NGS Titles

Is there an official EBU definition of Novice, Intermediate, Expert etc I could not find one?

The EBU headlined a Team as Novice made up of K&Aces, now I find a Counties competition for Intermediates NGS J and below. It looks as if we need a national title system by way of consistency.

BBO defines their grades as below but people self-determined and even the BBO say people lie
Beginner Someone who has played bridge for less than one year.
Novice Someone who recently learned to play bridge.
Intermediate Someone who is comparable in skill to most other members of BBO.
Advanced Someone who has been consistently successful in clubs or minor tournaments.
Expert Someone who has enjoyed success in major national tournaments.
World Class Someone who has represented their country in World Championships.

As a way of allocating titles Master points appear to a little arbitrary since if you earn master point then the number of times you play determines how far and fast you rise up the scale.

The NGS system appears to offer the opportunity to group players via a semi Descriptive Title
Looking at current members NGS grade the grade with most members is 7 and the average member falls in grades 5 or 6 (depending on how you do the average).
So how about calling -
Grades 1 &2 Novices (although to get a grade at all requires some ability perhaps above “Novice”. (10% of members)
Grades 3,4,5 Intermediates (I don’t like this term as it clashes with the student’s title and BBO) (24%)
Grades 6,7,8 Club (34%)
Grades 9,10, J Advanced (24%)
Grades K & A Experts (8%)

Do we need them? Are there better descriptive titles? Would the titles provide a better focus for the EBU away from their top 8%?


  • Hi John. I am not sure that we can allocate names to standards. The difficulty is that everyone has their own "level" or "standard". I remember my father-in-law, who was 96 at the time, told us that he didn't like being around those"old fogeys". All those old fogeys were about 8 years younger than him. So I think everyone has their own "standard". Our County has had difficulties getting enough players of similar standard to your "club" involved in competitions to make them viable.

    Having thought about it I think that this "competitiveness" has to come from the beginning and needs to be well founded so that some will improve. I feel that it is a delicate balancing act which will be wrong more times than it is right.

    Whilst Masterpoints and NGS are around we must "live" with them but it does not mean that we cannot suggest/request developments. Like you I feel that sometimes we have too much effort in those that do not need it. However, what we have to remember is that we can take a horse to water but we can't make him drink. So we need more time and effort to get those at NGS grade 2 to 8 more able to compete and gain enjoyment from bridge.

    In a way I think that is why we teach. We see big and small improvements all the time, we also see little and big failures but we still do it. I suspect that most of what we would like can only come from us. The best thing that could happen is more communication and discussion of what works well and what does not work so well and, most importantly, why it didn't work well.

    So keep talking, someone will hear and sometimes they will reply.


  • Titles are already being used for competitions, but I feel inconsistently, I would not think of a J grade as intermediate for instance and who do you define as an "Improver" a club player looking to become an expert? In establishing competitions the EBU/Counties need to be more consistent in how they define the level of bridge that the competition is aimed. They currently call it one thing then look to define it further by reference to Master points and NGS grade.
    "more able to compete and gain enjoyment from bridge." I think most players enjoy playing at what ever level. Those with a little more personal drive may wish to raise their NGS level and take steps to achieve the higher grades.
    The analysis suggests that teachers should be looking at courses to bring on NGS 2-5 towards the "club" group, the most populous. and then take the Club group towards the Advanced/Expert group. Do you know of any courses that aim to do this? Scope for the EBED and Teachers?
    I don't know about your county but I do think that some do not do enough to attract new players to county competition. The only information about the competition being the date, venue and application form and it will be run as a "Swiss Teams and Swiss Pairs, stratified, Point-a-Board " (what ever they may be! )(EBU usually define these details) but no details of the procedures, registration room size etc until after you enter for the event.

  • I must be living in a different world juts found this
    Really Easy Weekends
    'House parties', designed for novice players of up to approximately 5 years experience. Players are probably below the rank of Master and lower than a Jack on the NGS scale.
    A grade 10 = Novice. I would have thought there would a very wide range of ability here and at what point are you not a novice.

  • I understand what you mean John but the problem is where do you start. Trying to encourage the "club" player to join the "County" competitions will take a big change in attitude and understanding how the "club" player feels about competition. Some are unhappy to play more than 25/27 boards in a session. Some just want a "social" time when it suits them. Also some, with a J NGS grade may be that high because of their partner. My partner and I vary between 10 and Jack. Our biggest drop was a club session in that we did nothing wrong but our opponents reached the correct contracts. To sum it up one pair played in 2 spades making 11 tricks and had a discussion about why they didn't bid game. Then the bridgemate showed that they had 100% because no pair had bid 4S and most had bid 3NT which had no chance. Played correctly by declarer 11 tricks always makes, nothing we can do. That was it all night.
    So in my opinion we have to help all players up to jack (at least). How we do it is the big question. As I said before hores and water come to mind.
    Just a thought, if eveyone is "expert" then club nights should result in 50% being the end result for every pair. The NGS should see everyone being close to 50% or NGS grade of 8.

    Any way teaching tonight so will try to get more "club" players on the go.


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