Information and Rules

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No division within the league shall contain more than 8 teams. No division will contain more teams than the division above. There can never be a difference of more than one team between the divisions.

At the end of each season the bottom two teams shall be relegated from any division containing 7 or 8 teams and the top 2 teams promoted from the division below regardless of how many teams it contains. In divisions with 6 or fewer teams only the bottom team will be relegated and the top team promoted from the division beneath.

In the case that the League needs re-structured due to teams entering/withdrawing District Council will decide the composition of each division by following the above rules as closely as possible.

Divisions are named with the Top Division as Division 1, the Division immediately below as Division 2, and so on to however many Divisions there are.

Teams and Entry

All teams must be from clubs who are members of the Scottish Bridge Union.

It is generally assumed that a team that played in the league the previous season wishes to do so again unless they inform the Convener otherwise.

Such teams will have the necessary information and documents sent to the Captain in August.

It is desirable that teams that do not wish to continue inform the Convener before this time.

Any SBU affiliated club may enter a new team simply by informing the Convener. The Convener will need to know the Captain’s contact details for administrative purposes.

Team Squads

Every team should have a squad of at least eight players by the time they play their first match. A copy of the squad list should be submitted to the Convener by that time.

It is the responsibility of the team Captain to check with players that they intend to be part of their team’s squad before submitting that name in the squad. Once a player is entered in a team squad, they remain so for the remainder of the season, unless their name was submitted in error. The Convenor will withdraw erroneous name submissions but will not consider a player to be erroneously entered in a team’s squad if they have played any matches for that team. During the season, a player that is not in any team squad may be added to a team squad – there is no “deadline” for naming players. A player may only be in one team squad. A player must be a member of the club that the team represents to be eligible as part of the team squad.

There is no upper limit on the amount of players a squad can have. For each match, eight players (in four partnerships) from the team squad will play for the team.

If a Captain finds that there are less than eight squad players available for a match, then it is permissible to field a player eligible to join the squad, who joins the squad by playing.

If this option is unavailable, it is permissible to find a substitute from another squad to fulfil the fixture. For the rules concerning a player’s eligibility to be a substitute, and a team’s eligibility to use them, please see Substitutions.


A team may only use a substitute from another squad in circumstances where the team has less than eight players available for the match. In the case where one or more substitutes is/are needed, all available players from the squad must play, and the remainder of the places on the team be taken up by substitutes.

Eligibility Rules

  1. To play for a team, a player must be a member of the club said team represents.
  2. Any player whose own team is in Division 1 is NOT eligible to be a substitute.
  3. A player cannot substitute for a team in the same Division as their own team.
  4. A player cannot substitute for more than one team in any particular Division.
  5. A player cannot substitute for the same team more than twice.
  6. A player cannot substitute for a team in a lower division than their own team, except, and only in, the circumstances described in Eligibility Rules 7, 8 and 9.
  7. Teams in the bottom Division may field a substitute from a higher Division, since there is no lower division. All other Eligibility Rules still apply in this case.
  8. When substituting for a team in the bottom division, a player must not partner someone that they have a regular partnership with.*
  9. Once a team in the bottom Division has fielded a substitute, they cannot field anyone else from the squad that substitute came from for the rest of the season.

A player’s “own team” is defined as the team whose squad they are included in.
All eligibility rules must be met for a substitute to be eligible.

Although the Eligibility rules mainly refer to players, it is the responsibility of the team Captain to ensure that any substitute for his or her team is eligible. In cases where an ineligible player plays a match, it is the team that will be liable and subject to rectification.


Team Captains or their representatives will meet on the last Friday in August of each year to arrange matches. This will begin at 7pm at The Bridge Club, Aberdeen. Team Captains will be notified in any deviance in time, date, or venue from the above.

If a Captain feels that their team has certain special requirements, they should notify the Convener ASAP and no less than two weeks prior to the Captain’s meeting.

At the Captain’s meeting, the Convener will assign the fixtures for the forthcoming season and the designated month in which that match should be played. Team Captains will have until the end of September to agree actual dates and notify the Convener in writing. Some flexibility on this deadline may be afforded to some clubs that are closed over the summer months. Team Captains may agree to move their match from its assigned month to a vacant month. A team playing more than one match in any calendar month is only permissible when re-playing a postponed match or when it has not proved possible to find a mutually convenient date in the assigned or any vacant months.

The season runs from September to April inclusive. Matches between teams from the same club should be played as early as possible. There is no strict deadline; however, severe penalties will apply if the Convener feels a match has been dumped.


Matches are played in 4 rounds of 6 boards; 24 boards in total. All four tables play the same six boards in each round. The Home team have a North-South pair at Tables 2 and 4, and an East-West pair at Tables 1 and 3 in each round. The Away players play each round at the same table. The Home Captain will assign positions to the four pairs on the Home team for each round. All four pairs on a team must play exactly one round against each of the opposing four pairs.

At the end of the round, pairs should agree the aggregate result for the table, before giving their score (plus x, minus x or zero) to their team’s scorekeeper. (The scorekeeper is usually the Captain but this is not mandatory). The scorekeepers will calculate the total aggregate score (the sum of the team’s four aggregate scores) for the round. The running aggregate total shall be kept throughout the match. At the end of the match, the difference in aggregate is converted to a VP score using the following scale:

Aggregate Points Difference

VP Score

Aggregate Points Different

VP Score












2000-2590 16-4









The Captains should then agree the method of informing the Convener of the result, completing and signing the Match Result Sheet if necessary. See Home Captain’s Responsibilities for submission of results, and see also Electronic Submission.

Late Arrival

If only one table is affected, the non-offending team will decide which of their team will sit at the incomplete table. After 7 minutes Board 1 will not be played at that table; the score awarded to the non-offending side will be the average from the other three tables +120 points, unless this would be a negative score, in which case the score will be zero. After 14 minutes Board 2 will not be played and after 21 minutes Board 3 will not be played, the score being awarded in the same manner. After 28 minutes the match will be abandoned, unless both Captains agree to continue the match in the same process of withdrawing boards and awarding adjusted scores.

If two tables are affected the match will start as a Team of Four, the non-offending team having seating rights. The non-offending team will be awarded 240 points above the board average for each 7 minute delay, appropriate boards being withdrawn from play. After 28 minutes the match will be abandoned.


During the season one or both Captains may decide a match between their teams needs to be postponed. A team that requests a postponement between one and two weeks in advance of the arranged date will incur a 2 VP penalty. A team that requests a postponement within one week of the arranged date will incur a 5 VP penalty. These penalties will be imposed unless the Convener rules that extenuating circumstances (e.g. severe weather conditions) apply. (An Appeal against the Convener’s ruling may be made to an Appeals Committee).

Every effort should be made to re-arrange a postponed match. It is the expectation that the Captains will find a mutually agreeable date. If this does not prove possible, the Convener will enter negotiations and assign the fairest possible date. This process also applies in cases where no date is originally agreed. If the match cannot be re-arranged then the match will be abandoned.

Abandoned Matches

If a team fails to produce a full complement of players and the match is subsequently abandoned, a VP score for the match will be awarded as follows. The non-offending side will be awarded 12 VPs, or their average VPs from the matches they did play, or the converse average of the offending team, whichever is highest. The offending team will be awarded 8 VPs, or their average VPs from the matches they did play, or the converse average of the non-offending team, whichever is lowest.

The Convener will make every attempt to know the facts about an abandoned match to determine if there is an offending side. It will usually be deemed that a team that couldn’t field a team for the originally agreed date is the offending side, but not necessarily in cases where the Convener rules the other side were cause for the abandonment. It may also be the case that the Convener decides that neither or both sides were the offending side, and awards an appropriate result accordingly.

Electronic Communication

In any instance where it is normally anticipated that a communication to the Convener should be made in writing, an email to the Convener will be accepted as “in writing”. The current Convener’s email address is provided in the Rulings section.

It is understandable that not all Captains have email accounts. If they so wish, they may appoint somebody to be responsible for electronic communication with the Convener on their behalf.

Email is also an effective method of communication between Captains.

For Electronic Submission of Results:

There are two acceptable methods for doing this.

  1. The Convener will accept a scan of the completed and signed Match Result Sheet.
  2. Both Captains (or their appointed delegate) must send an email to the Convener, stating the VP and aggregate result of the match, and the names of the eight players that played for their team.

Home Captain’s Responsibilities

Home Captains must confirm catering arrangements with the appropriate steward or third party. It is advisable to agree in advance with the Away Captain what level of catering will be required. Where a room is shared, matches must start at the same time. Failing agreement, these matches will start at 7pm. The Home Captain must ensure the Away team is fully aware of the venue and if necessary how to get there. Failure of this responsibility may negate any claim the Away team arrived late. Fully informing the Away Captain is usually deemed sufficient. It is the Home Captain’s job to ensure all equipment that is or may be required (boards, bidding boxes, law book etc) is provided. Cover cards are optional and it is advisable if the Captains agree whether they will be used in advance.

Home Captains are responsible for returning the completed and signed Match Result Sheet to the Convener no later than one week after the match date. Late submittal of match results will incur a one VP penalty per week, or part thereof. Date of postmark is accepted as date of submittal. Alternatively, electronic submission of results is permissible.

Rulings, Laws and Ethics

The Spirit of the Game

These laws are renewed under overwhelming agreement by Captains of League teams at the time. The League is intended to be as competitive and friendly as  possible. The general principle is that there should be zero tolerance for rudeness and maximum tolerance for everything else. Players are responsible for their own  behaviour and conduct within a match, but unacceptable conduct may result in  repercussions for teams as well as players. Players and teams are encouraged to adhere to the spirit of the laws as well as the letter.

Irregularities and Director Rulings

In the event that an issue arises which requires a Director’s ruling, it is preferable to find an appropriate director that is not playing in, and impartial to, the match. (For example, someone from another match or competition in the same building). The appropriate Director shall be able to refer to the Laws of Duplicate Bridge/SBU rulebook. If it is not possible, the Captains should agree on the ruling to be given in accordance with the laws. In the event that the Captains cannot agree, they should either phone a qualified Director (such as the Convener), or agree a result in the immediate term (the average result of the other three tables if this proves difficult) and send full details of the issue to the Convener. (In all cases of a Director Ruling there is the right to an Appeals Committee).

If Captains are in complete agreement as to how they would like an irregularity to be resolved, this decision stands. For example, if the Captains cannot find an appropriate ruling in the law book but agree on the decision and course of action to be taken (even if that decision is “no further action”), then that takes precedence.

System Cards

It is suggested, but by no means mandatory, that each pair has a completed SBU or WBF System Card. Such cards will be for reference of the opponents only; players may not consult their own system card during the match, not including breaks between rounds. In the case of a ruling, a pair that does not have a system card may find that the benefit of any doubt about their system will go against them.


In all cases of a Director or Convener ruling on an issue there is a right to an Appeals Committee if an affected party so wishes. Where an Appeals Committee is required, the Convener will be responsible for this in accordance with SBU procedures. The Committee will convene at the earliest convenience of those who have a right to attend.

The Convener is also bound to the spirit of the laws as well as the letter. Common sense should and will be exercised where applicable.


These rules put emphasis on clarity, hence the increased length. It is not essential to memorise the rules; only to play to them, and refer to them whenever necessary.

The Convener has the right and responsibility to make any decision in accordance with and over-riding these rules in order to ensure the smooth running of the Teams of Eight League.

The Convener is the point of contact for any queries regarding the League.

* (from Eligibility Rule 8):
The term “regular partnership” has always been an ambiguous one. In the first instance, the agreement of the opposing Captain that the pair can play together should be sought, as far in advance of the match as is feasibly possible. If the opposing Captain consents, this is unambiguous. In the event that Captains do not agree whether a certain partnership should be considered “regular”, the matter is for the Convener to decide.

The Current Convener is Alisdair McLeod, who can be contacted on:

Phone: 01224 703230
Email:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

16 Gordon Place
Bridge of Don
AB23 8QX