Let's Play Teams July 2

I've been looking for just the right time to introduce a team game at BridgeMojo. I think July 2 is that perfect day.

It's the start of the Los Angeles Regional "Bridge Week" in Long Beach, with team events every day.

The Pasadena-San Gabriel Sectional will be playing Swiss Teams on July 29.

It's sort of a holiday week.

Team-of-four games at bridge use somewhat different scoring from the matchpoint pair games we usually play. It's actually much better in terms of "pure bridge." Matchpoint scoring tends to distort and magnify very small differences in score, and reduce the impact of large differences.

For team matches, small differences in score have very little effect (as they should) and large differences can have a major impact. Bidding and making game contracts is important; overtricks hardly matter.

Besides all that, team games are a great way to play bridge at home or anywhere. All you need are some score sheets, a few boards, and two teams (eight bridge players) to go at it.

It's even a very low-tech game: Before each match, we'll shuffle and deal the boards. Everyone keeps score. The Bridgemates stay in the box.

Team games can be played in a knockout format, or a round robin, or an event called "swiss teams" which comes from the swiss-system tournament used for chess and other games (a no-elimination style of tournament).

We can play three swiss-style matches of five boards each on a Monday evening, and I can coach you through the arithmetic involved in the scoring. We'll have "Instant Scorers" for looking up scores. You can put together your own teams, and I can help put teams together. We can even have five-person teams with one player rotating in for a match.

Jeff Grotenhuis of the Agile Bridge Club (another non-Life Master club) says his team games are the most popular events at his club. There's an endorsement.

So what do you say? Are you in?