Why Masterpoints Deserve Care

Principles of Masterpoint Administration

Teams Versus Pairs
Changing the massive discrepancy between team and pair events

Building a Better Formula
Criteria for a good formula, problems with the current formulas, and a better formula.

What You Can Do

Other Information

Messageboard, email

Masterpoints and Measuring Ability

Total lifetime masterpoints is a reasonably good measure of ability. (See essay.) It isn't perfect; it isn't excellent; it isn't the best, and it isn't even admirable. But it's reasonable. If you knew nothing about two players except that one had 1000 masterpoints and the other had 3, you would guess that the one with 1000 masterpoints was the better player. You might be wrong, but you would almost always be right.

However, most people do not use total lifetime masterpoints to measure ability. I can try to impress people with my lifetime total, but other players know that lifetime total isn't completely reliable. They will tend to judge me on other factors.

So, it is very important to realize that masterpoints function primarily as awards, not as a measure of ability. Most importantly, they must be managed as awards, not as measures of ability.

Masterpoints would be a better measure of ability if awards were more proportional to merit. But that would be a very small improvement. Masterpoint awards should be proportional to merit for other reasons.

The ACBL uses lifetime masterpoints for stratification and seeding. I do not see any problem with that, except for very good young players who want to play in the bracket of a knockout appropriate to their ability. (See essay on A Small Problem Using Masterpoints to Measure Ability.)

Should the ACBL adopt a more accurate measure of ability? If it collects data from tournaments, it could adopt a chess-like rating. That could be used for bracketing and seeding, and it would be another interesting activity for bridge players -- trying to improve one's rating. But there are problems with chess-like measures (see essay).


The three essays referred to above develop the ideas expressed above.

Masterpoints as a Measure of Ability
A Small Problem Using Masterpoints to Measure Ability
Chess-Like Measures of Ability