Master Points and Licensing

The English Bridge Union Master Points Scheme came into operation in September 1956 and it has been very popular with the players. Clubs have also appreciated the value of the scheme with its unique incentives in helping to promote and retain club membership. You can read about its origins here (part 1; part 2).

Any player can obtain points from success in duplicate bridge competition, on a scale which varies according to the success itself, the size of the competition and its status. About the top one-third of players in a competition will be entitled to Master Points. The register of Master Points is kept at the offices of the English Bridge Union. Only members of the EBU may register their points and have their records maintained. A lapsed member may have valid Master Points registered on renewal of membership of the EBU.

Members may see their record via the EBU website members area, using their membership number and password.

Lists of promotions between Master Point ranks are published and county ranking lists are made available to all members. Rank and category prizes are awarded every year based upon the total number of Master Points earned during the competition year, which runs from 1 January to 31 December.

Star Grand Masters

New in July 2017. The ranks of 1, 2, 3, and 4 Star Grand Masters have been introduced to bridge the gap between the existing ranks of Grand Master and Premier Grand Master.

It was recognised that whilst the requirements for these ranks are appropriate - 120,000 Master Points including 600 Green Points, and 1,500 Green Points respectively - the gap was too wide without there being interim levels which members could achieve as they strive to reach the highest rank. The concept of Star Grand Master was therefore introduce, with each additional 200 Green Points earning the member an additional star: i.e. 120,000 Master Points including 600 Green Points = Grand Master; 120,000 Master Points including 800 Green Points = 1 Star Grand Master; etc.

Promotions

Landmark promotions in the Master Point scheme are printed in every second issue of English Bridge, and a list of all promotions (sorted by county) can be seen on our website with a new list posted every month.

Four Landmark promotions

These are Master, Regional Master, Life Master and Grand Master. Promotions will be processed three times a year in line with English Bridge issues: April, August and December. The landmark promotions will be recorded in these issues of English Bridge. Members who have achieved one of the landmark promotions will receive a congratulation letter from the EBU Chairman, certificate of rank attained and a gift by post. Those achieving a landmark promotion to the rank of Master are entitled to free entry to the Masters Pairs or Ranked Masters Pairs (subject to space availability) - this may be used in the competition immediately following notification of their promotion, or deferred for one year (i.e. those notified in April 2016 can reclaim their free entry in the event in spring 2017 or spring 2018). Members achieving one of the other landmark promotions after 1st July 2016 will no longer receive a free entry to the Ranked Masters Pairs

All other promotions

We now only print some promotions in the magazine. Promotions are published instead on the EBU website, and members can see their Master Point history in My EBU, the Member’s personal area of the website.

The current Master Points scheme

We no longer send Master Points statements to our members and have discontinued the old reward system of pens and certificates. Members can view their record on line in the members personal area. A new system of annual prizes, explained below, has been introduced.

Master Points from other countries

We accept Master Points from the following countries: Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and Australia. We do not accept Master Points from any other countries, as typically systems are not comparable to the EBU's.

The End of Year Annual Competition

This runs from January 1st to December 31st each year and all EBU members with a visible master point record are included. In addition to the main prizes, there is a club award that is awarded to three club champions drawn at random, as detailed below. We will publish the ranking lists on the EBU website and we will inform the Counties and Clubs when they are available to view.

The National Awards are based on black, blue and green points won in the year, and then broken down into three categories:

Category 1 - Life Masters and above
Category 2 – National & Premier National Masters
Category 3 – Regional and Premier Regional

The "Sunday Telegraph" Salver and free entry to the Spring Bank Holiday Congress – will be presented to the player who has won the most points in the competition year.
The County Awards are based on black, blue and green points won in the year and then broken down into three categories:

Category 4 - Star, Tournament and Premier Masters
Category 5 - County Masters, Masters, Advanced Masters
Category 6 - Unranked, Local, Club, Area, District Masters

The top player in each category in each county will receive a cash prize. This will be credited against the member's account.

The Club Awards are based on black points won solely in a club’s own events. The player in each club who has won the most black points in that club’s events will be published on the EBU website and entered into an Annual Prize Draw, 1st prize £400, 2nd prize £200, 3rd prize £100.

70% rule for the issuing of Master Points

From 1st January 2016, for a session to be eligible for the award of Master Points, it is necessary for each pair to be scheduled to play 70% or more of the boards which are in use.

This only affects whether a session is eligible for Master Points - the session will still earn Magazine Points and contribute to the NGS as well as being liable for Universal Membership Subscription (UMS, formerly P2P) regardless of whether it complies with the regulation.

The regulation is only relevant to pairs sessions - teams competitions are not affected.

This regulation replaces the '75% rule' which was announced in 2014, but the implementation of which was deferred.

Please see here for more information - https://www.ebu.co.uk/70-per-cent-rule

Gold Points

Gold Points are awarded for any performance, in a single EBU event, plus the BGB Gold Cup, which earns 5 Green Points or more. Gold Points are expressed to two decimal places, and devalue at the rate of 20% of their original value per annum. Gold Points are not used in determining a player’s Master Points rank but are an indicator of current form, and of performance at a high level.

An update for 2016

At a recent EBU board meeting a decision was made that Gold Points would only be awarded and recognised where National Master Points (Green Points) were given in EBU events as and from 1st August 2016.

This will mean that any EBU members playing in Welsh or Scottish events will have any local or national master points registered to their record exactly as at present but will no longer have Green Points converted to Gold Points where they earn five or more Green Points as at present. Any members from Scotland or Wales who are also members of the EBU will only have Gold Points earned in English events credited to their EBU record. The BGB Gold Cup is unaffected by these changes.

Master Point and Licensing Handbook

The Master Point and Licensing Handbook is available here.

The updates to the Handbook for 2016 are summarised here.

The document:

  • outlines the different types of organisations that can run Master Points award events.
  • determines what type of Master Points and at what scale an organisation can award them for each event it runs.
  • states the different types of event an organisation can run
  • states how many events an organisation can run to include entries from non- members or
    unaffiliated clubs.
  • sets out the type of events that require a licence.

Licensing

Information on licensing is available here.