As of May 2022, here are the game types that you may encounter at tournaments sponsored by Unit 361, and the point colors that can be earned. Please note that the final word on all of these can be found on the ACBL website.

Point color

Gold points are awarded for overall positions and for section firsts in all two-session regional-rated events with an upper limit of at least 750 masterpoints at NABCs and regional tournaments.

Red points are awarded for all events at a regional tournament when the masterpoints are not gold.

Silver points are awarded in open sectional tournaments, including progressive sectionals and StaCs (Sectional Tournaments at Clubs).

Black points are awarded in club games, in all unit events, and in all other levels of tournament competition except those in which gold, red, or silver points are awarded.


In a pairs game, you and your partner play together throughout the event against a series of opponents. Your “real” opponents, however, are sitting in your direction. They are the players who hold the same cards as you and whose results you are trying to beat. Your bridge scores are compared with the bridge scores of those other pairs and your total matchpoint score is determined by adding together the matchpoints you earn on each deal.

Pro/Am game

This pairs game at the Rocky Mountain Regional is limited to amateur players with between 5 – 299.9 masterpoints and pros. The pros generally have 1500 or more masterpoints, but some exceptions may be made. Players must sign up for this game prior to the deadline listed on the schedule. Anyone interested in participating can contact [email protected].

IN (Intermediate/Novice) pairs

The IN games are for players with 0–299 masterpoints. The games will be stratified based on the director’s decision. Some options are 0–20, 0–49, 0–99, 0–199 and 0–299. No player who has over 299 masterpoints may play in these events.

Stratified pairs

This type of game is different from most others because it produces more than one set of winners. The field is divided into two or three strata, each with a predetermined maximum and minimum masterpoint limitation. The tournament directors attempt to seed the field in such a manner that approximately equal numbers of players from each stratum are competing in each direction. During the course of the event, pairs from each stratum play pairs from all other strata. The stratum in which a pair plays is determined by the member of the pair who has the most masterpoints. Unlike flighted events, pairs do not have a choice of strata — they are automatically placed in the lowest stratum for which they are eligible. The game is run like an ordinary Open Pairs, although the field is carefully seeded so that each Strat A pair plays against all Strat A pairs in the section in which they are competing.

All pairs in the event are ranked when computing the overalls in the top stratum. The pairs in the top stratum are then eliminated, and a second set of rankings is determined for the pairs remaining. Next, the pairs in the second stratum are eliminated, and a third ranking is done for the third stratum. Masterpoints are awarded for all three strata. Flight A pairs can place only in Flight A. Pairs in a lower flight can place in their own flight or any flight above them (e.g., a Flight B pair might place first in Flight B and fifth in Flight A). They do not win cumulative masterpoints – they win whichever masterpoint award is greater.

Flighted pairs

When flighting is used, the field is divided by expertise or experience or both into separate competitions. Flight A — unlimited masterpoints — is open to all players regardless of their masterpoint holdings. Any pair can choose to play in this flight. The remaining flights — usually Flight B and Flight C — are limited to players with a certain number of masterpoints. For example, Flight B might be 0–750 MPs or 0–1500 MPs while Flight C might be limited to players with 0–300 or 0–500 masterpoints. Each flight is scored individually, and masterpoints are awarded separately for each flight. The masterpoint holdings of the players determine their flight. If one player is an expert and that player’s partner is new to the game, the pair must compete in Flight A. In flighted events, a pair may play up but not down. That means that a Flight C player could choose to participate in Flight A or Flight B even if that pair’s masterpoint holding qualifies it for Flight C. Conversely, a pair may not play in Flight B or Flight C if its masterpoints qualify the pair for Flight A.

Strati-flighted pairs

In a strati-flighted pairs game, the top group of masterpoint holders plays in a game of their own — Flight A. The rest of the field is divided into strata (e.g., Strat B, Strat C, and Strat D). These pairs play in the same manner as they would in a regular stratified pairs game.

Side game series pairs

This is a series of one-session games open to all players. Participants may enter as many sessions as they wish and play with the same or different partners. Overall ranking is done on an individual basis by computing the sum of each player’s games. Often, the one or two lowest-scoring games are omitted. At NABCs and regionals, gold points are awarded to section-top-placing players who have competed in at least two sessions of this event. Each session of a Side Game Series Pairs is also scored as a one-session stratified pairs game.

Swiss teams

Teams (of four, five or six players — with only four playing at a time) play other teams in seven-, eight- or nine-board matches. (Single-session Swiss events may have only four boards per match). For example, Team A sits North–South at Table 1 and East–West at Table 2, while Team B sits North–South at Table 2 and East–West at Table 1. The results are compared and scored by IMPs, which are then converted to Victory Points. Pairings for the first round are random. Pairings for succeeding rounds are determined by a team’s win-loss record or Victory Point total. As with pair games, Swiss team games may be flighted, strati-flighted or stratified.

If there is an odd number of teams in the session, a round-robin match may be set up. In a round-robin Swiss match, three teams play each other over the course of two rounds. See the example in the table below. The boards are not redealt until the round robin is complete, that is, they have been played at both tables. Each team reports its score against both other teams.

Example: Round-robin Swiss match
Team/PairRound 1Round 2
Team A North-SouthTeam B East-West Boards 1–8Team C East-West Boards 9–16
Team A East-WestTeam C North-South Boards 9–16Team B North-South Boards 1–8
Team B North-SouthTeam C East-West Boards 17–24Team A East-West Boards 1–8
Team B East-WestTeam A North-South Boards 1–8Team C North-South Boards 17–24
Team C North-SouthTeam A East-West Boards 9–16Team B East-West Boards 17–24
Team C East-WestTeam B North-South Boards 17–24Team A North-South Boards 9–16

Knockout teams

A team of four to six players (with four playing at a time) plays another team. Usually, the team plays one other team in a session, which usually consists of twenty-four boards. The results are compared and scored by International Matchpoints (IMPs). The losers are eliminated or “knocked out” while the winners play other winners until only one winning team remains. The length of a KO match may vary from a single session to a full day to a multi-day event.

If there are more than four players on the team, each player must play a certain percentage of the boards to receive any overall awards.

If required by the number of teams in the session, one or more round-robin matches may be set up. In these matches, three teams play each other. Usually, each team plays six boards against each other team (twelve boards total), then half-time scores are calculated, the boards are redealt, and the second set of boards is played using the same rotation as before. See the example in the table below. All scores are added together to determine the winners. Depending on the number of teams in the event, either one team or two teams advance to the next session.

Example: Round-robin knockout session
Team/PairFirst half, first six boardsFirst half, second six boards
Team A North-SouthTeam B East-West Boards 1–6Team C East-West Boards 7–12
Team A East-WestTeam C North-South Boards 7–12Team B North-South Boards 1–6
Team B North-SouthTeam C East-West Boards 13–18Team A East-West Boards 1–6
Team B East-WestTeam A North-South Boards 1–6Team C North-South Boards 13–18
Team C North-SouthTeam A East-West Boards 7–12Team B East-West Boards 13–18
Team C East-WestTeam B North-South Boards 13–18Team A North-South Boards 7–12

Many knockout events are “bracketed.” The teams are divided into groups — usually of 8, 16, or 32 teams — based on their average masterpoint holdings. Each team competes with other teams in its bracket, and masterpoints are awarded for winners in each bracket.

Compact knockout teams

This is a shorter version of KO Teams and is limited to teams of four players. Usually, a team plays against two other teams in a session.

Bracketed teams

Teams are grouped into brackets based on average masterpoints. There are usually eight or nine teams in each bracket. A team plays every other team in its bracket. Masterpoints are awarded for winners in each bracket.

Soloway Knockout team game

This is a team event in which one or more Swiss or round-robin sessions are played and the top number of teams from the first day qualify to participate in a Knockout Team game the next day.

Board-a-Match teams

This is a method of playing multiple team matches in which each team plays against a variety of opponents in a Mitchell-like movement. The movement is arranged so that if the North–South pair of Team 1 plays a board against the East–West pair of Team 3, Team 1’s East–West pair will play the same board against Team 3’s North–South pair. Each deal has a top of exactly one matchpoint. The only possible scores are 1, ½, and 0 (win, tie, loss).