Pairs versus Teams

Jenny Smith, Nea McGinness, Ros Hart, Susan Goddard.

Dealer: S Vul: Nil


♠ K42

♥ J863

♦ 72

♣ 10432


♠ AQ8 ♠ J9765

♥ AK4 ♥ 975

♦ K ♦ 10543

♣ AJ9865 ♣ 7


♠ 103

♥ Q102

♦ AQJ986

♣ KQ

Pairs versus teams: which is fairer and which requires greater skill from the players? There is no easy answer. One response would be that each requires a different set of skills. One big difference is that in pairs contests each pair’s score is ranked against that of all other pairs, whereas in teams scores are compared with only one other table. Look at the effect that an anomalous bid can have in a pairs competition.

On Board 11 last Friday (above) South routinely opened with 1D, which robbed West of the chance to make a direct bid to show a strong hand. Most Wests chose to bid a simple 2C, which was no way to convince East to enter the auction. Doubling 1D would have been better as it would have forced East to bid spades if North passed. That aside, the three East/West pairs who played in 3C failed by one trick and conceded 50 points. One other pair played in 5C, failed by two tricks and gave their opponents 100 per cent. This also had the effect of lifting the scores of three East/Wests from 50 per cent to 75 per cent and reducing the scores of three North/South pairs by a corresponding amount. That bid of 1D won the auction for a score of plus 90, which was awarded 75 per cent. This further reduced the scores for the other North/South pairs through no fault of their play and gave four East/Wests underserved higher scores. Is it any wonder that some players prefer to play teams?

One cannot blame East, with only one point, from not bidding, but had one East bid spades East could have been declarer in 4S with a good chance of making 10 tricks and consigning their opponents to a score of zero.

Results: Monday,27/11/23 (5 & ½-table Howell): P. Kelly J. Nankervis ((68.2) 1; R. Hart N. McGinness (58.3) 2; N. Bonnell T. Hinde (57.4) 3; W. Milne J. Sipple (54.6) 4. Friday, 01/12/23 (5-table Mitchell): N/S N. Bonnell B. Bonnell (56.7) 1; J. Rose S. Head (55.2) 2. E/W S. Goddard N. McGinness (55.0) 1; C. Duggan M. Johnston (53.7) 2.