General Competition Rules

Competitions Secretary
  1. The Competitions Secretary's decision is final in interpreting or varying these rules where they do not explicitly specify a course of action.
  2. The Competitions Secretary may vary the calendar and, in exceptional circumstances, cancel events. If entries have already been taken they shall be refunded in full.
  3. The Competitions Secretary is responsible for liaising with clubs involved with the running of SCBA events. Terms of reference for both parties are separately documented.
  4. The Competitions Secretary is responsible for ensuring, though not necessarily effecting, the submission of onward data to the EBU.
  5. The Competitions Secretary is final arbiter of disputes other than those which are the purview of directors and appeal committees. A designated committee member overseeing a competition arbitrates but the Competitions Secretary may overrule.
  6. Any member may apply to the Competitions Secretary for clarification and amplification of any rule applicable in the Suffolk Association.


The Competitions Secretary is an officer of the Suffolk Contract Bridge Association appointed by a general meeting. The constitution lists the Competitions Secretary as an officer in 3.1 requiring annual election.

The guidelines for SCBA events hosted by clubs [PDF] are on the website.

In past years the following events have been delegated to other committee members (and so subject to the rider at 1.5 above):

  1. Winter League
  2. Summer League
  3. Championship Pairs
  1. Individuals: all SCBA events are open to Full Members of the association. Additionally, all but a few events – those with the potential for Suffolk representation in national competition – are open to Adopted Members and bona fide members of overseas National Bridge Organisations.
  2. Clubs: SCBA events for clubs are open only to those affiliated to Suffolk. Clubs are free to select representatives subject only that they be club and English Bridge Union members. That includes non-SCBA members even though the club might qualify to represent Suffolk in a national event.
  3. Novices and newcomers: the association may run events for those new to competitive bridge. For these events only participants need not be SCBA or EBU members.
  4. Open events: where the SCBA runs an open event licensed by the EBU, for example the Felixstowe Congress, eligibility is per an EBU national-level event.


The constitution defines:

  1. Membership
    1. All members of the SCBA must be Player Members of the EBU and be fully paid up in respect of subscriptions and all or any other monies due to the SCBA or EBU.
    2. A Player Member of the EBU automatically becomes a Full Member of the SCBA when their primary allegiance to the SCBA is recorded with the EBU, and they are a member of one or more clubs affiliated to the SCBA.
    3. A Player Member of the EBU may become a Full Member of the SCBA when their primary allegiance to the SCBA is recorded with the EBU, even though they are not a member of any clubs affiliated to the SCBA, unless in their discretion the Executive Committee decides otherwise.
    4. A Player Member of the EBU whose primary allegiance is to another Association or does not have primary allegiance to any Association may become an Adopted Member of the SCBA, on request and at the discretion of the Executive Committee.

The Adopted definition is not intended to be onerous: for practical purposes an event organiser need only require from a non SCBA player their EBU Number. It would be further amenable if email or other contact information were also collected to encourage further participation in SCBA events.

As at July-2012, the only events requiring Full Membership are:

  1. Championship Teams of Four (all stages)
  2. Championship Pairs (semi-final & final, excluding club qualification)

Restricted Events: The county has a number of restricted-entry events, Seniors, mixed partnerships etc., and these are open in membership terms but closed in the social sense.


Entries to be made, unless otherwise stated, at least four days prior to the date of the competition, by post, email or telephone, late entries accepted at the discretion of the Competitions Secretary. An entry to a competition is a commitment to pay the competition fee. A refund will be made if an entry is withdrawn at least five days before the date of the competition.


Entry fees to be paid either with entry or on the day; if on the day, please arrive in good time.

Competition start times, unless otherwise stated, will be at 7:00pm to support start of play at 7:15 pm for evening events and 1:00 pm or 2:00 pm for weekend events. Late arrivals will be admitted at the discretion of the Tournament Director.

Rules of Play
  1. All events, including league matches, are subject to the normal rules of duplicate bridge maintained by the EBU.
  2. Only systems and conventions licensed by the EBU may be used and, unless stated otherwise, up to EBU Level 4 conventions are allowed. Players are required to complete system cards.
  3. In team matches played in stanzas cancelled boards (whether as a result of a director's ruling, mis-boarding, etc.) shall be added to the next stanza. Those anomalies that come to light after the start of the final stanza are not replaced.
  4. In the event of a team arriving more than 30 minutes late for the start of play a reduction of the match and award of IMPs to the non-offending side is appropriate. In the event of 90/45 minutes late arrival with/without notification the match shall be forfeit. The Competitions Secretary should be informed during the waiting period.


The reduction of boards and IMPs awarded should be in line with EBU practice. Examples can be found in the regulations for Crockfords Cup etc. Currently after 30 minutes, 2 boards and 3 IMPs and thereafter the same every complete period of 15 minutes. Boards are removed from the first stanza, starting at board one.

Directing and Disputes
  1. The SCBA Chief Tournament Director is responsible for appointing directors for each event.
  2. At events the Tournament Director is responsible for rulings and the conduct of play.
  3. To obtain a ruling of first instance during a match played at home:
    1. Captains may agree upon an outcome.
    2. Before 10pm the Chief TD, will endeavour to give a ruling in the first instance over the telephone.
    3. Should the Chief TD be unreachable, either the League Secretary (if appropriate) or Competitions Secretary will arrange for a director to call back.
    4. If no-one is available teams may consult the EBU panel directors.
    5. In the event of a ruling being unobtainable, the captains are to complete the standard form recording full details of the deal, bidding, systems, conventions, alerts and play and a description of the dispute. Both captains to sign and submit to the Competitions Secretary.
  4. Rulings from both events and matches played privately may be appealed, and a copy of the Appeals Procedure will be supplied on demand. Appeals are normally subject to a financial deposit retained only when the petition is deemed frivolous.


The Chief Tournament Director is appointed annually by the SCBA committee and usually a member of the full committee.

It is advisable to resolve matters that affect the score before commencing the next stanza but delay until a break is not inappropriate.

The EBU directing panel is on the EBU site at

The form for submitting a written request for a ruling [PDF] (for example after hours or the unavailability of a director) can be found on the website (also an editable version [MS Word]). League captains etc. should ensure they have a copy.

Appeals against a director's ruling in the first instance: at a venue-event the director will convene an appeal panel but in matches played privately (e.g. Winter League) use the Appeals Form [PDF] on the website (also an editable version [MS Word]). The EBU offer explanations of rulings and guidance as to an appeal's merits by contacting the Appeals Referees (

  1. A match result is final when the result card is completed and signed by both captains.
  2. Other events are final on distribution of results, unless an objection is lodged within the shortest possible time.
  3. Ties shall be broken only for qualification purposes. Where onward qualification forces tie-breaking, the EBU approved mechanism shall be employed.


The effect of 6.3 is that any ties will therefore stand as ties (trophies and prizes being shared) except where onward qualification is involved. Specifically:

  1. Club Teams-of-Eight – where joint-winners must be split to qualify for the Garden Cities Regional Final.
  2. Championship Pairs – where equal-third-pairs (three equal-seconds etc.) must be split to qualify for the Corwen Trophy.

In head-to-head matches that finish with equal IMPs (Championship Teams semi-final and final, occasional League play-offs) extra boards should be played (currently one-eighth of the full match)

The EBU sanctioned methods of splitting ties is to be found in the White Book (currently section 3.2 – see EBU website).

Master Points Awards
  1. Master points will be awarded at all SCBA events in accordance with the EBU MP Handbook.
  2. For venue-events it is the responsibility of the director on the day to make the appropriate MP awards.
  3. For other competitions, either the committee-member with responsibility for the event (or league etc.) or the Competitions Secretary is responsible for MP awards.
  4. For team-of-four events, up to six players are permitted but Master Points will be awarded only if the player has completed at least one third of the total number of boards.
Suffolk Championship Teams

This event is open only to Full Members of Suffolk and the winners may represent the county in the Pachabo Cup.

There is a qualifying stage and a Plate competition, usually in December. Four qualifying teams enter a knock-out stage of head-to-head matches.

  1. There are two rounds, each a session of multiple teams, held on a single day.
  2. Round One qualifies approximately half the field into Round Two. Those not qualifying contest the Suffolk Plate.
  3. There are no carry-overs of score from Round One into the Plate or into Round Two.
  4. The top four teams from Round Two form the two semi-finals to be played by arrangement. The winning team may select any opponent from the teams finishing second, third or fourth and must exercise that choice within two days.
  5. The higher-placed team in Round Two is at home for the semi-final. The team with the larger winning margin in the semi-final is at home in the final (in the event of equal margins, the higher-ranked team from Round Two).
  6. Each semi-final to be of 32 boards, the final of 40 boards, all matches played in quarters. The allocation of seating-rights shall be in accordance with EBU recommendation.
  7. In the event of knock-out match being tied at normal duration extra boards shall be played (and repeated as necessary). The rule is one eighth of the match-length (therefore four in the semi-final, five in the final). There are no seating rights and the extra boards are played in a single stanza.
  8. In the case of a winning team with more than four members, only those playing more than one third of the boards in each of the semi-final and final shall be credited as Suffolk Champion.


Teams of up to six are allowed. This is free of charge if extra players are added in the knock-out stages but if more than four players are present at the venue event, a pro-rata cost may be charged (to cover catering etc.)

To ensure the proper working of Round Two and the plate, the tournament director has discretion in the qualifying numbers.

In the event of the winners being unavailable, EBU conditions for the Pachabo restrict a representative team to be drawn from the finalists.

Seating rights for matches in quarters: there shall be a toss and the winner may opt to be 'Captain A' or 'Captain B' in the following two-step process.

  1. Captain A selects one stanza in which she will have seating rights (that is, how to place her team's pairs after opponents have nominated their line-up).
  2. Captain B then selects two of the remaining three stanzas in which she will have seating rights. The remaining stanza is then taken by Captain A.
Suffolk Championship Pairs

This event is open only to Full Members of Suffolk and high-finishers may represent the county in the Corwen Trophy.

Players qualify from clubs, each club holding a single heat over a limited period (usually in October). There is a semi-final (February) then a 12-table final (April).

Qualification from the club-stage is subject to the following.

  1. An individual may make only one attempt to qualify. Earlier participation disqualifies both members of a partnership making a later attempt.
  2. At the club-stage, pairs may qualify only at a club where they are both members.
  3. All pairs scoring 50% or more qualify for the semi-final.
  4. Where the session nominated includes a mixture of those trying to qualify and those not, players must be made aware that to make a qualification attempt, they must opt in before play starts.
  5. A club which meets more than once a week may run a heat in each session but item 9.1 continues to apply.
  6. There will be an open heat, usually in January, for those unable to play earlier.
  7. There are no reserves from club qualification.
  8. Although a qualifying attempt from a club does not require Full Member status, players are encouraged to bear in mind that only Full Members may take a place in the semi-final.


There is a dedicated committee-member for this competition who liaises with clubs.

The effect of 9.2, that both players should be bona fide members of the club in which they attempt qualification, is that a pair with no club in common is restricted to the Open Heat as per 9.6. This heat is part of the announced calendar and made known well in advance

The effect of 9.4 is, unless 100% of those playing a club-qualifier are seeking qualification (and, presumably, those wishing to make a future attempt made aware in advance) only 'opt in' arrangements are possible. This is to avoid problems where players making subsequent qualification claim to be unaware of earlier attempts.

There is no charge to clubs for running a heat but entry/table-money is charged at both semi-final and final.

A reserve list may be constructed for those finishing outside the top 24 places in the semi-final.

Winter and Summer Leagues

The Winter League is an open team-of-four competition with matches typically held in a player's home. Teams of up to six may be drawn from eligible players.

The Summer League is an inter-club team-of-eight competition with matches typically played alongside a club evening. There is no limit to the number of players who may represent a club during the season but all players must be bona fide members of that club.

Separate regulations cover both.


There is a dedicated committee-member for both competitions.

The regulations for the Winter League are on the website.

The regulations for the Summer League are on the website.

Suffolk Representation
  1. The winners of the Championship Teams represent Suffolk at the Pachabo Cup.
  2. The top three from the Championship Pairs qualify to represent Suffolk at the Corwen Trophy.
  3. The club winning the Club Teams-of-Eight, the Abbeygate Shield, represent Suffolk in the Garden Cities Trophy.
  4. Any pair, team or club thus qualified subsequently finding themselves unable to compete must notify the Competitions Secretary as soon as possible to afford sufficient time to arrange replacements.
  5. The make-up of teams in the Eastern Counties League and all parts of the Tollemache Cup is the sole remit of the County Captain.


In the event of the winners being unavailable, EBU conditions for the Pachabo restrict a representative team to be drawn from the finalists.

If Suffolk membership passes 1200 an additional pair may be sent to the Corwen.

Pairs for the Corwen may be substituted for those unable to compete on a next-in-line basis; only substitutes who have scored in excess of 50% in the Championship Final are eligible.

For the Garden Cities the winning club may freely select a team from their club-membership.

The County Captain is responsible for sending in ECL results and MP submissions.

Playing Conditions

The SCBA playing conditions are in line with those of the EBU; of particular note:

  1. No animals other than guide dogs may be brought into the playing area.
  2. Competitors at SCBA events are expected to dress properly and appropriately.
  3. In matches played privately, smoking is prohibited at the playing table throughout. However, the match host may designate an area where smoking is permitted during scoring breaks. If such an arrangement is to be made, prior notice must be given to the visitors and both captains agree how it will be managed.
  4. Players are requested to turn off mobile phones at events and during matches. If a mobile phone rings during play a pair or team may be penalised. The tournament director may prohibit other electronic devices.
  5. The SCBA supports the EBU in their efforts to ensure Best Behaviour at Bridge. Anyone who thinks they have been affected by bad behaviour should call the director immediately.


All SCBA events are non-smoking and the association is not responsible for ensuring that venues have any inside accommodation for smokers.

Update History

Refresh; Link to Pivot Teams
Updated links for Winter and Summer Leagues; Clarify EBU TD/Referee panels; Improve note on seating rights
Removal of 'Level 3'; clarify tie-breaking/play-offs with note; update EBU links for new site
Championship Pairs Open Heat clarified in notes.

Printable Versions

SCBA Regulations