Why Masterpoints Deserve Care

Principles of Masterpoint Administration (you are here)

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

Principles of Awards

If you are a representative on the ACBL's Board of Directors, you should be very concerned with wise management of masterpoints. How much of the ACBL's income is derived from masterpoints? (How much would tournament participation be decreased if masterpoints were not offered? How many of ACBL members would not be members if there were no masterpoints to award and record?)

Wise management means good intentions and understanding the principles of awards.

There is a long essay on all of the principles of awards. The following quickly discusses two very important yet nonobvious principles.

The Law of Least Merit

The value of an award is proportional to the least merit needed to achieve the award.

As a consequence of this law

masterpoints have the most value when awards are proportional to merit.

A factory can try to be more productive by increasing production. The ACBL cannot do this -- awarding more masterpoints to everyone makes the masterpoints themselves less valuable (the Law of Inflation).

All the ACBL can do is try to maximize the value of the masterpoints. The ACBL does well on most of the things that maximize value -- increasing the contests and awards associated with masterpoints, make masterpoints salient. However, the ACBL does a very poor job of making awards proportional to merit.

So, the ACBL can maximize its "production" by ruthlessly correcting the deficits between merit and award.

The Law of Punishment

Every change in masterpoint distribution that rewards someone (or something) causes an equivalent amount of punishment to whoever (or whatever) is not being rewarded.

A change that makes awards more equitable does have an overall benefit, and a change that makes awards less equitable has an overall cost (because of the Law of Least Merit). But with that exception, there is always a balance between rewards and punishments. For example, rewarding large clubs punishes the small clubs; rewarding team games punishes pair events.

So whenever you consider a change in masterpoint awards, you cannot think only in terms of reward. If you are thinking in terms of reward, you have to also think in terms of punishment.

Other Principles

The long essay includes these other laws:

Long Essay

See also:
A Tale