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


Section Awards

The consideration so far in tournaments has been with the overall awards. A consideration of the section awards will ameliorate these discrepancies. For example, the 10-table field awards a lot in overalls, but there will be no section awards to add to these overall awards.

However, there is a problem with using section awards to compensate for differences in overall awards. The overall awards in a regional are gold, which are coveted. The section awards, which except for first place are red, do not compensate. Therefore, the most gold points would still be given out in small fields. I presume this is a major function of knock-outs -- to maximize the number of gold points per person by creating small fields.


The backbone of any masterpoint system is a formula for measuring merit given ranking and number of competitors. The ACBL started with the wrong formula. There is no obvious reason to assign blame -- it is not obvious what a good formula should be, and at the time a log function would have been too difficult to calculate.

Given the wrong formula, many patches were needed. One obvious example is that two different formulas are used for tournaments, depending on whether there are more or less than 61 tables. This wouldn't be needed with a good formula. These patches help, but only a little.

Given a change in the backbone formula, the patches that are currently in place might not be useful. Judgment may be needed to put in new patches if the new formula yields answer that violate common sense. (See for example, Stratification Patches.)

Percentage of Overall Awards

There is no "right" answer for percentage of competitors receiving overalls. I choose 10% because that seems right to me. Apparently that is the percentage of overalls in team games for more than 60 tables. 10% would substantially increase the number of overalls for large pair field. However, it would also lower the number of overalls for a small field.

See also:
Inflation or Customer Complaints?