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Master Points for Foreign Players


The ACBL has many events at regionals and NABCs which have upper master point limits.  In addition, regional KOs are often bracketed by average Master Points of the competitors.  One issue that arises is when players from other countries compete in these events, their ACBL master point total doesn’t reflect their accomplishments in their own countries.

To level the playing field, the ACBL assigns foreign players “Eligibility Points” (EPs).  When foreign players first compete in an ACBL tournament, they can go to the director-in-charge who will assign that player EPs.  For example, Player XYZ pleads a case for how many EPs he/she deserves, the director solicits opinions from other players familiar with Player XYZ and assigns a number.  This number is essentially an equivalent number of ACBL MPs.  Player XYZ is then added to a spreadsheet which currently has over 2,000 entries.  

Our goals are to update the existing spreadsheet and provide a better mechanism for assigning EPs to future players who are added.  Since we are only familiar with a fraction of the players on the spreadsheet, we would like to form sub-committees of 3-4 players from the countries listed at the foot of this article. Each sub-committee will receive a spreadsheet of players from their country and will seek to allocate EPs appropriately.  If you come from one of the relevant countries and would like to volunteer your services, to be part of a sub-committee that will work on this project, please contact barryrigal@mindspring.com. Alternatively, send me your email details (privately!) via a message on Bridge Winners.

The standard we intend to use is:  If player X lived in the US, how many MPs would he/she have? To achieve that goal we have a number of possible routes. We can look at ACBL players of approximately the same age with similar career arcs. And we will also pay attention to how many ACBL MPs the player already has. Additionally – and this is where BW readers come in – we have a list by country of foreign players whose relative standings we wish to organize.

Again, we would like to emphasize this, this is NOT an attempt to measure ability, it is an attempt to measure how many MP these players would have, by reference to the amount they have already played and won in their home country.

To give you an instance: the late Iain Macleod was an outstanding bridge player in England but his side activity (he died as Chancellor of the Exchequer) meant that if he came to the USA he would not be given many MP when it came to playing in a regional event, since he never played tournament bridge.

Someone who wins regularly in regionals in his home country should be allocated more MP than the expert who plays occasionally.

Here are the countries where we would appreciate volunteers for input on MP allocation:

  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Brazil
  • Bulgaria
  • China
  • Denmark
  • France
  • Germany
  • Great Britain and UK
  • Hong Kong
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • Singapore
  • South Africa
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Turkey

One more point we need to emphasize:  the comments section below is not intended as a forum for discussions on individual players.  It is intended as a way to recruit volunteers who will have these discussions among themselves in each subcommittee.

The spreadsheet sent to each committee member and their discussions should remain confidential.  If anyone has suggestions or comments outside the limited scope of this project, we will be happy to discuss them privately.

Thank you.

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