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A slightly different approach then an amateur event.

Building on Steve Moese's idea about an amateur event, how about considering the approach of another sport, horse racing? In one class of horse racing, allowance races (think regionals in terms of bridge), competition is  balanced based on the number of allowance races a horse has won. A horse that has won three allowance races would not be eligible for a non-winners of one, or a non-winners of three, but only a non-winners of four or higher class race. Horses with fewer wins are allowed to race up in competition, recognizing of course that the competition is tougher, but the prestige (and in horseracing think money) is greater.

Wins in the lower and less prestigious category of racing, claiming races (think sectionals and club games), are not considered if a horse decides to take a shot at competing in the higher allowance racing category. So a horse could have six or 10 wins in the lower claiming category, and still compete for a non-winners of one allowance race.

Note that good young horses might progress through their “allowance conditions” much more quickly than some other horses who may take many races, if ever, to win an allowance race. And horses who run out of allowance conditions, or are good enough to skip them, canmove on to the top tier of racing, stakes races, like the Kentucky derby or Breeders' Cup (think NABC's).

You could have conditions for bridge, for example, “never won an NABC event”, or never won 10 NABC events. Yes, the prestige would clearly be less than winning an open (stakes race) event, but the excitement for the winner would be just as high . Master point limits aren't as effective at balancing competitive ability, since they are often based on longevity and frequency rather than accomplishment.   Nor would  age be a criteria in these conditions events. Plus the qualification criteria, event wins,  is readily measurable, and would most likely reduce drastically the number of pros in any given conditioned event.

You could even extend this concept down to the regional events. How thrilling would it be at each regional to have an event for folks who have never won a regional event, competing against equally accomplished players, and now having a real opportunity to win their first regional event. Maybe some regionals would have instead a non-winners of three event, or other regionals maybe a non-winners of five event. Winning that non-winners of five regional event would be quite an accomplishment, considering it should be filled with many other four-time regional winners, as well as perhaps players who had never one any regional but are taking a shot against tougher competition. A much clearer measure of accomplishment than master points, and at the same time a way to restrict competition to players of comparable capability.[Reply to this comment]20 minutes agoraces

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