In duplicate bridge, there are three basic types of events—individual, pair and teams. Also, there are many types of games within each category.
This type of event is fast becoming very popular with tournament and club players. Like a pair event, players compete as pairs. A team can consist of four, five or six players, but only four team members ever play at the same time.
Here is how a team game works: Two members of your team, playing as a partnership, sit North-South at one table. Two other members of your team, also playing as a partnership, sit East-West at a different table. The two pairs from the opposing team fill the empty spots at the two tables. During the course of a match, exactly the same boards are played at both tables.
Since results are achieved at both tables on exactly the same boards, a comparison of results is possible. Scoring is done by comparing the results, but the methods of scoring vary according to the type of team game being played.
The three basic types of team games are Swiss, Knockout and Board-a-Match. A fourth type, Round-robin, also is sometimes held. A Round-robin, however, really is a special case of Swiss teams.
The pair game is the most common form of duplicate bridge. Two players compete as a partnership throughout the event, whether it is one, two or more sessions.
One of two basic movements usually is used.
For larger games, the Mitchell movement usually is the choice. This is basically simple —after each round, the boards are passed back to the next lower tables and the East-West pairs advance to the next higher table. The North-South pairs are stationary, with rare exceptions that will not be noted here.
For smaller games, the movement usually used is the Howell movement. Guide cards tell each pair where to go for the next round and also list the boards that should be played each round at that table.
Computing your score is quite different from rubber bridge — it is based on matchpoints rather than on totals. You achieve a total score on each deal, but that score is then compared with all other scores achieved on that board. You earn one matchpoint for each score you surpass and half a matchpoint for each one you tie.
In addition to overall awards, there are section awards for both North-South and East-West within a section (Mitchell movement only).
The individual game is the only form of duplicate bridge in which you do not have a partner chosen by you. The game is set up in such a way that each player is a separate contestant who plays with a multitude of different partners. Sometimes you play only one board with each partner; other times you play two or three, rarely more.
The movement is more complicated than in a pair event. In the Rainbow movement—which nowadays is just about the only one used for games of seven tables or more—it is necessary for the players in each direction to have a different move each round. (Guide cards are usually used for smaller games.) The idea is for each player to partner someone different each round against a brand new set of opponents.
Computing your score is quite different from rubber bridge—it is based on matchpoints rather than on totals. You achieve a total score on each deal, but that score is then compared with all other scores achieved on that board. You earn one matchpoint for each score you surpass and half a matchpoint for each one you tie. In addition to overall awards, there are section awards for each direction within a section.
Since each player is playing with so many different partners, it is impractical for partnerships to use complicated systems and conventions. Most players prefer to play some simple form of Standard American.