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Mathews Duplicate Bridge Club

Notice re Bridge Classes

After an eight year run, we have decided to cancel the Bridge Lab classes at the Bay School. It has been a lot of fun, but as they say, all good things.....

However, classes at the Gloucester Library will continue and are going well.  Beginner classes are on the third Thursday, 1 p.m., and intermediate classes on the fourth Thursday, also 1 p.m. Contact Tom for more details, or if you want to be on (or off) the email lists.


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News Page
This page has information and news of interest to the members. For a full list of forthcoming events, see "Calendar" on the menu and for a list of results see "Results".
  Scenes from Our Games
   Club Champions - June, 2010

Betsy presents the huge Club Championship trophies to Nina and Pete at the June 23rd game. The Guys won in a squeaker over Jeanine and Jay on June 9th.

Nice going, Guys!

Volunteers Needed?  Hmmm.  How about someone learning to be backup Director or Scorer?

   Gwynn's Island Game - June 9, 2010

The board's been played, everyone looks happy, hard to tell who won.

Was it Libby with her favorite partner Van?  Or Jackie playing for the first time with Janet?

   Thursday Irregulars - June 3, 2010

April 28
Deep in thought, and deep in the chairs of the Chart Room of the White Dog Inn. 

Jackie and Susan are about to start the next board against two of our Williamsburg guests, Sam and Sandy.

Sam runs a great game in Williamsburg, every Friday morning. See his website at

   Gwynn's Island Game - May 26, 2010

April 28
Jeanine has just presented our gifts to Director Emeritus Norris and Scorer Emerita Judy.

Norris wastes no time celebrating the fact that he has no more rulings to make!

   Thursday Irregulars at the White Dog - May 20, 2010

April 28
Always great to see our friends from Williamsburg at the game.

This time it is visitors Vivian and Peggy taking a break from their match with regulars Jan and Renee.

Nice smiles!

   Gwynn's Island Game - May 12, 2010

April 28
Good to see Dave back with his favorite partner Janine.

And our newest player Janet scored well this week with Jan.

  Gwynn's Island Game - April 28, 2010

April 28
C'mon guys, get serious! Bridge is a tough game.

This shot shows only some of the 30 players who were at the Civic Center to do battle. The winners found lots of slams that were there.  The losers (your Webmaster among them) found a few that weren't!

   Thursday Irregulars at the White Dog - April 22, 2010

St. Paddy's Day on the Island 
This was the colorful scene (hands to match) at The White Dog Inn at the second installment of our Thursday game.

Our guests from Williamsburg (six fine players) mixed it up with the Mathewsers, but found time to relax and share stories as well. 

For those thinking about coming (please do), the lunches and service were outstanding, served half-way through a 28-board Howell match.  Everyone got to meet and compete with everyone else, and we finished it all in just a blink past 3:30.

  Gwynn's Island Game - April 14, 2010

Good to see Jan back in the middle of things again. 

We had a small turnout, but the hands were really challenging. 

  Gwynn's Island Game - March 31, 2010

What are you laughing at Jackie? 

Even Van looks amused.

Nina is claiming on defense, 

But looks like Buddy has most of the tricks. 

  Gwynn's Island Game - March 17, 2010 - St Paddy's Day

St. Paddy's Day on the Island
Jeanine was hopin' to attract a wee bit o' luck from the leprechauns for herself and Jay.

But looks like Norris and Judy were havin' none o' it!

Last updated : Jul 28, 2010 11:07 CDT
  The ABCs of Stratification

What are those letters A,B,C assigned to the pairs in the Results Tables of our bridge games? These are the stratification levels, commonly known as "strats", which subdivide and in effect handicap the pairs, for the purpose of creating different competition levels. This stratification creates sub-matches within the overall match, so that less experienced players have more opportunities to win, and to win masterpoints.

All games played in the Mathews Duplicate Bridge Club are stratified, subject only to ACBL requirements. The Director assigns numerical cut-off values to each strat, based on the known masterpoint holdings of the players. This is always done before the game is actually scored and the results known, so as not to manipulate the awards. For example, current typical strat levels for most of our games are Open, 500 and 200 for the A, B and C strats, respectively. Each pair is assigned to a strat according to either (at the discretion of the Director) the higher masterpoint holding of the two players, or to the average of their masterpoints. A player who is not a member of ACBL has zero points by default, but the holding of his or her partner may result in assignment of the pair to a higher level. Assignment to a particular strat is not so much a measure of ability, as it is a matter of length of experience (though to some degree also, success) in playing in ACBL-sanctioned events.

In the example above, all players compete in the A level, anyone can win the overall game. But only players with 499 points or less compete at the B level, and only those with 199 or less in the lowest strat. Thus, there are games within the game, and more chances to win. The awards within each strat are calculated automatically by the scoring software; the formula is complex, but winning in a lower strat of course earns fewer points. Also, a pair can receive only one award, though this will always be the highest of the possible awards. This can, and often does, produce results which may seem strange, but with experience one can understand the logic involved.

(Note: Thanks to a recent upgrade of the host website, the numerical stratification levels are now shown on the Rankings Page of the Results Section of this site, for each event posted after the upgrade.)

When there is a special game, such as a Charity Game or Club Championship Game, the game will ordinarily still be stratified, but there will also be Overall Awards in addition to the usual Section Awards.  This will increase the magnitude, and may increase the number, of the awards.

No one ever earns fewer points because of stratification; there is only the possibility of earning more. And, even not considering these masterpoint awards, stratified games provide the opportunity to compete at different levels of experience. More fun for all!

Last updated : Jun 26, 2014 02:17 CDT
  Should You Call the Director?

Probably more often than you do. Calling the Director, when done courteously, is never an unfriendly act, but rather an effort to get things right. Irregularities that inevitably happen can affect the results not only for you and for your table opponents, but also affect the scores for everyone else at the game, at all the tables, in both directions.

The Director’s goal is not to punish or penalize anyone, but instead to apply the Laws correctly so that no one, as far as possible, either gains or loses improperly or excessively from whatever infraction may have occurred. The Director, in making rulings, also has discretion to take into account the sporting and relatively informal nature of our local club games.

Below are some common irregularities in bidding and play, and what the ACBL Laws say about rectifying them. We hope our players gradually become familiar with the correct rulings and procedures, and the best way for this to happen is for them to call the Director immediately, rather than by trying to fix problems on their own. Doing so often makes things worse, and may lead to forfeit of the players' rights.

Insufficient Bid. The common remedy of correcting the bid to the lowest legal bid of the same denomination is only one of the options available. There are others, and the first option may belong to the non-offending side, not to the person making the insufficient bid. Call the Director to find out these options.

Revoke. (Many call this a "renege", but there is no such word in the bridge Laws.) This is one of the most misunderstood situations. It may be possible to legally correct the revoke, if it has not yet become established. Once established, things get complicated, and the penalty may be 0, 1, 2 or even more tricks. Call the Director.

Call Out of Turn. This is can be difficult to unravel. It depends on who called out of turn, what the call was, what previous calls may have been made, etc. Call the Director, who will probably have to consult his book.

Lead Out of Turn. (Including the opening lead, but other leads also.) Such leads can usually be accepted, or become accepted automatically.  Strange things can happen as to who becomes dummy. If not accepted, the non-offending side has many options. Call the Director.

Penalty Cards. Did you know there are major and minor penalty cards, treated differently? And that Declarer has certain options every time the partner of a penalty-card holder makes a lead? Call the Director.

Those are the main but hardly the only irregularities. There are also important rules regarding using bidding boxes, making the play of a card, asking for information from the opponents, what dummy can and cannot do, and so on. There have been disagreements at our club in the past, sometimes heated, about such matters. The ACBL Laws are quite specific on all of these, precisely because they come up so often. Again, it’s best to call the Director.

The club has an extra copy of ACBL’s “Laws of Duplicate Bridge”, 2008 Revised Authorized Edition, which is available for anyone to see, and even borrow. It is not an easy read, but it does give answers to nearly anything that could possibly come up at the bridge table. Because nearly everything already has.

Last updated : Jul 1, 2013 21:36 CDT