Bridge: Keeping Track of the Score in Four- Deal Chicago

You and your partner are about to give it a go against a congenial twosome (you hope). The game can last as long as all four players want to continue playing.

In any home game, including Chicago, of course, you may agree to play the whole session with the same partner, which is called a set game. Not all Bridge games are set games because some people like to rotate partners. In any case, the scoring is the same.

Setting up the score sheet and Bridge wheel

In this section we introduce you to the easiest and most popular form of Bridge scoring. But first, someone has to step up to the plate and be the official scorekeeper for your game, and you have been elected!

Dig up a sheet of paper to be your score sheet. Take a look at Figure 6-1 to see what your score sheet looks like, and be sure to include a We and a They. From now on, any plus score your team makes goes under We, and any plus score your opponents make goes under They.

You’re almost ready. Now all you have to do is draw a wheel, which is the indicator of whose turn it is to deal the cards. Most people wouldn’t know it was a wheel unless you told them! Check out Figure 6-1 again to see that all you have to do is draw a large X and call it a wheel. Think of this diagram as four open triangles, each representing a hand you are about to play.

You start by writing a 1 in the triangle directly in front of you. This mark indicates that you are the dealer on the first hand. In fact, you will be the dealer on the first hand of each new wheel. The deal and follow-up deals always rotate to the left in a clockwise manner.

When playing Chicago, as well as when playing in a Bridge tournament, the vulnerability is arbitrarily assigned to you in advance. Yes, in advance!

On deal 1: Neither side is vulnerable.
On deal 2: The dealer’s side only is vulnerable (your opponents).
On deal 3: The dealer’s side only is vulnerable (you and your partner). On deal 4: Both sides are vulnerable.

Keep in mind that the bonuses are different for making not- vulnerable game contracts and slams than they are for making vulnerable game and slam contracts. However, the 50-point bonus for making any partscore contract remains constant irrespective of vulnerability. Flip to the earlier section “Understanding How Bidding and Scoring Are Intertwined” for details on the various bonuses.

Scoring a Chicago wheel

Fun and games are over. Now it’s time to experience playing and scoring your first Chicago wheel! Can you stand all this excitement?

On the very first hand, you’re the dealer, and your side winds up playing a contract of 2♥. By sheer brilliance, you fulfill your contract and take exactly eight tricks. Your trick score is 30 × 2 = 60 + an automatic 50 for bidding and making a partscore contract (review the first half of this chapter for basic and partscore scoring). Drum roll, if you please: Chalk up 110 points and enter them so your score sheet looks like the one in Figure 6-2.

Now you’re on to the second hand, in which the dealer’s side is vulnerable. The person to your left (an opponent) deals the second hand. Before the cards are dealt, put a 2 in the triangle to your left, just as in Figure 6-3.

This time, your opponents get most of the high cards and wind up in 3NT, vulnerable, and make it. They get a 100-point trick score + 500 bonus points for bidding a vulnerable game. Enter 600 points under They, as in Figure 6-3. Oh well, life goes on. In fact it goes on to hand 3, as shown scored up in Figure 6-4.

On hand 3, the dealer’s side (your team) is vulnerable. With both sides bidding, the opponents eventually outbid you buying the contract at 3♠. They need nine tricks but actually take ten! They make an overtrick (an extra trick). Their trick score is 4 × 30 = 120 + 50 (the partscore bonus) = 170. Enter it on the They side, as in Figure 6-4.

Hand 4 is the last hand of the wheel. This time both sides are vulnerable, and your side is behind! You have 110 points on your side and they have 770 on theirs. Not to worry; we’re rooting for you to win. On this last hand, your side bids 6♠, which is a small slam. You make it — with an overtrick! Remember the formula: the trick score (7 × 30 = 210) + the game bonus (500, because you were vulnerable) + the small-slam bonus (750; again, because you were vulnerable), and in one fell swoop you have just made 1,460 points. Enter them on the We side as in Figure 6-5.

After entering the 1,460 points on your side, the first wheel is history. Add up the scores under We (1,570) and under They (770) and calculate the difference, in this case 800. After you have that total, draw a double line under all scores and put 800 directly under the double line on the We side of the ledger (see Figure 6-6). This score represents your carryover (running total) going into the next wheel. Further scores go under the double line on either the We or the They side, and the process is repeated every four deals until quitting time.

The carryover method of scoring is far easier than waiting until the session is over and then adding up all the scores, needing a calculator to see who has actually won! Most Bridge players like to know how they are doing as the play progresses by simply looking at the latest running total

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