Roles and Responsibilities of Tournament Sponsors and DICs 

This is a list of areas requiring pre-discussion between a DIC and a sponsor. When the DIC and sponsor are new to each other, these topics should be covered before the tournament in order to ensure a smooth and cohesive operation. Over time, the sponsor preferences become known to the DIC and little or no discussion is necessary.

While the final option on many of these decisions rests with the sponsor, the sponsor should recognize the professional expertise of the DIC and make all efforts to reach a collaborative conclusion.

In unusual or unexpected circumstances (e.g. fire, power failure, impending severe weather, etc.) the DIC is responsible for making decisions in everyone’s best interest.

Pair Game Type Movements (individual, pairs and BAM): 

Number of boards played (number of rounds is a function of section size). Typically 24 to 27 in open games, 24 in gold rush games and 24 maximum in I/N games. 

Sponsor’s preference of 24 or 26/27 should be determined in general, not session-by-session.

Type of movement

The environment in which our games begin requires that movement decisions be made by the DIC.

If the sponsor has specific suggestions in this regard, the sponsor should discuss this with the DIC in advance.

Combined scoring 

Typically sections are combined for scoring and ranking in open and flight A(X) and B/C events.

Not combined in gold rush and I/N events.

Side games vary by circumstance.

As with type of movement, this is usually left to the DIC with sponsor input welcome.

Time per round 

Typically the time allowed for pair games is 15 minutes for two-board rounds and 21 minutes for three-board rounds.

Sponsors wishing to deviate from these suggestions should consult with the DIC prior to the tournament.

Swiss and Round Robin Team Games:

Number of rounds and number of boards per round

For two session events, common choices range between 48 and 56 boards. Top flights often play more boards per round than concurrent lower flights (seven rounds of eight and seven rounds of seven). When a small event and a larger event share close quarters, they often both play six rounds of nine (or six rounds of eight instead of 7 x 7).

Round robin or Swiss, day of the week, getaway day, length of break, player desires and other factors need be considered.

One session (side games) are four rounds of six. The starting time of the next session is one of the determining factors for the number of boards played.

The option, provided the subject has been discussed in advance, rests with the sponsor.

Time per round

A set amount of time in which to play, compare and report has become the norm. The typical time allotted is eight minutes per board; this includes playing the boards, comparing scores and turning in the results. Often an additional minute or two needs to be given to inexperienced groups and a minute or two less when the sponsor has requested an early departure. Sponsors wishing to deviate from these suggestions should consult with the DIC prior to the tournament.

When (and if) to break (length)

Sponsor option.

VP scale (20 or 30)

Typically included in advertising.

Sponsor option. Substantial departure from past practice must be discussed with the DIC in advance.


Complete (and almost complete) round robins are paired entirely in advance. Swiss events typically are random in round one and paired by Swiss team rules thereafter. The TD, based on game size and other considerations, sets various parameters of loose or tight pairing in ACBLscore.


Brackets are typically determined by the TD when entries close. In an open event, the top bracket is typically played as a Swiss and is sometimes sold as open to any team. 

Knockout Events: 

Number of boards

Typically, KOs play 24 boards per match. Flight A KOs (rare) sometimes play 28. Compact Kos are 24 boards. Morning sessions are 24 boards (or fewer).


Sponsor option. ACBL requires that advertising note whether the tournament will, may or will not handicap. Sponsor and DIC should discuss exact details in advance.


Typically not permitted but a sponsor may opt (in advance) to allow or to allow after an intervening match.

Bracketing (including where to break and three sessions) 

Sponsor option. Large KOs rarely pose problems in bracketing. In relatively small events, when entries close, the TD must make brackets that will displease the fewest contestants. Sometimes one or two three-session brackets is the best solution. The sponsor should make desires, if any, known to the DIC in advance.

Additional Sponsoring Organization Responsibilities 

Conventions permitted

The sponsor decides whether conventions from the Mid-Chart (or in rare situations from the SuperChart) will be permitted. ACBL rules pertaining to publication of conventions permitted must be followed.

Electronic scoring

The sponsor arranges for electronic scoring devices, if desired, in advance. Some sponsors own them, others rent them from various sources. The DIC must know in advance what, if any, those arrangements are and if a sufficient quantity will be on hand. Financial details need be agreed upon in advance if directors are involved in the rental process.

Hand records

Electronic sets (purchased from ACBL) are provided by the DIC. Typically the DIC arranges for copies to be printed for after-game distribution. If boards are not pre-duplicated the DIC arranges for necessary hand records to be printed. The sponsor pays all costs.

Masterpoint Averaging

Sponsor option. Masterpoint averaging, if used, must be noted in the tournament advertising.

Number of breaks

Sponsor option. Typically zero, one or two hospitality breaks. Number and/or length of breaks is often determined by distance to and number of facilities.

Pre-duplicated boards

The sponsor may arrange to have boards pre-duplicated. The DIC must approve the security and reliability of the arrangements and supplies the ACBL pre-dealt hands.


The sponsor may provide a person to assist the selling director with seeding or leave it to the director to seed the players.