Revised: June 2017

You can download these rules here: Bridge (Duplicate)

  1. The Alberta 55 plus Games and all sanctioned Alberta 55 plus events will follow the rules outlined in the current Laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge, published by the American Contract Bridge League. These rules can be obtained by searching or by contacting:

American Contract Bridge League

3990 Airways Blvd.

Memphis, TN  38116-3847

Ph: (901) 332-5586

Fax: (901) 398-7754


55 plus open: 2 pairs (4 participants) per zone.

  1. DUPLICATE BRIDGE is a method of eliminating the luck of the deal. Note that procedures for tournaments involving a Director may differ slightly from those in regular play, particularly with regarding to shuffling and dealing the boards.
  1. NUMBER OF PLAYERS. Most Alberta 55 plus events will be a pairs game, with eight or more total players.  However, there is a possibility of playing an individual game or a team-of-four match with this amount as well.
  1. EQUIPMENT. A set of duplicate boards, or trays, and one pack of cards for each board.  Each tray has four pockets, corresponding to the compass points, for holding the hands of the respective players.  The face of each tray is marked with an arrow pointing toward one pocket, and with an indication of the dealer and vulnerability.

There should be at least 16 boards to a set; they will be numbered consecutively, with dealer and vulnerability as follows:

Dealer                                                Vulnerability

N – 1,5,9,13                                         Neither – 1,8,11,14

E – 2,6,10,14                                        N-S only – 2,5,12,15

S – 3,7,11,15                                        E-W only – 3,6,9,16

W – 4,8,12,16                                       Both – 4,7,10,13

Boards numbered 17 to 32, if used, correspond to boards 1 to 16 respectively

except in their identifying numbers.

  1. SHUFFLE AND DEAL. Any player, in the presence of an opponent or of the tournament director, prepares a board by shuffling the pack of cards and dealing it, one card at a time face down, into four packets, each of which he inserts in a pocket of the duplicate board.  Note:  alternatively, the director may set up the required number of boards prior to the onset of tournament play.
  2. THE AUCTION. The arrow on the board is pointed in the direction of the room designated as North.  Each player takes the hand from the pocket nearest him, and counts his cards to make sure he has thirteen.  The player designated as dealer calls first, and the auction proceeds until the contract is determined.  There is no re-deal when a hand is passed out.
  1. THE PLAY. The opening lead, exposure of dummy, and subsequent play are as described for contract bridge, except: after a trick is completed, each player retains possession of his card and places it face down on the table directly in front of him, pointed lengthwise toward the partners who won the trick.  Declarer plays dummy’s cards by naming or touching them, and dummy turns them and keeps them in front of him.
  1. SCORING. The score of each board is independent of the scores of the other boards, and trick points scored on one board cannot count toward a game on a subsequent board.  No rubber premium is scored.  Instead the following premiums are scored:

Declarer’s Side

Vulnerable             Not Vulnerable

For bidding and making a game contract         500                             300

For making a contract of less than game           50                              50

There is no premium for holding honors in one hand.


Match-point scoring is always used in individual games, is most often used in pair games, and may be used in team-of-four games.  Cumulative (or “total match point”) scoring may be used in pair and team-of-four games.

Cumulative or Total Match Point Scoring.  All the match points scored by a pair on all hands it played are totaled at the end of the game and compared with the scores of other pairs that played the same boards in the same direction (N-S or E-W).  The highest total wins.

Match-Point Scoring.  Match-point scoring is the most popular and the most equitable method for duplicate play.  In this method all scores made by N-S pairs on a given deal are tabulated in a vertical column for purposes of comparison.  Each score receives one match-point for each other N-S score it beats and 1/2 match-point for each N-S score it ties.  For example, in a section of 9 tables, there would be 9 scores; the highest score would have beaten 8 others and would therefore receive 8 match-points; the second highest score would have beaten 7 others and would receive 7 match-points, etc.  The E-W scores are similarly tabulated and compared among themselves.


Alberta 55 plus rules will be followed.  No Alberta 55 plus playoff or Alberta 55 plus Games will be a sanctioned event for master points.  At the Alberta 55 plus Games, the Howell Movement format shall be played each day.  Note that 8 pairs will generally play 28 boards each match; in the ¾ Howell movement for 16 pairs, 26 boards are played each match.  Match point scoring will be used.  In the event of a tie after the completion of the tournament, look at “who beat who” in the tournament.

At Area or Zone playoffs, one winner pairs movement or the Howell Movement format for the appropriate number of pairs, may be played, depending on the number of competitors.  In the event of a tie after the completion of the tournament, look at “who beat who” in the tournament.

For a three-way tiebreaker, take each individual board and match point the 3 scores of the involved pairs by themselves.  Each board played in common in the same direction will have a 2 top. Each board that had 2 of the 3 pairs the same direction will have a 1 top. The other pair should get a zero for a below average score on that board, a 1/2 for average and 1 for above average on each board.

    Ethical and courteous conduct is essential. Any abuse of proper conduct, as well as any breach of the playing rules, shall be reported to both the Director and Provincial Judge at the time of the offence. Both will declare the procedure to be followed, and will also declare and state the score adjustments, when required, as laid down by the A.C.B.L.