1.††††† Scope


1.1          The following paragraphs comprise the rules for the operation of the Premier Leagues, Senior League, Intermediate, Junior and Novice Leagues.


1.3†††† Nothing in these rules shall be interpreted as implying that the Laws of Contract Bridge, as applied by the N.I.B.U., are in any way diminished or inoperative.


1.3†††† In all matters not specifically covered by these rules the power of decision rests with the Honorary Competitions Secretary of the N.I.B.U. (Hon. Comp. Sec.). (Subject to the right of the General Purposes Committee of the N.I.B.U. (GP committee) to overrule any decision on appeal or on its own initiative.)


1.4†††† The GP committee has the final decision on any matters relating to the leagues and may initiate action. If the GP committee makes a decision on a matter that has not been referred to the Rules and Ethics committee a team whose match is directly affected by the decision may ask for the matter to be referred to that committee. However, the GP committee is not bound by the advice given.


1.5†††† All teams enter the league on the understanding that they accept the rules and in particular any final decision by the GP committee.


2.††† Composition and Organisation


2.1†††† The Premier League shall consist of a 1st division of 8 teams and, optionally, a 2nd division of up to 8 teams. Each of the other Leagues shall consist of one division; if the number of entries exceeds 9 then the League shall be split into two and the final positions decided by a play-off.


2.2        Entry to the Leagues and considerations of eligibility shall be the province of the Hon. Comp. Sec. or an Organiser designated by the GP committee.


2.3        It shall be the duty of the Hon. Comp. Sec. or Organiser to arrange for a suitable date for the receipt of entries for Leagues. Depending on entries and composition of teams it may also to necessary to arrange a suitable date or dates for play-offs before the commencement of the season.


2.4†††† It shall be the duty of the Hon. Comp. Sec. or Organiser to maintain a record throughout the season of team memberships and, in particular, designations of regular and substitute members (see Para. 5 below)


2.5†††† Each League and each division of the Premier League shall be administrated by an Organiser, who shall be appointed by Hon. Comp. Sec or the GP committee.


The Organiser may appoint Tournament Directors to act as proxies at a session of the League.Such Directors shall exercise all the powers of the Organiser insofar as they apply during a session of the League.


2.6†††††† Neither the Organiser nor the Tournament Director may play in the division of ††††† the League for which they are responsible. (But see 3.1.)


††††††††† The Organiser may appoint an administrator who may play in that division to assist in some or all of the following ways: Organising venues, appointing a Tournament Director, receiving and recording results and keeping a record of the accumulated League position.In no case may the Administrator decide or advise on penalties, scores to be awarded, postponement of matches, or any other disputation matters


2.7†††† Each team shall consist of 4 or more members, each of whom must be members in good standing of an N.I.B.U. affiliated club, and who are not otherwise ineligible. Some grounds for ineligibility and definitions of membership are given in Section 5 below

†† .

3.††† Matches.


3.1         Each team shall play each other team in its league or division or section once over 28 boards except that in the case of the Novice and Junior Leagues the number of boards shall be 24 and the rules following shall be modified where necessary.


All boards must be played in one session.Only 4 members of a team may play in any match (unless illness affects a team member after the commencement of a match).

If one player is temporarily delayed, the Director/Organiser may, with the agreement of the opposing Captain, play, or permit a spectator to play the first four boards (or if eligible to play the full match).This does not affect eligibility in any way for team or substitute.

If agreement is not forthcoming, the match shall be suitably reduced in length.

3.2†††† Matches must, excepted as provided in Section 3.3, be played on the due night at the due venue.


Each session shall commence at 7.15 p.m. and no new board shall be started after 11.00 p.m. except by express permission of the Director.


Slow play or late arrival are punishable at the discretion of the Organiser, see Section 8.


3.3 The Organiser shall decide all matters to do with the dates on which matches ††††††††††††††††††††††††† shall be played subject to the following rules. Matches shall be played on the †††††††† published date (PD) at the published venue or, with the agreement of both ††† Captains, on the alternative published date (APD) and venue. In the event of ††††††††††† non-agreement to play on the APD the Organiser may at his discretion decide †††††† whether the PD or the APD will apply, but should ensure that as far as is just ††††††† and equitable, the team prepared to play on the PD is not disadvantaged.


3.4        If 2 teams play a match without the Organiserís permission at other than the normal date and time, then the match shall be null and void and both teams shall be treated as if they conceded the match under Rule 6.


3.5All matches shall, where practicable, use pre-dealt hands supplied by the ††††††† Organiser and bidding boxes of a pattern approved by the N.I.B.U


Only systems and conventions approved by the N.I.B.U. shall be used. These shall normally include all those systems and conventions licensed by the English Bridge Union for use in events of Level 2, 3 & 4.

Level 5 systems are approved for use in Premier I and Premier 2 leagues, See page 9 for their regulation. Pairs in any doubt as to the eligibility of their chosen methods should apply, through the Organiser, to the Convener of the Rules, Ethics and Appeals sub-committee of the N.I.B.U.

The Organiser shall apply Rule 8 below if any team uses unapproved methods.

All pairs shall have two properly completed convention cards which shall be deemed to provide a complete statement of their methods.


3.6†††† Under exceptional circumstances a team may ask for a postponement. This may ††††† only be given by the GP committee at one of its regular meetings and the team †††† requesting the postponement must have an agreed alternative date with their opponents. The Hon. Comp. Sec / Organiser do not have the power to allow a †††††† postponement.

4.††† Promotion and Relegation


4.1†††† At the end of each season the lowest placed team in Premier I shall be relegated to Premier II.The place left vacant shall be filled by the leading team in Premier II.


Provided the second team in Premier II wishes they shall play off against the seventh team in Premier I over 28 boards, the arrangements to be made by the Premier I Organiser.The Premier I team must win by 1 IMP to retain its place for the following season otherwise it is relegated to Premier II.

If the second team in Premier II does not wish to play then the seventh team in Premier I shall remain in Premier I.

4.2          The winning team in the Senior League play-offs is entitled, if they wish, to promotion to Premier II.If the number of teams in Premier II thereby would exceed 8, then the lowest-placed team in Premier II shall be relegated to the Senior League.


If the runners-up in the Senior League play-offs wish to compete in Premier II they shall, if necessary, play-off with the seventh placed team in Premier II. The Premier II team must win by 1 IMP to retain its place for the following season; otherwise it shall be relegated to the Senior League.


If the second team in the Senior League does not wish to play then the seventh team in Premier II shall remain in Premier II. The Premier II Organiser shall be responsible for the playoffs described in this paragraph.


4.3†††† The winning team in the Novice, Junior and Intermediate Leagues are entitled to promotion to the League immediately ranked above.


5.††††† Changes in Formation of Teams and Eligibility


5.1        Every team must designate, in writing, to the Hon. Comp. Sec. on or before a specified date (see Para. 2.3), between four and six of its members as regular members.Designation of regular team members can have important consequences as outlined in the following rules.


5.2        Regular team members can play in any number of the teamís matches.Other regular members may be similarly notified during the season.


Additional members may be designated as substitute members. Any substitute member who plays in more than one-third of the teamís matches is automatically deemed to be a regular member.


A team may never have more than six regular members.If as a result of this rule it would have more than six then the regular member who has played the least number of matches shall be treated as a substitute member. In the event of two or more members having played an equal number of matches the one to become a substitute member shall be determined by lot.


5.3        No-one may play in any match until eligibility has been confirmed by the Hon. Comp. Sec. or the Organiser for the appropriate league.


All notifications must include the Master-Point numbers of the team members involved.No-one without a number can be eligible.


5.4        In the case of the Novice, Junior and Intermediate Leagues no proposed member of a team or substitute is eligible if that member is registered as a player of a category higher than that of the League in which the member is intending to play.


5.5        In the case of the Senior and Premier Leagues no regular member of a team or substitute is eligible if that player is a regular member of a team in a higher league or division in the current season.


5.6        A regular member of a relegated team may only play in the higher division or††††† league in the following season as a substitute.


5.7†††† A substitute member of a relegated team may play in the higher division or league.


5.8†††† No regular member of any team may play, either as a regular or substitute member, in a lower division or League.


5.9        Except as provided in Section 3.1. no player may play, either as a regular or substitute member, for more than one team in any league or division.


Rules 5.10 - 5.15 apply in particular to the Premier League and its divisions.


5.10    After promotions and relegations in Division I of the Premier League, if the number of entries falls below 8, the vacancy or vacancies may not be filled by reorganisation of existing teams in Division I from the previous season but from the relegated team or teams or from teams that were members of Division II in the previous year, normally according to their position in that division in the previous year. The organisation of this to be handled by the Hon. Comp. Sec.


5.11     After promotions and relegations in Division II of the Premier League, if the number of entries falls below 8 the vacancy or vacancies may not be filled by reorganisation of existing teams in Division II from the previous season.


Such a vacancy or vacancies may only be filled from the relegated team or teams together with teams from the Senior League invited by the Hon. Comp. Sec or Organiser to play in playoffs for such positions.


5.12       In the Divisions I and II of the Premier League if any team wishes, from season to season, to change its regular personnel the following rules apply.


a)   Only team members designated as regular members in the previous season have rights in decisions pertaining to changes in personnel


b) Two members of a team cannot be considered a team.


c)   A team is only deemed to remain in being if a majority of the players (at least 3 of those designated as regular team members in the previous season) wish to continue playing together in the future.


If this condition is satisfied, the team may therefore submit an entry by the addition of suitable eligible players, excepting where 6, or more players, of the original team were designated as regular team members and they wish to split into two equal parts in which case 5.12(d) applies.


d) If the team splits into two equal parts the Organiser shall require the two resulting teams to play off for the place. The winning team shall be the team winning by 1 Imp. The losing team shall be relegated to the Senior League.


5.13    If two or more teams of the same division wish to re-arrange regular personnel then, unless the number of teams would thereby increase, the Organiser shall normally acquiesce in the re-arrangements unless they are contested by regular members of one of the teams involved, when Section 5.12 shall come into operation.


5.14    If for any other reason a team does not accept its rightful place the vacancy shall be filled at the discretion of the Hon. Comp. Sec. or Organiser.


5.15 If a team does not complete at least two-thirds of its matches, then none of its ††††††††† regular members shall be eligible to play in the Premier League in any capacity the following season.

6.†††† Scoring Methods and Concessions


6.1        If a team completes fewer than half its matches, then none of its results shall count.


6.2†††† All matches shall be scored by IMPs converted to victory points (VPs) on the scale on page 8...


6.3†††† The final placings in each division shall be decided on VP aggregates.


6.4†††† No team may concede during a match (except for reasons of ill-health) unless its opponents have already established a lead sufficient to score a maximum victory (currently 25 VPs).


If a concession is made on health grounds then, if the other team has a lead sufficient to give 20 VPs or more it shall be awarded that score, else it shall be awarded 20 VPs.


The Director may, at his discretion, complete, or ask a spectator to complete, the match in -place of the ill player.This does not affect eligibility in any way.


Wilful violation of this rule shall invoke standard N.I.B.U. penalties for refusing to complete a fixture.


6.5†††† If a team concedes a match before its start their opponents shall be awarded 17 VPs or the average number of VPs scored over all their other matches, both before and after the conceded match, whichever is the greater.


6.6†††† Any team conceding a match before its start shall receive 8 VPs or its lowest score in all other matches, both before and after this match, which ever is the lesser.


6.7†††† If a team completes a match in good faith and it was subsequently discovered that the opposition has fielded an ineligible player, the non-offending team shall be awarded 17 VPs or the average number of VPs scored in all their other matches (both before and after the match) or the score actually obtained in the match, whichever is the greater.The offending team shall receive 0 VPs.

7.†† Breaking of Ties


7.1†††† If two or more teams finish with the same Victory Point score, the tie shall be broken by (in descending order) :


(a) most points on a scale of 2 for a win and 1 for a draw (a draw being any

IMP differential of 7 or less), then

(b)†† the result of the direct match in VPs, then

(c) the result of the direct match in IMPs , then

(d)†† the total IMP quotient.


If a tie still exists, the teams should play a further 28 board match, 1 IMP deciding. Followed if necessary by 4 board sets until the tie is broken.

7.2†††† Conceded matches shall be assessed to have scored the lower IMPís shown on the Diary scale for the VPs received.


8.†††† Penalties for Rule Infractions


8.1†††† Slow Play


This is specified as inability to maintain a playing speed of 7 boards plus scoring per hour.The penalties quoted below may be levied against any team whose members, in the Directorís opinion, are guilty of slow play as defined. ††

Any player whose opponents are, in his opinion, playing slowly should call the Directors attention to the situation else the Director shall consider each pair to be equally guilty.

The Director may, at his discretion, rule that one or more boards of the set cannot be played, in which case the penalties for not completing 28 boards shall be invoked

The Penalties are :-

††††††††††† First set of 7 boards††† 1 VP††††††††††††††† Subsequent offences†† 1 VP


Any penalty may be withdrawn if the Director is satisfied that the team members have recovered lost time.

8.2†††††† Non-completion of 28 boards


If a match is running behind schedule the Tournament Director shall decide the number of boards to be played in the last set.

Failure to complete the prescribed number of boards in time shall attract a penalty of 2 VPs.The Tournament Director shall have the power to impose further penalties up to an additional 3 VPs for what is, in his opinion, excessively slow play, or deliberately slow play.

8.3†††† Use of unapproved methods.


Paragraph 3.6 of the Rules above gives the criteria by which eligibility of methods shall be judged.

Any pair transgressing against this rule shall be penalised, if using any unapproved conventions or systems, 2 VPs or such other penalty as the Tournament Director , to a maximum of 6 VPs, may decide is just and equitable.

The Director may award the non-offending side such part, up to the whole, of the penalty where he thinks they have suffered.

The use of unapproved methods must cease upon discovery: continued use shall entail concession in addition to the fine already incurred.

9.†† Notification of Results


9.1†††† All results, including those of re-arranged matches, must be received, in writing, by the Organiser or Administrator within 48 hours of the completion of the match.The Director will also accept results.The Organiser may, at his discretion, penalise any infraction.


9.2†††† The information to be notified must include :-


a)†††††† the names of all members of both teams,

b)††††† the actual IMP scores of both teams, and

c)†††††† the signature of both captains.

d)††††† the Master Point number of all players on the team on the first occasion they play in the season.


9.3†††† The Organiser or Administrator should ensure that all results and the up-to-date positions within the division are available at the start of each session.

10. Appeals


Any appeals against decisions or rulings, either of the Honorary Competitions Secretary,Organiser or of a Director, should be made in the prescribed fashion to the Rules, Ethics & Appeals sub-committee of the N.I.B.U. The GP committee reserves the right to intervene on its own initiative.

IMP to VP conversion for 28 board match and 24 board match.









0 - 3

15 - 15.

44 - 49

23 - 7.

0 - 3

15 - 15.

40 - 45

23 - 7.

4 - 10.

16 - 14.

50 - 55

24 - 6.

4 - 9.

16 - 14.

46 - 51

24 - 6.

11 - 15.

17 - 13

56 - 61

25 - 5.

10 - 14

17 - 13

52 - 57

25 - 5.

16 - 20.

18 - 12.

62 - 68

25 - 4.

15 - 19.

18 - 12.

58 - 64

25 - 4.

21 - 25

19 - 11.

69 - 76

25 - 3.

20 - 24

19 - 11.

65- 71

25 - 3.

26 - 31

20 - 10.

77 - 85

25 - 2.

25 - 29

20 - 10.

72 - 79

25 - 2.

32 - 37

21 - 9.

86 - 94

25 - 1.

30 - 34

21 - 9.

80 - 87

25 - 1.

38 - 43

22 - 8.


25 - 0

35 - 39

22 - 8.


25 - 0


"The NIBU has adopted the English Bridge Union Orange Book as far as Systems and conventions approval is concerned.  Copies of this can be downloaded from the EBU website at on the Internet. The following levels apply to NIBU events:


Open non-handicap NIBU competitions                                            Level 4

Junior, Intermediate and Handicap competitions                                Level 3


Level 5 systems are approved for use in Premier I and Premier 2 leagues provided at least 2 weeks notice of such systems is given to the opposing team.


Any system may be played in the Premier League 1, provided 1 weeks notice in writing has been given to the opposing Captain, of any systems not allowable at level 4 with full description and a suitable defence. The opposing team shall have sole seating rights whenever such systems are played and may consult a written defence during bidding".

If pairs wishing to play such methods from the first match of the season include this information electronically with their entry, this will allow all other teams to be informed. Changes during the season must be communicated directly to opponents.