Competitions for Clubs

Competitions that are particularly suitable for the club player, either with heats held in the comfort of your own club, or run as knockout competitions held in players’ homes:

Competitions for the club player


The National Inter-Club Knock-Out competition, affectionately known as the NICKO, is the premier and most popular event for club teams in England. It is open to teams-of-four from all EBU-affiliated clubs. Matches are mostly played in people's homes, and it is usual for the home team to provide refreshments thereby creating a sociable atmosphere. The early rounds are of 24 boards and are regionalised so that teams don't have too far to travel. Every team that enters is guaranteed at least two games since losing the first match qualifies the team for the parallel competition for the NICKO plate. Green points are awarded for all matches won. Why not enter one or more teams from your club? There is no limit to the number of teams from any one club, but all teams must consist of bona fide club members.


National Pairs

The National Pairs is held in a three-stage format, at local, regional, and national levels. All EBU-affiliated club sessions of 18 boards or more that are submitted under code 10 or code 12 between set dates in February will county as local heats. Pairs who score over 55% in these club games will qualify for the regional finals. Pairs games that are scored in IMPs will also count, subject to conversion using the same principles as used by the NGS.

There will be five regional finals run by counties at the end of March, with two online platforms (BBO and RealBridge) for each. Players may qualify from any club in the country but at least one player from each pair must have allegiance to a county of the region in which they play the regional final.

The results within the regions will be used to award the five regional trophies. All five regions will also be combined and scored nationally to determine the top 50 pairs, who will be entitled to play the National Pairs Final in April.

The event is also part of the Championship Series, in which points can be earned towards the Player of the Year Championship


Simultaneous Pairs

The principle behind Simultaneous Pairs is very simple. In the same way that a club organises a duplicate such that all the pairs play the same boards, so that their results can be compared, in a Sim Pairs other clubs around the country are also playing the same boards as your club, so that a national result ranking can be determined according to who plays the hands best. The players who do very well will, of course, win far more master points than usual, because they will have done better than many more other pairs. A major attraction is the fact that Sims always have a commentary provided by a well-known expert, so that your pairs can see whether the expert was right, or perhaps learn something from the wise words. The results are published on the Internet as they come in from clubs, and this adds a measure of excitement with players seeing their results change as the number of comparison scores increases. If your club hasn’t tried sim pairs before, why not give it a go?

Booking is online through the club’s member area on the EBU website.


Stratified Simultaneous Pairs

Stratified Sim Pairs are a new type of club competition which gives pairs of all abilities the chance to succeed at national level. Even if a pair never manages to come in the top half of your usual duplicate, they still may excel in their ‘strat’ (category) in this event and come near the top nationally to win a good number of master points. The EBU holds separate Stratified Sims with different hands and ranking lists on each day for several days, so a club can participate on more than one day. There is no extra work for the club since the EBU carries out the stratification.

As usual for Simultaneous Pairs, there are enhanced master point awards. In addition, national ranking lists and master points are produced each day in each of several categories, e.g.

  1. Overall
  2. For pairs both members of which are below the rank of Tournament Master.
  3. For pairs both members of which are below the rank of Star Master.
  4. For pairs both members of which are below the rank of District Master.

Pairs who feature in the master point awards in two or more of these categories receive the highest of the awards available to them. Hand records and commentaries specially written with the club player in mind are available online, so that your members can study them afterwards.


Booking and Further Information

Bookings can be made online. Check the Competitions section of the EBU website for this and up-to-date details of the various competitions including dates and venues. Enquiries for the various events should be addressed to our Competitions Department at or by phone on 01296 317 203/219.


Other Events

The above are the main events where heats are played at clubs, but there are many other events suitable for players of all levels held both locally and nationally. These are often sociable, good fun and good mental exercise! More type of events and competitions can be found in our Club handbook.