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Butler scoring: what types are there?

by Michael Wilkinson, Sydney, NSW, Australia

with comments by David Stevenson


Ennio Nardullo of Italy asked:

Can you give me some information about the difference between


This was Michael's reply:

Personally I think Cavendish style is the best/fairest. Leaders Butler is a good idea for a field of mixed standard.

Halfway Butler is only fair if

  1. there are two separate fields (NS and EW) with no comparison, or
  2. if you find the average number of IMPs won by each direction during a match and and subtract/add this from the results.


I commented:

If this is correct then Field Butler is what is called Cross-imps everywhere else, and is not a form of Butler at all. For good events I recommend it because the players find it fairest.

Leaders Butler seems very Australian: they commonly use leading scores for comparisons. Halfway Butler seems very strange to me!

Average Butler is the normal type, and I recommend it for less important events. Delete a couple of scores at the top and bottom, average the rest, and you have a datum. The reason I recommend this and not Cross-imps [Field Butler] for lesser events is that players find a datum much easier to understand than the Cross-imps approach.


Michael replied:

Leaders Butler is excellent for fields such as the ASP with an expert top few tables and a large number of tables of poorer standard.

Halfway Butler is just average butler with a large number of scores removed (all but one) - the major advantage is that that the "datum" is always a bridge score. This also means that bidding a game is worth 10 IMPs vulnerable instead of more.

Example 620 * 4 tables, 170 * 3 tables
Halfway = 620Average (Removing Top/Bottom) = 440
Halfway ScoringAverage Scoring
Bidding Game = 0Bidding Game = +5
Missing Game = -10Missing Game = +7
Net Gain = 10 IMPsNet Gain = 12 IMPs

The problem with all butler scoring is that the number of IMPs available in one direction is usually greater than the number available in the other direction. Halfway makes this even more the case . . . but with two separate fields - Halfway is an excellent scoring method.


Gopher Editor's note:

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