Any number of teams may play in board-a-match events. While board-a-match games are better suited for single-session events, clubs may use them for two-session club championships.

The term board-a-match refers to a method of scoring. However, through common usage board-a-match has come to refer to the movement used. The overall winner in a board-a-match contest is the team that wins the most matches in which each board played is a match, with one matchpoint available on each board. Ideally, each team should play against all the other teams. Thus, the number of boards played in each round is determined by the number of teams in the event.

The usual board-a-match movement is similar to the Mitchell movement used in pair games. However, there are significant differences because each team has an E/W and a N/S pair. Club directors should become thoroughly familiar with board-a-match movements before undertaking the operation of such games.

The event is structured so that the boards played by the N/S pair of Team 1 versus the E/W pair of Team 2 are subsequently played by the E/W pair of Team 1 versus the N/S pair of Team 2. The team with the best raw score on a board earns one point. On a board in which there is a tie in the raw score, each team earns one half a point. For example, if the N/S pair of a team is +120 on a board and its teammates are -110, the board is scored as a win (1 point) for that team.


The Swiss team game is probably the most popular team event. The Swiss movement may be used in single-session regular masterpoint games or in one or two-session club championships. The term Swiss refers to a type of movement in which contestants with similar records play against each other as the event progresses.

Although clubs may use a Swiss team movement when as few as five teams participate, ACBL recommends a round-robin movement when fewer than eight teams participate.

A Swiss team game may be scored in one of three ways:

1. WIN/LOSS: This scoring method determines the net raw scores of each board and then these scores are converted to International Matchpoints (IMPs), in accordance with the internationally approved conversion scale see Law 78 in “Laws of Duplicate Bridge” or the ACBL Convention Card).

To determine the winner of the match, the IMP results on all boards are added. The team that emerges with a net plus wins the match and is awarded the appropriate masterpoints. A margin of as little as 1 IMP is sufficient for winning the masterpoints for the match. If the net result after adding the IMPs is zero, the match is a tie and the masterpoints for the match are divided equally between the two teams.

A slight variation in the win/loss scoring method considerably reduces the potential for ties. Using this win/loss scoring variation, a team is not credited with a full win unless it wins its match by at least 3 IMPs. A team that wins by 1 or 2 IMPs is credited with 3/4 of a win, with the other 1/4 going to the losing team. Pairings and overall standings are based on this scoring – 1, 3/4, 1/2, 1/4 and 0 per match. However, the winning team gets the full allotment of masterpoints for winning the match, even if it wins by only 1 or 2 IMPs. The losing team receives no masterpoints.

2. VICTORY POINTS (VPS): Victory point scoring uses the net result in IMPs translated to victory points according to a predetermined scale (the two approved scales appear on the ACBL convention card and in the file MPSWISS.)

Victory point scoring has some unusual factors. Teams that lose two matches in win/loss Swiss teams have little chance of placing overall; teams that lose two matches in VP Swisses still have a chance to win the event. The team that has the best win/loss record in win/loss Swisses is the winner; the team with the best win/loss record in VP Swiss teams is not necessarily the winner – it is not even guaranteed a place in the overall standings. This is possible in a situation where the team with the best win/loss record wins its matches by small margins and thereby earns fewer victory points than another team that wins its matches by wide margins and earns lots of victory points.

Pairings for the first round should be random irrespective of the scoring method used. In subsequent rounds pairing should be done in such a way that teams with similar records play each other, always taking into consideration that teams may not compete against teams they have played in an earlier round.

Using victory points, first-round pairings still are random. However, pairings for subsequent rounds are based on the victory point holdings of the teams, not on their win/loss record. The team with the net plus in IMPs still is the winner of the masterpoints for each match. However, overall standings are based on total victory points, not wins and losses.

3. BOARD-A-MATCH (BAM): Board-a-match scoring compares the net raw score on each board and gives a win, tie (identical scores), or a loss for each one. These scores are accumulated with the winner of each match receiving the match masterpoint awards, and the overall winner is the team with the most points. This method of scoring is rarely used, since it resembles a matchpoint pair event but requires the formation of a team.


Round-robin events are especially suitable for a small number of teams (as few as three) and for contests that may run over several sessions. In a complete round-robin each team plays against all other teams entered in the event.

To qualify for overall awards, each team must play against at least 75% of the other teams in the event. If the event runs for more than three sessions, the club uses the appropriate multiplier. See File MPSWISS. If all teams entered in the contest play simultaneously, each such period (as in a pair game) is a session. There can be no more than one session of play during a given time period (morning, afternoon or evening).

A club may allow two teams to play their match at a time convenient to both if the club is sanctioned to hold a game at that time. In such cases, a session is based on the number of matches a typical team plays. For example, a club has a round-robin event in which each team is scheduled to play a 28-board match against all other teams in the contest. Ten teams enter. The club has ruled that all first-round matches must be completed by April 1, second-round matches by April 15, and so forth. The captains of the opposing teams may arrange to play their matches at convenient times sanctioned by the club. Since each team will play nine matches, although all teams may not be playing at the same time, this is considered a nine-session event. Thus overall awards are based on the six-session point award charts. Many clubs find it convenient to conduct this type of event simultaneously with their regular weekly games. There are some patrons of almost every club who prefer team play to the more usual pairs competitions. By scheduling round-robins to run along with their regular games, clubs can provide varied programs for their clientele.

Any scoring method discussed for Swiss teams may be used to score and determine overall winners in a round-robin team event. ACBL recommends the use of IMPs, with or without victory points. The method the club uses for determining the overall winner must be the same as that which it uses to decide the winner of each individual match. The club reports these points along with all others earned on the Club Masterpoint Report.


A knockout event consists of a series of matches in which the winners advance and the losers are eliminated. This progression continues until only one team remains-the winner.

This type of competition works best when the original entry is a power of two-2, 4, 8, 16, 32, etc. Such fields permit all head-to-head matches between two teams-the best kind of match possible. However, any number of teams can be accommodated through the use of three-way matches. (At one time a system of byes was used to reduce the field to a power of two, but this method is rarely used today.)

Three-way matches can be utilized in either of two ways-either two teams advance and one is eliminated or one team advances and two are eliminated. Consider an original entry of 18 teams where it is desired to reduce the field to eight teams for the next session. Six head-to-head matches would be set up, each producing one team for the next session. In addition there would be two three-way matches, with only the winner to advance. The two survivors plus the six victors in head-to-head competition provide eight teams for the next session.

Now consider an original entry of 14 teams where it is desired to reduce the field to eight teams. Four head-to-head matches would be set up, each producing one winner. In addition there would be two three-way matches, each of which would produce two winners. Once again this produces an eight-team field for the next session.

Since a team is out of the event when it loses a match, the number of boards per match should require approximately the same time for play as a regular club session. ACBL recommends the use of IMP scoring. However, the club may use total points (raw score not converted to IMPs).

The club bases masterpoint awards for knockout events on the number of teams entered in the event, the class of the game, and the number of boards played.


MATCH AWARDS: In an event in which a team plays at least five boards against another team, the winner receives awards that are based on the number of boards played in the match and the level of play (open, invitational, newcomer). The point value of the awards is shown on the Masterpoint Award Charts.

OVERALL AWARDS: Overall awards for Swiss team games are the same as for pair games. For board-a-match teams the awards are 1.10 of a pair game. Awards for knockout and round-robin teams are shown on the Masterpoint Award Charts. Players eligible to receive overall masterpoint awards are entitled to the sum of their match awards or the overall award, whichever is greater, but not both.

In events of one or two sessions, eligible players of five or six member teams each receive awards based on percentage of participation. In events of three or more sessions, all eligible team members receive full awards.


Complete conditions of contest should be prepared for all team events. For extended (three or more sessions) round-robin and knockout events, the club should submit the conditions of contest to ACBL for approval at least 45 days before play begins. Once ACBL approves the conditions of contest, the club may use the same conditions of contest for subsequent events of the same type without further approval.

The conditions of contest must include but are not limited to the following:

• In a one-session event with a board-a-match-type movement, there must be four members on a team. In other approved team events, the sponsoring clubs may allow as many as six members on a team.

• ACBL recommends that sponsoring clubs permit teams to have four, five, or six members.

• Each team member must play at least 40% of the boards and participate in at least 50% of the matches played by the team to be eligible for overall masterpoint awards.

• A substitute may not be a member of another team.

• A player may be a member of only one team in an event.