This is a brief outline of how the Pairs League (LPL) operates in Leicestershire. For the purposes of this summary, a division size of 8 pairs is assumed. For different division sizes, the details vary, but the principles remain the same.
Although players enter as pairs, the scoring is as teams of four, with different “team-mates” for each match. So pairs should be aware that the playing tactics adopted during each round should be that of “teams” bridge not of match pointed pairs.
The event takes place over 5 sessions at roughly monthly intervals. In the first 3 sessions you will play 3 eight board rounds against 3 different opponents. In the 4th session you will play 2 ten board rounds and then a half round of five boards which will be concluded in the 5 th session together with 2 more ten board rounds.
After each round the E/W pairs will go to each of the other tables in turn and score up in teams fashion with the N/S pair there. Teams scoring means that you convert the aggregate on each board to imps, then total the imps for the eight boards and convert to VPs on a 20 point scale. A specially designed score card is provided for this purpose, with pair numbers pre-printed for each round. Thus each for each round, you have effectively played 3 teams of 4 matches with 3 different pairs of “team-mates”.
After scoring at each of the other 3 tables in this fashion, you return to the table where you played the round, and you and your opponents there complete a score slip showing the total VPs for the three matches. This will be a maximum of 60 VPs, and your score will be the ‘opposite’ of your opponents on that round (e.g. if you score 35, they will score 25). If it isn’t, someone has made a mistake, so it’s a useful check.
It is this scoring up at every other table each round that gives the pairs league its unique ‘flavour’ compared to other competition formats.
After scoring up and completing the score slip, you move on to the next round; the movement is pre-printed on your score card. In a session, you will have played 9 such teams of 4 matches, and have a total VP score with a maximum of 180. The director will keep a score sheet for each division showing the results for the session, so you can see how you have done in your division as soon as play has finished. A running league table is maintained on the LCBA website, and the scores are aggregated over the 5 sessions to produce a final league table.
The movement is designed so that after the event is finished, you will have played with each pair in your division an equal number of times as your team-mates, and also against each pair as your opponents an equal number of times, which should make it as fair as possible.