Avon County recently held a one-off Pairs event and, as an experiment, decided to handicap participating players using the National Grading System (NGS).
The ScoreBridge program allows you to use a handicap file for players so that a handicapped result can be generated. This handicap file contains a player's "average" percentage - which is what an NGS percentage is. Pop this percentage into the handicap file and ScoreBridge calculates a player's handicap by subtracting 50 from this value.
So if a player has an "NGS" percentage of 52.35 then their handicap will be 2.35. The combined handicap for a pair is simply calculated as the two individual amounts added together and divided by 2.
For example, if one player in the partnership has a handicap of 2.35 and the other has a handicap of 3.85 then the combined handicap would be 6.2 divided by 2 = 3.1 so their raw score would be reduced by 3.1%.
Conversely, of course, if players have a negative handicap, because their NGS rating is below 50 then their handicapped score will be higher than their raw score.
Creating the handicap file was done manually; i.e. looking up the players NGS rating and adding their percentages to the handicap file, but this was the only time-consuming part of the operation and it may well be possible to automate this part of the process in future.
The event was well received by the participants (as evidenced by a quick straw poll after the event), particularly amongst the lower ranked players as they felt it gave them a better chance to do well, which, of course, is the general idea.
If your club would like to have a go at running a similar event and feels they need some support and advice to do so, please do not hesitate to get in touch with your Club Liaison Officer at Andrew@ebu.co.uk