How can I play bridge? Let me count the ways . . .

Besides the "normal" duplicate bridge we play at the club there are a number of other formats, each with its own idiosyncrasies.

See below for more information:

Rubber bridge

Swiss pairs

Swiss Pairs and Swiss Teams are played in several rounds, typically from five to ten, where in each round you play a match typically between 5 and 8 boards against another pair or team and depending on the scores on the boards played you and your opponents share 20 victory points (VP).

The opponents in the first round are usually chosen at random, but after that the Swiss element comes in - for later rounds you are matched against opponents close to you in the ranking list. Now you play another match and carry on for as many matches as there are in the tournament, moving up or down the field at the end of each round. The better you do the tougher your opponents should be.

Normally you can only play against another pair or team once so even if you are leading the field you cannot play against the pair lying second if you have played them before. You will be drawn against the closest contestant you haven't previously played.

The ranking/result at the end of the tournament is determined by VPs gained not matches won. In Swiss Pairs the result of each match is determined from the match points obtained on each board when your score is compared with all the other scores as in a normal pairs event.  

In Swiss Teams the result of each match is determined by comparing your result on each board with the result your partners got playing the same board. The difference in scores is converted to IMPS (International Match Points)

In clubs the normal arrangement is 6 x Eight board rounds played over two sessions. For whole day events it may be 6 x Eight board or 7 x Seven board matches.

Each match is played for 20 Victory Points. 20 VPs are shared between you and your opponents, according to a VP scale, so you might win a match 20-0 or 14-6, draw it 10-10 or lose it 1-19.


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