The New Zealand Contract Bridge Association issues three types of Masterpoints:
- A Points, which can be won only at Open-grade tournaments; never just within a single club
- B Points, which can be won at all tournaments other than Open-grade tournaments
- C Points, which are awarded at all sessions of play, whether these be on a “club night” or at a tournament (thus all tournaments award A + C or B + C Points). Each 100 C Points earned is then converted into one B Point.
The normal rate to win C Points on a “club night” is that each of the top pairs (East-West and North-South) gain 40 points and second or lower placed pairs win a proportion of 40, down to the top third of the field. For example, if there are 15 tables in play, the top five pairs in each direction will win some C Points. If Teams is being played instead of Pairs, the award to the winning team is two C Points for each board in a match (or one each in the case of a draw).
The three most common grades of tournament are:
- Junior tournaments, where the winning pair each receive 3 B Points
- Intermediate tournaments, where the winning pair each receive 5 B Points
- Multigrade tournaments, where the winning pair each receive 8 B Points.
Other placed pairs win a lesser number of ‘bonus’ B Points, depending on the number of entries and type or grade of tournament.
All these points are totalled over each player’s total playing career, and various “ranks” are recognised at specific totals. There are ten different ranks overall and the first one to be recognised is known as “Junior Master” which requires five B Points. Similarly, the fifth rank is known as plain “Master” and requires 200 A and/or B Points of which at least 100 must be A Points.
Because a point earned this year counts equally with one won (say) 20 years ago, an attempt has been made to evaluate a player’s current ability. This system, known as “Rating Points,” values a point won in the current year as more valuable than one won the previous year, which is more valuable than one won two years ago, and so on until points earned many years ago are immaterial to your latest total of Rating Points. In practice what happens each year is that your previous year’s total is multiplied by 0.8 and then your points (both As and Bs together) from the latest year added on. Each player’s measure of Rating Points is calculated to apply from January 1st, and this measure does not vary for the rest of the year.
If your Rating Points are in the range of 0-20 (being changed to 0-30 from 1/1/2008), you are classed as being a Junior (and eligible to enter Junior tournaments); if 21-60 (31-100 from 1/1/2008) then as an Intermediate; and if 61 (= 101) or more as an Open player. Players may play in a higher grade tournament but never in a lower grade. Thus Open players may enter only Open or Multigrade tournaments.
There are around 16,000 registered bridge players in New Zealand, of which three-quarters are Juniors (12,000 players), about 3,000 Intermediates and about a thousand Open players. The total membership of this club is approximately 260, including 11 members who are Open and 84 who are Intermediate grade players. Thus our club has a slightly lower ratio of Junior to Senior players than the National overall ratio of Junior players comprising three-quarters of the total.