Novice Pairs
25-31 May

Frequently Asked Questions


Q: Who can play in the event?
A: All players should have fewer than 100 masterpoints as at 31 March. We will make exceptions for small clubs on request. For example, a player with around 110 MP, partnering a player with fewer than 30 MP, would be appropriate if required to avoid a two-and-a-half table game with a 6-board sitout. Any player may be included with permission from the convenor.

Also, it is fine to have non-contending pairs included in the field if you have insufficient numbers to run a separate game just for novices. Just let us know who the participating novices are when you submit the results. Players can participate at two different clubs with explicit permission from the organiser at the second club, but only as a non-contending pair

Any player who is not an ABF member is welcome to play, as long as it is reasonable for that player to be called a novice. We depend on the local heat organiser to make this call, and we also reserve the right to disqualify any player who we believe should not be in a novice event.   

Q: What is the entry fee?
A: Our fee is $5 for each player (not including any non-contending players who are just making up the field).

Q: How many boards should we play?
A: It doesn't matter how many boards you play. Most clubs generally play 26 or 27, but a few clubs play all 32 boards (sometimes with a lunch break). Clubs with mostly new players might just play 18 or 21 boards.

Q: What movement should we use?
A: Literally any movement is fine; just treat this like a normal club game. However, we do recommend that you take care to avoid having all of your best players sitting in the same direction, as this will put some of your players at a disadvantage.

To be declared the winner, or to qualify for prizes, a pair must have played against at least three different opponents. We reserve the right to remove individual boards in cases where a club has attempted to manipulate their results or their field strength.

Q: We have 11-12 tables. How do we do this when you only provide 32 boards?
A: For most events, we provide 36 boards automatically; in other events, we can supply a special dealing file for boards 33-36 on request. Please use boards 33-36 only if necessary, as the event is scored across the field and only a very small number of tables (if any) will be playing boards 33-36.

If you have a 6-table game and want to play more than 25 boards, you should use a share-and-relay movement (6 x 5-board rounds, 30 boards in play) rather than a skip Mitchell. Or even better, a Howell movement will run on 27 boards.

Q: How do we submit the results?
A: Go to our upload page which has a full set of instructions, assisting you to automatically transfer your result file directly to our web server. Alternatively, you can email the result file to us if you already know how to produce it.
Compscore users: please ensure that your results file includes scores for each board, and not just the summary of names. If you are unsure how to do this, please phone Brad on 0412335840 and I'll be happy to help. It will be simplest if you do this immediately after the game (even for night games).

Q: How do we process the masterpoints?

A: Your club should award green points just like in a normal session. We will award the red points after the event has finished.


Q: Where can I play in the Australia-Wide Pairs?
A: If your home club isn't participating, there is a list of participating clubs and dates here. Pick the club closest to you and give them a call to confirm that the date is correct.

Q: How do I see my results?
A: Once your club has submitted your scores, your results will be published here. Choose your club and your name from the drop-down box, and you will be taken to a special results booklet with all kinds of information about your personal results. Hand records, detailed result analysis and travelling scoreslips will be added to the booklet as soon as the last club has completed play.

Q: Does the event use specially selected deals, or are they random?
A: For the Open Pairs, the boards were all randomly computer-generated under the same conditions that are used in all Australian national events. There are no specially designed or selected hands.

In the Novice Pairs, we selectively remove hands that we feel are too complicated or too wild for Novice players (for example, there are no eight-card suits, and no "impossible" bidding decisions). However, in most cases the deals were originally dealt randomly (although in some cases we have been known to drop in a couple of deals from a recently published textbook).

Q: Why is my final score lower (or higher) than the score I was originally given?
A: Once the event has been scored across 800 tables, your score will be different than when it was scored across ten tables. The difference may be as much as 10%, as small pairs games can produce very random results. There is a more detailed explanation here. If you are checking the results booklet regularly, which I recommend, you can actually watch your scores fluctuate as each new club submits their results.

Q: What do I do if I find a scoring error?
A: Email us at and let us know what happened. Scores that we believe are obviously incorrect will first be listed on the main event web page, and then automatically adjusted if no one explains them. Non-obvious errors can only be corrected after confirmation from your director, or from the player who benefited from the error.  

There is no official deadline for reporting scoring errors or masterpoint errors. We value accuracy ahead of regulations; if an error is reported, it will be corrected, even if it changes the winner of the event after the results have been published. We are sure that no one wants to win the event due to a scoring error. However, allocation of prizes will not be altered after the results are published.

Q: Are non-affiliated players eligible for prizes?
A: You do not need to be an ABF member to play in the event, or win prizes. However, to win prizes in the under-50 MP section you need to be either (a) a current member of an ABF-affiliated club, or (b) a Grand Slam player with a rating no higher than 47.

Q: How are the spot prizes awarded?
A: For the 2019 Novice Pairs, there are four prizes each on deals 4, 6, 7, 11, 19 and 20. On those boards two pairs will receive a prize for meeting the goals specified in the souvenir booklet. The two pairs will be calculated according to the formula on page 22 of the souvenir booklet (scores taken as at 9 June). Additionally, there are a couple of spot prizes for selected pairs who achieve a unique top board on any board (chosen by the convenor).

Q: How do I claim the special offers mentioned in the souvenir booklet?
A: Click on the link on Page One of your results booklet.

Q: Are there any regulations that are not covered in this document?
A: Our main FAQ document (Open Pairs) applies in any case not covered by this document.