    Regarding your second question, technically all events should be run in accordance with the Laws if they are being processed for masterpoints. Admittedly, I feel that Law 25 could be made redundant by a suitably worded regulation that is still non-conflicting with the Laws, albeit not in the spirit of the Laws.

    If a director applies a law in error, then obviously there's no conflict with the Laws per se, and the opposition are generally allowed to let play continue if they choose not to enforce a penalty. Again, a regulation could be imposed such that the opposition must always choose that option (although inadvisable in any event that isn't a "relaxed duplicate"). I mentioned Law 81C because the director should "ensure the orderly progress of the game." All of the points you've mentioned would fit into that command if it's appropriate to your particular event. I would find it much harder to write a rule-bending regulation that allows you to see the cards of others at the table!

    Laws and regulations for any sport or game are never written with small clubs in mind, but of the largest competitions, so bending the rules in this manner would, in my opinion, be viewed favourably (but especially if it's not a licensed event). There are no specific rules on which events could count towards the NGS (other than permitted scoring methods), but it would make sense for these to align with those that could have masterpoints awarded.

  • Thank you 495670 - the fog has lifted somewhat now!

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