|TEAM - OF - 4|
Most of us are familiar with Bridge being played by "teams of 2"; that is, two people on one team versus two people on another team. But there is a way of playing Bridge with four people on one team. Obviously they will not be playing against each other. Then how is this done?
One Team-of-4 will have to play against another team of 4. That is done by having half of one team (2 people) play against half of another team (2 people). Let's say TEAM X (4 people) is playing against TEAM Y (4 people). At TABLE 1, half of TEAM X will sit N/S, playing against half of TEAM Y sitting E/W. And at TABLE 2, the other half of TEAM X will sit E/W, playing against the other half of TEAM Y sitting N/S. See figure 12. Each team plays the same hand from both directions; one half sitting N/S and the other half sitting E/W.
The tables are set, half of one team playing against half of the other team. But how is the scoring done? Simple; after the hand (or hands) the SCORES from each table are compared.
EXAMPLES: See figure 13.
Hand 1.TEAM X at TABLE 1 bids 3 $ and makes 4 for a SCORE of 170. TEAM Y plays this hand at a later date (hopefully within the hour) at TABLE 2, and also bids 3 $, but makes only 3 for a SCORE of 140. The SCORES of the hands are compared: TEAM X won this board by a SCORE of 30 points (170 -140).
Hand 2.TEAM Y at TABLE 1 bids 3 ! making 3 (for a SCORE of 140); and TEAM X at TABLE 2 also bids 3 ! and makes 3 (for a SCORE of 140). The SCORES of the hands are compared: both teams made the same amount and there is a tie or a push.
Hand 3. TEAM X at TABLE 1 bids 2 No Trump and makes 4 for a SCORE of 180 points, and TEAM X at TABLE 2 set TEAM Y one trick at 3 # for a SCORE of 100 points. The SCORES of the hands are compared: TEAM X made 180 + 100 or 280 points.
To compare SCORES E/W players on both teams must return with a copy of the SCORES to their home table (where their N/S partners are sitting).
|TYPES OF GAMES
Team-of-4 is becoming ever more popular. For one thing only 8 bodies are needed to play. Once the realm of International or prestigious National competition, Team-of-4 is becoming a major happening in every tournaments. And there is something for everybody; events are offered at different levels from novice to stratum A. Even some local clubs run Team-of-4 games as a break from pair events. As we will see later, Team-of-4 is not playing against a field of players, but against a specific team. It is truly the mano e mano of Bridge competition.
SWISS TEAMS: These are Team-of-4 events
that usually consist of eight matches of seven boards per match for a total
of 56 boards.
BOARD-A-MATCH: This is a Team-of-4 tournament
run like a pair event with a Mitchell or a Howell movement. Boards move
down, E/W move up in the Mitchell movement. In the Howell follow the guide
cards. One half of the team sits N/S and the other half E/W. Both halves
of course never play each other. Each team will play both sides of the
board at some time during the tournament.
KNOCKOUT TEAM-OF-4: Like any other Team-of-4
event, Knockout involves one team going head-to-head against another team.
With Knockout however, the losing team is "knocked out" or eliminated from
the tournament. * Something like a tennis tournament: the loser loses.
* If there are an odd number of teams there is a "round robin" between 3 teams. Then it is possible for a team to lose a match and "not" be knocked out. Also in some tournaments losers will play against losers for a runner up position.
IMPs - a mischievous child; little creatures who run around and destroy peoples picnics; young demons; a devil's offspring; a method of scoring at Team-of-4 events that reduce large swings.
It is the last definition that we are concerned with. Up until 30 years ago Team-of-4 matches were scored using net total points. (In some events, this method is still used.) The team with the highest SCORE won. Why not? However, a team could be doing great then blow one hand and give the opponents a large SCORE. This large negative SCORE will more than wipe out all the good little positive SCORES. How to prevent large swing hands from determining the outcome of the match? Answer: IMPs - International Match Points. IMPs round out or smooth the scoring curve. * Let's see how these little demons operate.
First let's look at the old way: net total points. In figure 14 if we consider total points, then TEAM A on Hand 1 has +460 points at TABLE 1 and +100 points at TABLE 2. The net total SCORE for TEAM A on Hand 1 is 460 + 100 or 560 points.
On Hand 2, TEAM B made 300 points at TABLE 1 and lost 120 points at TABLE 2. The net total SCORE for TEAM B on Hand 2 is 300 - 120 or 180 points.
On Hand 3 TEAM B made 140 points at TABLE 1 and made 100 points at TABLE 2. The net total SCORE for TEAM B on Hand 3 is 140 + 100 or 240 points. Hand 4 was a tie or a push.
The total net SCORE for TEAM B on both Hand 2 and Hand 3 is 180 + 240 or 420 points. TEAM A however, on Hand 1 made 560 points. This puts TEAM A ahead by 560 - 420 or 120 points. Even though TEAM B did very well on Hands 2 and 3, they still lost because of the big swing on Hand 1.
* Some Board-a-Match games use IMPs.
|The big swing on Hand 1 did it. But now
let's IMP it, that is convert the net points on each hand to IMPs. For
Hand 1 take the net total points for TEAM A of 560 and look that number
up on the IMP scale in figure 15. The IMP scale can be found inside the
convention card where the private score is kept. Going down the column
marked Diff. In Pts. (for 560 is the difference in points between
TABLE 1 and TABLE 2), we see that 560 falls between the numbers 500 - 590.
That range equals 11 IMPs. So TEAM A is plus 11 IMPs.
Now IMP TEAM B (or IMP TEAM A but consider it negative IMPs). In Hand 2 there was a net SCORE for TEAM B of +180 points which translates on the IMP scale to +5 IMPs. (180 is between 170 and 210.) Do the same for Hand 3. The total net SCORE of + 240 for TEAM B is between 220 - 260 which translates on the IMP scale to +6 IMPs. Total IMPs for TEAM A is 11 IMPs; total IMPs for TEAM B is 5 + 6 or 11 IMPs. So even though TEAM A got a high SCORE on Board 1 (high enough to win when considering net total points), when converting all the SCORES to IMPs, there is a tie: 11 IMPs each. The IMPs smoothed out the big swings and reduced their influence.
HANDICAPPING & VICTORY POINTS: Suppose
during a Swiss Team-of-4 event one team scores and unusually high amount
of IMPs. They are playing against very weak opponents and let's say score
over 50 IMPs. This is certainly not fair to the rest of the contesting
* A win of 28 IMPs or more is known as a Blitz.
TEAM-OF- 4 STRATEGY
PLAY OF THE HAND: Even though every IMP
is important and counted, do not lose sight of the big picture: get a positive
score. Over tricks are good to have (especially in close matches) and if
they are there certainly take them. But do not jeopardize the contract
for an over trick. In pair games in certain situations it should be done,
but NOT in Team-of-4. This means that the Declarer should take every precaution
by taking every possible safety play.
DEFENSE: In pair games Defense is complicate
because you might have to let Declarer make the contract in order
to be sure you get the tricks that you are entitled to. That is. Sometimes
you concede the contract to prevent the over trick. At Team-of-4 as mentioned
earlier, relative small swings are insignificant. Thus the primary objective
of Team-of-4 Defense is: to set the contract. What ever it takes and at
all costs: set the contract.
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