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Should all ACBL duplicate boards used at NABCs have vulnerability inserts placed in the board pockets?


The motion was submitted by the ACBL Board of Governors (BoG) from the Las Vegas (Summer 2014) BoG meeting and was brought up to ACBL's Board of Directors (BoD) in Providence (Fall 2014). It was as follows:

Item 143-85: Vulnerability Inserts All ACBL duplicate boards used at NABCs shall have vulnerability inserts placed in the board pockets. Motion failed. Aye: 18, 19 Abstain: 21

Management took it as an Action Item to look into the feasibility and the expense of putting inserts into every board that ACBL uses at the NABCs and the information they provided to the Board in Providence prior to the Board (meeting?) was overwhelmingly not in favor, and the motion failed 2-22-1

Further inquiries this week in Denver received the following reply:

When ACBL management researched the action item per BoG direction to use vulnerability inserts in all boards, their conclusion was

1) that they could not find a product that would not fall out and that vulnerability might be compromised intentionally or unintentionally and

2) that this was something we could not afford to have happen at an NABC or NABC+ event. 



anecdotal evidence from Bridge Winners (comments on )

Bud Hinckley

The New Generation boards were used frequently at NABC events I attended in the last few years WITHOUT vulnerability inserts. Being one of the 8% of males with red-green color blindness (for women, it's only 0.5%), I was constantly referring to my convention card before each board to check the vulnerability. Without the vulnerability inserts, I am not a fan of the New Generation boards for this reason.

Jeff Goldsmith

Odd. I thought nationals used Imperial-Plus boards. I'm not color blind, and I can't read the vulnerability/dealer on those boards. I don't remember ever seeing any New Generation boards, but the picture at Baron-Barclay makes them seem easier to read than the others.

I agree, vulnerability inserts would be nice.

Kevin O'Brien

ACBL's refusal to put vulnerability inserts in all board sets used at NABC's is a slap in the face to their aging demographic ...

I make sure all board sets I use at my small club (admittedly orders of magnitude less than ACBL's total of board sets) have vulnerability inserts. My club's budget has orders of magnitude less income than ACBL's NABC budgets.

Bud Hinckley

This was about three to four years ago and without vulnerability inserts, only the single label sticker which has red or green background for the compass directions is the only way to check vulnerability - from the sticker alone. At that time, they were the New Generation boards.

I also agree with the comments about the cards being a bit “loose” in the New Generation boards. I have seen cards fall out if not kept upright.

Bud Hinckley

Kevin, when playing in the final day of the Life Master Pairs, spending mental energy trying to figure out the vulnerability of a high numbered board is quite annoying.

I was very willing to cough up an extra dollar or two for entry fees to have those vulnerability inserts!

Jeff Goldsmith

Vulnerability inserts are $16 for a set of 36 boards. Retail. I suspect the ACBL can do a lot better than that.


Laws of Duplicate Bridge

Law 2 clearly states the dealer and vulnerability on each board, and concludes "No board that fails to conform to these conditions shall be used.  If such a board is used, however, the conditions marked on it apply for that session."

Gray Area?

What if the box or strip atop the board indicates the correct vulnerability for each hand for that board, but one or more pockets in the board are missing vulnerability inserts which, if present, would further aid the player in determining vulnerability?  Is this a conforming board according to Law 2?  Easy answer:  It is a conforming board if ACBL says it is.


Common-sense(?) questions:

Which is better, a board set with NO vulnerability inserts, or one with all vulnerability inserts present in appropriate pockets of each board? 

Which is better, a board set with NO vulnerability inserts, or one with most vulnerability inserts present, but a few missing? (By ACBL's not-yet-promulgated definition, the box or strip atop each board is correct which makes even a board missing one or more expected vulnerability inserts a conforming board for Law 2 purposes). 


How does ACBL avoid issues of missing vulnerability inserts?

NOW:  provide none for newer board sets, so all are missing



  • acquire and install the best available vulnerability inserts in ALL board sets to be used at NABC's.
  • inspect to be sure that these are present each time the board is emptied of cards (e.g. when being prepared to receive a pre-dealt hand from a dealing machine or when old decks are being replaced with new decks), correct if missing at this time
  • have spare vulnerability inserts available in the playing area so that if a player discovers a board pocket missing an insert, this can be corrected immediately, starting with a "Caddy/Director, please!" call.


Comments invited:

What's the common method of indicating vulnerability on duplicate boards in other duplicate competitions where you have played recently? (NBO's, EBU/other Zonal competitions, WBF, your local club game/Sectional/Regional)

If you are responsible for duplicate boards anywhere, what importance do you place on vulnerability inserts?

If you have installed vulnerability inserts in board sets, have you had any problem with them falling out/going missing? 


 Finally, the poll!

 Should all ACBL duplicate boards used at NABCs have vulnerability inserts placed in the board pockets?

YES, and I do play at NABCs
NO, and I do play at NABCs
YES, but I never play at NABCs
NO, but I never play at NABCs

Sorry, to answer polls. Registered users can vote in polls, and can also browse other users' public votes! and participate in the discussion.

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