Seven Notrump

In which some people who play bridge blog about it.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Bryan's asterisk

We often seem to have six players for rubber bridge, which is not ideal. Alexa proposed a handy system for three-way rubbers, wherein the six players form into three partnerships, A, B, and C, and each partnership takes turns sitting out a hand while the other two compete.

Bryan improved upon this system with his invention of the asterisk formation, a way of seating three partnerships at an ordinary rectangular table, so that their axes intersect at sixty-degree angles. Each partnership can stay seated while not playing, while the other pairs comfortably play around them.

In order to keep the deal rotating properly, each partnership should sit out the hand immediately after the one which it deals. This means that the first partnership deals one hand and then sits out. After that, each partnership gets to play two consecutive hands (of which they deal the second) before sitting out. So, starting with partnership A dealing and C sitting out, the deal proceeds:

C team sits out, A1 deals
A team sits out, B1 deals
B team sits out, C1 deals
C team sits out, A2 deals,
A team sits out, B2 deals
B team sits out, C2 deals

The rubber scoring grid has three columns, headed with each partnerships' names, but otherwise functions normally. When tallying the rubber's total score, the winning partnership receives positive points and the other two partnerships receive negative points, so a three-way rubber, unlike a normal rubber, is not zero-sum. The only other lingering issue is the C declarer's long reach across the table to reach the dummy hand. Any suggested improvements to this system are welcome.


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