Bridge from Knockouts to Swiss

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 28, 2008

BY JOHN RANDALL / Guest Columnist

In last week’s column I alluded to a form of bridge called Swiss Teams, which is the movement we used on this past Saturday.

Swiss Teams is a team-of-four competition – one team against another. Team one sends their EW pair to play against team two’s NS and vice versa for team two’s EW pair. Each table has three boards to play. When those are completed, I play caddy and exchange the hands between tables, so each team plays the same six boards. When the six hands are completed, the EW pairs return to their home table and compare scores with their NS friends.

Scoring can be quite wild. Playing board one at table one, the NS team tried for a slam and went down two for -100, but when the board was played at table two the NS team stopped at game and made four for a plus 420 This allowed both the EW and NS pairs for team two to receive plus scores. The raw scores are then converted to International Matchpoints (IMP). In this case +520 equates to 11 IMPs. Bidding three spades and making four is 170, but bidding four spades and making four while vulnerable is 620; a plus 620 and a minus 170 equates to a plus 450 or 10 IMPs. Thus, a premium is placed on bidding and making games. Doubling is discouraged because of the possible downside risk. In a short six-board match, one slip can make a difference.

A Swiss Team game normally consists of four of these mini-matches. The results are put into the computer and the round assignments are made; normally winners play winners, losers play losers. The other form for team games are called Knockouts, where Team A plays twenty-four hands against Team B. As you can see, Swiss Teams is ideal for single event games; Knockouts are better for multiple-event (or multi-day) tournaments.


Thursday: Jerrie Friar and Liz Milko, followed by Susy Philhours and Carolyn Giles, then Judy and Don Hasseld, Judy and David Funk.

Friday: Lanell and Paul Saeger, followed by a tie between Janet Johnson and Barbara Dawson, and Jan Lovorn and Mel Dupris.

Also earning points were Nancy West and Jean Frink, Judy and Don Hasseld, Helen Thrasher and Charlote Lusco, John Lusco and Mac LaCasse, Judy Chase and Bernie Liberman.

Saturday: in the morning session the winning four-person team was Joann Bashinsky, Eddie McDanal, Susy Philhours and Sarah Smith, beating out the team of Janet Johnson, Judy Fair, Judy and Don Hasseld. In the afternoon session the team of Jerrie Friar, Ida Pack, Marilyn Haver and Ruth Allen ran away from the field and second place finishers Jean Frink, Nancy West, Joyce Demboski and Carolyn Giles.

BRIDGE TIP OF THE WEEK: 1NT making two for 120 points is one of the best scores in duplicate bridge. One of the things I preach is the consistency of your simple bids. 1NT = 6-9 HCP with no four-card major suit.

Even if you have seven points and the 5-4-3-2 in hearts, you should bid 1H. Partner may have the A-K-10-9 and has opened 1C because you promise five cards from opener in hearts and spades. You don’t want to miss that eight-card fit!