Notes about scoring & movements

updated 10 August 2022


RealBridge uses the Neuberg Formula.

Howell Movement

The Howell movement which is used in RealBridge for tables 2 to 12 can be downloaded here.

The movement is described with numbers denoting pair numbers. Each row in the table denotes a round. In round 1, pair 1 plays pair 2, pair 3 plays pair 4, etc. The first number in the tuple is the NS pair, and the second is EW. 

Sit-outs in VP events

In a Swiss or Round Robin teams, using VPs, with an odd number of teams, sit-out matches are scored as 12 VPs.

Similarly, in a pairs using VPs, with an odd-number of pairs, sit-out matches are scored as 12 VPs.

These results are included in the USEBIO file.

Round Robin (2x1/2)

See here for the multi session round robin guide

  • This Round Robin teams format has a break halfway through the round.
  • After the first half-round has been played, players will be automatically moved back to their home table. The table will indicate the status R1a, and the following icon will appear

  • Once the players have finished discussing the boards, the director can press this button to continue round 1.

  • Note: The timer will start again for each half-round, so make sure the time is set appropriately. For example, if you are playing 16 boards per round, you must set the timer for approximately 55 minutes (the time it takes for 8 boards).


In Swiss teams with an odd number of teams, you can choose to have a triple (that is, a three-way match) each round, instead of a sitout. This is set in Session settings, Options, Swiss: odd number of teams.

How a triple works

While the rest of the teams play a normal Swiss match, the teams in the triple play two half-matches, in a three-team round-robin.

If there are an odd number of boards per round, the teams in the triple play one fewer board. eg:

  • With 8-board rounds, the triple plays 4-board matches.
  • With 7-board round, the triple plays 3-board matches.

The EW pairs in the triple are moved automatically by RealBridge at the start of each half-match.

There is no scoring break between the two half-matches.

No comparisons are visible to the players until they have completed both half-matches.

Boards in the triple

The triple uses the same boards as the rest of the matches, and one extra half-set. The board numbers used are in ascending order, so a team that is not in a triple will miss out some board numbers. eg With 8-board rounds:

  • Boards 1-8: used in the normal matches, and in two of the triple-matches
  • Boards 9-12: used in one of the triple-matches
  • Boards 13-20: used in the normal matches, and in two of the triple-matches
  • Boards 21-24: used in one of the triple-matches


With teams A, B and C, with 8-board rounds:

First half-match:

A-NS vs C-EW
Boards 1-4

B-NS vs A-EW
Boards 5-8

C-NS vs B-EW
Boards 9-12

Second half-match:

A-NS vs B-EW
Boards 5-8

B-NS vs C-EW
Boards 9-12

C-NS vs A-EW
Boards 1-4

Who plays in the triple?

The system assigns the lowest-scored teams to the triple, except that if possible it avoids:

  • a team playing the same opponents twice, or
  • a team playing in the triple twice.

As with standard Swiss assignments, you can see who will play in the triple using the Show Draw button in the Advanced menu. For example:

Board-A-Match (BAM) Teams

  • These are scored using the European PAB method
    (0 = Loss, 1 = Draw, 2 = Win).
  • BAM teams can be played as either a Head-to-head, Round-robin, or Swiss movement.
  • The USEBIO button generates an extra pair of files with "_pairs" in the name which are the event re-scored as matchpoint pairs. This is necessary for some national ratings systems.
  • In some countries, Board-a-Match is called Point-a-Board.

RealBridge Lounge

In Session settings choose Practice. Choose typically either 20, or 32 boards. Choose 1 round. Add some tables. Name them if you want. Open and start the session as normal. Players can join and sit in the seats. If you need to add more tables, you can do via the normal functionality for adding late tables. The logging system only charges for tables that were used.

Teams of 8

(updated 25 January 2022)

Teams of 8 or more is played between two (or more) large teams. Each team is made up of several teams of four (“constituent teams”). Each constituent team plays a match against each of the opposing constituent teams. In this example, the Red Team are sitting at tables 1 and 3. The Blue Team are sitting at table 2 and 4.

1. Getting Started

This is the bare minimum you need to know a teams of 8 session with 2 teams (like the figure above).

To make a simple teams of 8 session:

  1. Create a new session
  2. Upload this config file (right-click and save)
  3. Rename the tables (IMPORTANT: Please read naming conventions below)
  4. Set number of boards per round (IMPORTANT: boards per round is the number of boards played in total between round 1a and 1b. If the number of boards per round is set to 10, the number of boards played in 1a will be 5 and 1b will be 5. If the number of boards per round is 9, then there will be 5 boards in round 1a and 4 boards in 1b.)
  5. Set the timer (IMPORTANT: The timer is set for a half-round or a "stanza". If the timer is set for 14m, there will be 14m for round 1a and another 14m for round 1b.)
  6. (Optional) Select VPs
  7. Open session and start when ready.

(Note: No players will ever need to leave their seats.)

Naming conventions

The overall team name is constructed from similar components in the table names. For example, if there are tables with the names "Manchester A" and "Manchester B", the overall team name is "Manchester". It is only the first part of the name in common that is used. This means the following naming conventions will NOT work "A:Manchester" and "B:Manchester" as there is no similar component at the beginning of the name. Finally, the way that RealBridge constructs the overall team name is based on the big team size and spacing elements. If you are using the Getting Started config file, this is straightforward as the team names are already included. You can simply change the first part of the team name to personalise it.

2. Terminology

Team – Made up of several constituent teams, for example, players from a particular club. Eight or more players per team.

Constituent team – A team of four, forming part of the larger team. This is different from a standard round-robin where each group of four is a team of its own.

3. Example of movement for constituent team 1

Note: The numbering of the constituent teams in this section is the same as the table number.

  1. In round 1a, the North-South pair (NS) from constituent team 1 will play the East-West pair (EW) from constituent team 2.
  2. In round 1b, the NS pair from constituent team 1 will play the NS pair from constituent team 2.
  3. In round 2a, the NS pair from constituent team 1 will play the NS pair from constituent team 4.
  4. In round 2b, the NS pair from constituent team 1 will play the EW pair from constituent team 4.

4. Set up

  1. Create a normal session and distribute links normally.
  2. Various options for configurations are in the appendix below. Adjust the config file with any changes you would like to make.
  3. Upload the config file using the Advanced button.

5. Play

  1. When you are ready for participants to join, open the session.
  2. Ensure players sit at the correct tables in their constituent teams. (Players should not be sitting with opponents before the Start of Round 1)
  3. When you are ready, click Start Round 1.

6. Teams of more than 8

You can set up the config file for teams of as many players as you like, for example, the figure below shows teams of 12.

7. Simple Scoring

There are three supported methods of scoring supported by RealBridge. To select a scoring method, you must change the big_team_scoring to the USEBIO descriptor: "ximps", "imps" or "agg". 


Main method

Further IMP and VP comments

USEBIO descriptor


Example event


X-IMP, then add

1.       X-IMP within the team. Every pair compares its scores with two separate team-mates.

2.       Add all the XIMPs for all pairs.

Option to convert to VPs after each round



·   Tollemache


IMP, then add

1.       Scoring initially as two teams-of-4.

2.       Then adding the net IMPs won or lost by each such team.

Option to convert to VPs after each round



·   Garden Cities

·   Presidents Cup

·   IBU Interprovincial Championship

·   WBU National Teams-Of-Eight-Final


Add, IMP at the end

1.       Add up scores for each board.

2.       Then IMP each board.

Standard IMP




·   Eastern Counties League

Details expressed as formula (from White Book, section 3.7.2)

In the calculations, team A play team X; when team A are N/S their results are A and B, when team X are N/S their results are X and Y

Method 1 (X-IMP, then add)

Normal score on the board = imp(A − X) + imp(B − X) + imp(A − Y) + imp(B − Y)

Method 2 (IMP, then add)

Normal score on the board = imp(A − X) + imp(B − Y)

Method 3 (Add, IMP at the end)

Normal score on the board = imp(A − X + B − Y)

8. Appendix: Config File

There are several ways in which you can set up this session. The standard way would be as follows:

For two teams of eight.

  "auto_compass_switch": 1,
  "big_team_size": 8,
  "big_team_spacing": 2,
  "big_team_scoring": "imps",
  "scoring_break": true,
  "scoring_method": 17,
  "num_tables": 4,
  "team_names": [ "Home A", "Away A", "Home B", "Away B" ],
  "match_assignments": [
    [ 2, 1, 4, 3 ],
    [ 4, 3, 2, 1 ]
  "num_rounds": 2

Download Config File (Right-click and save)

The match assignments here follow the example given in Section 1. 

If you are running a session with teams of more than 8, you will need to change big_team_size and big_team_spacing. 

big_team_size is the number of players in the entire team. For example, in teams of 8, the big_team_size is 8. 

big_team_spacing is essentially the number of entire teams. If you have 2 teams of 8, leave the big_team_spacing at 2. If you have for example 6 teams of 8, you should change big_team_spacing to 6. This means that every 6th table will be on the same team. 

Please note, for any teams of 8 or more session, the correct match_assignments will need to be included. The following are the correct movements for a 2 teams of 12 and teams of 16 event. 

Teams of 12 (Two Teams)

Teams of 16 (Two Teams)



Full PBN File

For the full PBN file (which contains the bidding and play at each table):

  • The Round tag is included in the file (except in head-to-head teams).
  • For teams sessions:
    • The Room tag is included. This is set to “Open” for the higher-numbered table, and “Closed” for the lower-numbered table.
    • HomeTeam is set to the team that is North-South at the “Open” table
    • AwayTeam is set to the team that is North-South at the “Closed” table

Note: The “Home” and “Away” designations are just arbitrary values that are assigned in the PBN file, for compatibility with other systems. They do not affect any functionality within RealBridge.

Example of team data

Table and teams

RealBridge Full PBN

Table 1:

NS = London

EW = Paris

[Table "1"]

[Room "Closed"]

[HomeTeam "Paris"]

[VisitTeam "London"]

Table 12:

NS = Paris

EW = London

[Table "12"]

[Room "Open"]

[HomeTeam "Paris"]

[VisitTeam "London"]

Special extra data in "PBN with Play"

The "PBN with play" file contains extra data in a comment line starting with “% RBDATA”. This is used to record additional information about the play, outside the scope of the PBN spec. The information included is:

  • RealBridge contract. This includes all variations of artificial score.
  • RealBridge pair no. This is invariant even if the spelling of a player’s name changes or a substitute player is used.
  • Time taken for each action.

This is mainly intended for use when the file is imported into another RealBridge session, but consumers of the PBN file are welcome to use it. For further information please contact

If a result in the PBN file was an external result created by import from an input PBN file, the PBN record contains the comment “% RBIMPORT”. This is used by RealBridge to avoid duplicating a result with bi-directional imports. Consumers of the data may find this useful to avoid ingesting a result that had originally been imported from another session.