Breedge (and a variety of bridges)

by Lukasz Pikier Sławinski

(1) Do we really need vulnerability?

One may wonder whether it's not advisable to get rid of favorable and unfavorable vulnerabilty, which is merely an awkward relic of rubber bridge; it's hard to find anything sensible or entertaining in keeping this distinction.

(2) Don't hide the played cards

Forcing people to remember (for a few minutes only!) all the cards played is pure malice. It's absurd, too, since "What man has revealed let no man hide again." Take a look at how they dealt with this problem in the Roman Empire: Claudius and Messalina. (See: link) Unfortunately, with screens it's not fully possible.

(3) Imps, VP's or something better?

There is no need to apply any special and artificial points such as imps. It's much better to count what is left after taxation from a simple formula 1000*B/(1000+B) where B = Balance for the winners. Thermes of Caracalla is relevant. (See: link)

The same applies to VP's. It will be far more convenient to distribute 100 percent between both sides instead of 30 VP's. Here goes the formula for the winners: 50+100*B/(1000*R+B) where R = the square root of the number of deals.

Thus, we need only a calculator and a simple formula instead of complex tables to count the match result.

(4) Let's do away with a redouble

Having its origins in gambling, a redouble is just an attempt to up the ante, totally unsuitable for bridge; however, it is used in bidding mostly for this sole purpose.

(5) Peakyearing

All the methods used for calculating tournaments' results have been faulty! They do not account for the fact that the points scored against weak players are worth less than those won against a strong opposition. Therefore, tournaments' results should additionally be adjusted according to the algorithm "Peakyearing" (See: link).

(6) Fibonacci Scoring

Since the majors are privileged as they outrank the minors in the bidding, they should be awarded fewer contract points in order to level the playing field. Surprisingly, it's the other way 'round(!?). Let's try (at least partially) to restore justice:

Bonus for the contracts won (irrespective of the rank):

1: 100; 2: 200; 3: 300; 4: 500; 5: 800; 6: 1300; 7: 2100.

Doubled undertricks:

Down 1: 100; down 2: 300 (= 100+200); down 3: 600 (= 100+200+300); etc.

Undoubled undertricks: 50 each

Overtricks: 50 each

(7) Ranking of suits - is it necessary?

It's not enough to introduce the Fibonacci Scoring if we wish to put a stop to discrimination of suits. We must do away with ranking of suits, which can be done by the introduction of this simple rule: It is allowed to outbid any call on the same level with any suit, under the condition that that suit hasn't been bid earlier.

Can you imagine how pleasant it would be to bid one heart after partner's one-spade opening holding a hand such as:

x x   K J x x x   A x x   x x x.

And then to hear one spade from him or her.

(8) Individuals against cheating

Switching sport bridge to individual tournaments is the only inexpensive and convenient chance to eliminate cheating&emdash;true, not in 100 percent of the cases; however, statistically speaking, 99 percent seems to be satisfying enough.

What about the Bermuda Bowl? No problem; we may assume that the team's final score will be the sum of the results of its four best players.

(9) No double, no trouble

Bridge may perfectly well do without doubles as such: The undertricks will be counted as if the contract had been doubled. (That's how they played before 1914, under the name S.A.C.C.)

For those who love takeout doubles and might feel totally helpless without them, we will introduce an additional bidding option that will function as a takeout double:

It is possible to outbid the opponents by repeating their last call.

For example: South: one heart; West: one heart; or, South: one heart; West: pass; North: pass; East: one heart.

(10) No points for overtricks

Since we play "contract bridge," we should award points only for what has been contracted, especially as it will simplify and speed up the game.

Anyway, is it worth bothering with such trifles as overtricks?

The very essence of matchpoints is that all the deals are equally important. There is much sense in it and a lot of appeal. Nevertheless, the method currently used has one inherent nonsensical property: Even the smallest advantage may have the same value as the biggest. (Have you ever heard about a business like that?)

It can be done in a different way: harmonization in scoring, using NAP's, which stands for NApoleon's Points, based on an obviously-fictional story that attributes this idea to the Emperor of the French (see: http://pikier.com/bridgewars/Scoring/deal.htm).

(12) Should dummy go down first?

In other words,should the first lead, the only "blind" one, be made in the same circumstances (i.e., with the defender seeing the dummy) as the more numerous other leads and discards?

Perhaps it's worth making this sacrifice to simplify the game. Even with such a change, bridge will still be difficult, perhaps too difficult for some.

(13) Changing Partnership

Does it really need to be that the players facing one another must be partners? Let's do it in such a way that the partnership may be formed by any two players, as it was practised by Emperor Aurelian already in the year 270 in Aurelian's Restitution. See: http://pikier.com/bridgewars/Roman/Aurelian's%20Restitution/index.htm)

Bridge will become far more exciting, because it will certainly be more-often possible for everyone to participate in the bidding and, what's more, higher contracts will become a common occurrence. In addition, sort of by the way, almost all unnatural methods will be eliminated from the bidding, which is quite convenient, isn't it?

Here go the specific rules:

I. Forming the partnership

Players become partners the moment they find an agreed trump suit (or notrump). If the same suit has been biden by three or four players, the partners are those who bid the suit (or notrump) as the first and the last.

II. Repetition

It's possible to outbid by repeating the same contract, on condition the player has not bid the suit earlier. (Moreover, as I postulated, it is possible to do it by bidding any suit (or notrump) on the same level if nobody has yet made such a call.)

III. Who will become the dummy

If the declarer has formed a partnership, then his partner becomes the dummy automatically. If a partnership has been formed by two players not including the declarer, then the fourth player becomes the dummy. In case no partnership has been formed, the dummy is the player who entered the auction as the first one, or, if nobody else has made any bid, the player facing the declarer.

IV. Swapping places

If the dummy is not sitting opposite the declarer, before the first lead he must swap places with the player facing the declarer.

V. The score

If the dummy is not the declarer's partner, then he is treated as one of the three opponents, i.e., he wins or loses one-third of the points.

*

I use the term "breedge" to denote bridge with all the changes I proposed above. The rules of breedge are far simpler, therefore more logical. Moreover, breedge itself triggers almost fully natural bidding (benefits obvious). Finally, it eliminates this nightmarish cheating. I suppose it's good enough!

Certainly, the way from bridge to breedge might be divided into a few stages (for instance, one change a year). It's possible to play several variants at the same time (will it hurt anyone?). For example, an online site might introduce an option of playing a chosen variant, as a player wishes.

It is hard to count on any initiative on the part of bridge organizations, since the moment they have issued their rules, codes and regulations, they invariably close their minds to any other possibilities or novelty (or, not infrequently, impede any attempt to put it into practice).

What about you, the players? Do you seriously believe that in this best of all worlds you play the best version of bridge possible?

Years ago, I believed so myself.

I have dealt with each and every aspect of the game. I adopted a critical view and tried to introduce to bridge something new and better, like weak opening systems, algorithms of naturality, and systems in defense. One day, however, I took a look at the very rules and common practices. There is so much illogicality in them and so much stupidity that I must shout out loud: Bridge is ill and in need of therapy.

ESOTERICA

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