At the outset, the teams were divided into three sections of ten, ten and nine, from each of which the two top teams would qualify for the play-off rounds. It was decided that three of the four American teams (to be chosen by lot) would join Italy, France and Great Britain as the top seeded teams in each section.
Each team would meet every other team in its group in a 40-board match. The two top-ranking teams in each group would then enter a six-team round robin final of 60-board matches.
Italy (Walter Avarelli, Giorgio Belladonna, Eugenio Chiaradia, Pietro Forquet, Giancarlo Manca and Roberto Bianchi) and Spingold 1 (Oswald Jacoby, Ira Rubin, Sam Stayman, Morton Rubinow, Victor Mitchell and Bill Grieve) were assigned to the nine team section, in which each team had a bye-round. Vanderbilt 1 (John Crawford, Tobias Stone, B. Jay Becker, George Rapee, Sidney Silodor and Norman Kay) was drawn into the section with Great Britain (Jeremy Flint, Nico Gardener, Terence Reese, Albert Rose, Boris Schapiro and Ralph Swimer) and Canada; Spingold 2 (Charles Goren, Helen Sobel, Howard Schenken, Harold Ogust, Lew Mathe and Paul Allinger) and Vanderbilt 2 (Don Oakie, Meyer Schleifer, Sidney Lazard, Leonard Harmon, Ivar Stakgold and William Hanna) played in the bracket with France (Pierre Jais, Roger Trezel, Gerard Bourchtoff, Claude Delmouly, Rene Bacherich and Pierre Ghestem).
In the first round Vanderbilt 2 was upset by Lebanon, 65-57, and in the second round they were defeated 53-33 by France. They never recovered.
After the first four rounds, Canada (Eric Murray, Sami Kehela, Percy Sheardown, Bruce Elliott, Harry Bork and Bruce Gowdy) with three wins and a losing tie had beaten Vanderbilt 1 and was firmly in the second qualifying position behind Great Britain. However, after nine rounds of qualifying play, it was the six top-seeded teams who qualified for the play-offs: Italy, France, Great Britain, Spingold 1, Spingold 2 and Vanderbilt 1.