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Fun night at the Club

by David Stevenson, Donal Lyons, Jens Brix Christiansen & Paul Lamford

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To make a change from the normal weekly duplicate, why not try a Fun Night? You have some boards with different rules, and various prizes. It is very suitable for a Christmas party, or perhaps for Midsummer Day.

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The basic idea

by David Stevenson

Everyone plays three or four board rounds in a normal movement. However one board in each round is a different colour. From experience, it was discovered that a whole evening of special boards is too much, so there is one special board per round. Each special board has a piece of paper with it giving an instruction to be read before the bidding starts. There are three types of special boards:

  1. The rule is known at the start
  2. They bid the hand first then ask the Director for a rule to follow during the play [he has a rule for board 23, and one for board 16, and so on]
  3. A very simple rule is known at the start: after bidding the hand they ask the Director for a rule to follow during the play

We have once had an evening of all special boards so I have many rules!

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Rules for special boards

These are some possible rules:

  1. The rule is known at the start.
  2. They bid the hand first then ask the Director for a rule
  3. A rule at the start: after bidding they ask the Director for another

In all special hands if identical cards are played to a trick, or two wild cards, then the second one played wins it. Any hand that involves swapping cards or places: be very careful that the hand is put right before it is played again: these rules should only be used if curtain cards are used, and players must check their curtain cards at end of hand.

This is not as complicated as it looks, since you will only choose a few rules. Pick the most suitable: rounds of drinks are for clubs where there is a fair amount of drinking: the simplest rules should be used if the players are inexperienced [for example: All bidding and play to be anti-clockwise or: Aces count low].

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Prizes on ordinary boards

On the ordinary boards, not the special ones, competitors can get small prizes by claiming certain things.

These are some possible rules:

  1. Prizes for the first to claim:
  2. Prizes that go on all evening:

Sometimes the items in #1 aren't claimed: when it gets to the last round they should be made easier. No claims can be made on the special boards. There should definitely be one prize that goes on all evening.

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One special night

by Donal Lyons, Dublin, Ireland

Many thanks again for your help with the organisation of our 'Fun Night' - having someone's experience of this sort of thing was great. Generally, it went well I think - I was threatened with being mugged on the way home by a number of players (and we're talking about LARGE women here) but the threat wasn't actually carried out. One of our older and steadier players was asking for the name of a good psychiatrist but won a bottle of wine for winning a trick with the C2, so went away happy.

I simplified the rules as far as possible so that (except in one board) there was just a travelling slip with each board which N was to read out before anyone looked at their cards. This worked well (except that there was a minor panic when one N put a slip somewhere in her handbag and I hadn't brought along a copy of the slips).

The worst score of the night went to 7NT**-10 (Vul) on a hand where NS were normally making 6NT but EW found a 'good' sacrifice. Better declarer play could, I think, have put the hand down 12 rather than 10 but there wasn't any serious threat to winning a bottle of wine for this score. My own 4S*-5 on a fun board only cost 2 MP and was I feel worth it to try to push the opponents to the unmakable 6H that many people arrived at (partner held 7D which became trumps at trick 7).

Only twice during the entire night (16 tables) was a board passed out which was probably poor strategy.

The rule that 7 had to be bid was interesting in that I rigged the hand so that a 7D went off unluckily but 7NT made so the 'obvious' strategy of declarer opening 6NT followed by a double and redouble in an effort to get the opponents into the a priori unlikely grand slam rather than being in it oneself didn't necessarily work. Despite this nobody actually made a contract - the one declarer who did get into the makable 7NT must have misplayed it in some fashion (it may have been one of our novices).

My own normally competent partner was kicking himself for making 2H+1 when he could easily have held himself to 2H for a prize at the expense of very few MP. The trade-off between going for a prize and a good score addded some interest generally.

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Note on every table: Prizes

Seven prizes (10 bottles) - some for a pair, some for individuals. Each prize is a bottle of white wine. No player may win more than one bottle. These prizes apply on the normal boards only, not on the yellow fun boards.

  1. First pair to bid and make a grand slam.
  2. First pair to bid and make a small slam.
  3. First player to score 110 exactly.
  4. First player to win a trick with the C2 in a notrump contract.
  5. First player to have an ace ruffed by the opponents.
  6. First player to go off in a doubled contract.
  7. The pair with the lowest score on any board over the whole evening.

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Note on every table: Yellow Fun Boards

One board of every set is a fun board and will have an enclosure with a rule that must be followed by the players. Play this board as the first board of the set of three, followed by the normal boards. This fun board will be scored as part of the normal competition so do as well as you can on it! There are no prizes on fun boards.

The fun boards are pre-dealt but are mainly boards taken from a normal competition last Spring. The unusual feature is that there is a rule in each that must be followed by all players. This rule is enclosed in the boards and should be read by everyone before taking your cards. A very few have an instruction to just one player - this is written on that player's curtain card and must be followed by that player without it being disclosed in any way to the other players. So check your curtain card!

Some of the rules will make bidding and/or play difficult, so you may be forced at times into a different speed from usual - try to play as evenly as possible and not give information to your partner by your hesitations, inflections or comments.

Gopher Editor's note:

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Slips in each board

Board 1.
The rank of suits/notrumps is reversed in the bidding i.e. 1NT, 1S, 1H, 1D, 1C, 2NT, 2S, 2H, 2D, 2C, 3NT ... 7D, 7C.
Board 2.
Only suits may be bid, notrump bids are not allowed. Passes, Doubles and Re-Doubles are allowed.
Then: The first six tricks are played as normal. From trick 7 onwards, trumps become the other suit of same colour e.g.: If the contract is 4H, then declarer must make 10 tricks with H as trumps for tricks 1-6 and with D as trumps for tricks 7-13 (scoring is done in the usual way for a 4D contract).
Board 3.
All bidding and play is to be anti-clockwise.
Board 4.
Any Two can be played at any time.
Board 5.
All the cards are reversed: twos are highest, then threes, ... , aces are lowest.
Board 6.
North and West swap places, before taking out their cards, just for this board. North/South are still partners even though they are sitting next to each other. Ditto for East/West.
Make sure you put the correct hands back in the correct pockets at the end!
Board 7.
After someone wins a trick, their partner leads to the next one.
Board 8.
Each player's first bid must be in a suit with less than four cards.
Board 9.
The first bid must be at the 2-level.
Board 10.
The only call North is allowed to make is Pass.
Board 11.
West's first call must be Pass.
Board 12.
Look at your cards initially, then you must put them face down on the table for the entire auction.
Board 13.
No player is allowed to pass until someone at the table has made a bid at the 7 level. Doubles and Re-Doubles are allowed at all stages of the bidding.
Board 14.
Every time you make a call other than Pass, you must place one card of your choice face up, clearly visible to everyone, on the table in front of you. When you Pass, you do not put a card on the table. After the bidding is complete, everyone picks up their own cards and play then continues as normal.
Board 15.
No player is allowed to Pass unless the last positive bid was a Re-double.
Board 16.
N/S can only bid red suits: E/W can only bid black suits. Neither pair is allowed to bid no-trumps. Passes, Doubles and Re-Doubles are allowed.
Board 23.
The two of each suit has been replaced by an extra ace of that suit, so the pack has 8 aces and no twos.
If identical aces are played on a trick, the first one played is considered to be the two of the suit and the second the ace. Otherwise, tricks are won as normal.

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HCØ bridge club's annual fall season fun night

by Jens Brix Christiansen, Denmark

At the HCØ bridge club's annual fall season fun night, the following rules were played.

  1. N and W are partners against E and S.
  2. Declarer's vulnerability as marked on the board governs the score.
  3. The score slips have columns for N-W and E-S.
  4. Opening lead to be made by the defender who sits under his partner.
  5. As always, dummy's hand is faced immediately after the opening lead.

Otherwise, we played straight Laws of Duplicate. If the TD found it necessary to apply a novel interpretation of some law because the partners are not sitting opposite each other, this was considered a point of law, and the AC was reminded that it may thus not overrule the TD in such cases.

We played a Mitchell movement with N-W stationary; prizes to best N-W pair as well as best E-S pair. We allowed and recommended that the players in a partnership swap roles between some of the rounds.

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Some odds and ends

At the HCØ Bridge Club in Copenhagen, we have one of your small prizes instituted permanently: Highest overall score on any board in a session wins a round of drinks to the scoring pair, payable on the next night. No prize if there is a tie.

Our last session in December usually involves a short tournament of approx 15 special boards. My favorite is where the defenders must lead D whenever they are on lead and have D left (this rule is known to everyone before the tournament begins)

Many players in our area (however that is delimited) play that if partner makes the last trick with the D7, you must buy him a drink, and if plays the D7 to the last trick but it does not win the trick he must buy you a drink. As usual, declarer is responsible for dummy's cards. It is understood that you must not jeopardize a trick in order to earn the prize or avoid losing the penalty.

This tradition is reminiscent of the well-known card game tarok: it averages at about one round of drinks per 32-board match.

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Another set of special rules

by Paul Lamford, London, England, UK

This set of rules is available as a downloadable Word file so the slips to be put in each board may be printed out - see below.

The following rules are opened before the bidding:

Board 1/19
The dealer is a member of the silent Eustacian order and will pass throughout.
Board 3/21
All bids must be made at a level higher than the previous one. (e.g. 1C2D3H) Doubles and Redoubles are normal.
Board 5/23
No bid at any stage of the auction can be made in a suit in which the bidder possesses four or more cards.
Board 7/25
The final contract will be doubled and redoubled and then scored accordingly.
Board 9/27
Each player is only allowed one call (i.e. the auction lasts exactly four calls).
Board 11/29
Hesitations and misuse of stop cards and alert cards are allowed. Players can can (briefly) discuss the extra meanings.
Board 13/31
The dealer must open 1NT. Thereafter all players can bid as they wish.
Board 15/33
No opening bid is allowed holding 10 or more high-card points. Players must not indicate this is why they are passing!
Board 17/35
The rank of the suits for the auction is reversed (no-trumps lowest) but play and scoring is the same.

The following rules are opened after the bidding and before the play:

Board 2/20
Dummy will play its own cards (with no prompting from declarer).
Board 4/22
The final contract is changed to (and scored as) 2NT doubled and redoubled.
Board 6/24
The rank of the cards is changed (ace low, two high) and play continues on that basis but the contract is the same.
Board 8/26
Declarer is aiming to go down in his or her contract and the defence are trying to force him or her to make it. Match-point scoring is therefore reversed. No revokes!
Board 10/28
The partner of the player (including dummy) who wins a trick must lead to the next trick.
Board 12/30
Declarer and dummy must place their cards face up after the opening lead is made. Thereafter play is normal.
Board 14/32
Play is anti-clockwise throughout. The person to the right of the declarer makes the opening lead. Usual penalties for leads or plays out of turn!
Board 16/34
The opening lead must be selected at random (the person on lead shuffles his or her cards and dummy picks one!) Thereafter play is normal.
Board 18/36
Dummy's cards (without being shown) are exchanged with the partner of the opening leader. Thereafter play is normal. After the play they need to be exchanged back.

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Downloadable version

To get a downloadable version, right-click on the link below, and then click on "Save Link As" or "Save Target As". Once you have downloaded the file, unzip it and then print it using Word. By printing the second page on the back of the first page, and so on, you will get a set of slips suitable for putting in the various boards.

WinZipIf you do not have a facility to unzip documents then you should download an evaluation copy of WinZip which is available at the WinZip site

 

Download Fun Night document

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Gopher Editor's note:

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