Does your club have a wide range of abilities, from beginners to Grand Masters? Do the relative beginners seldom earn Master Points? Would you like to give them a better chance to do so?

One option, if you are lucky enough to have a large enough club, would be to run separate sections for your more ambitious players and your lower-ranked players, and to issue Master Points separately in each section. However, because the sections are smaller, fewer points overall would be issued.

In the New Year, the EBU will be introducing the option for clubs to issue ‘Stratified’ Master Points. This allows for players of all ranks to compete in a single section, but for points to be awarded to leading pairs in different categories (based on Master Point ranks), as if they had been competing in a section by themselves.

Clubs can divide their players into up to four categories, based on Master Point Ranks of the club’s own choosing. For example, they might choose the following categories:

  1. players ranked National Master and above
  2. players ranked at least Tournament Master, but below the rank of National Master
  3. players ranked at least Master, but below Tournament Master
  4. players ranked below Master

For each session, an overall ranking list is produced, and Master Points awarded to the top third of the field as normal (although at a very slightly lower scale).

An additional ranking list is produced excluding all the ‘A’ category pairs (i.e. including pairs in all three categories B, C & D), and again points are awarded to the top third, at a slightly lower rate again. Similarly ranking lists are produced for C & D combined, and for category D alone.

Thus a lower-ranked pair competes not only in their own category, but also in all categories above it. (We could re-define category A as being ‘all ranks’, category B as ‘all players below National Master’, etc.) If a pair of beginners has an exceptional day and beats all the Grand Masters, then they will earn the points due to them for winning the whole event. On a ‘normal’ day, when they don’t do so well overall but, nevertheless, are amongst the better pairs within the lower category, they could still get some points. However, points are not cumulative within a session — if they do well, they will get the points due from whichever category gives them the highest award, not the sum of all the points due from each category.

More details will be available in the new year.