Tournament Focus: Winter 2009

Patton Teams (Hybrid Teams)

by Paul Hackett

Patton Teams and movements are named after General George Patton, considered one of the finest military commanders of the last century and an excellent bridge player in his own right. Indeed, some say that he got his first major promotion because Dwight Eisenhower, another excellent bridge competitor, considered George the best bridge player in the US Army.

Patton teams, very popular in parts of Europe and played in the Pachabo and Lederer in England, has some degree of similarity to point-a-board. Normally, you play 4 boards against a pair, and your team-mates will be playing against your opponents' team-mates.

The principle of scoring is similar to point-a-board in the first instance, except that it is more common to get 2 points for a win, 1 for a draw and 0 for a loss Thus there are 8 points available in the point-a-board element (two for each board). However, the aggregate is also taken into account. When you score up, you also aggregate the totals of the 4 scores. That aggregate is then turned into victory points with 8 points at stake. Thus there are 16 points at stake per match. E.g. you might win three of the four boards on point-a-board scoring, to give you 6 out of 8 points, and achieve a draw in the aggregate scoring, to give you 4 points out of 8, thus giving you a combined 10 points out of the total of 16 available in the match.

Obviously, the tactics are different here once again. You cannot afford to double them into game or go for a large penalty gratuitously. Yet you may well take some risk in trying for overtricks in part score contracts.

Summary: There is no doubt than some of you may be confused the first time you come across this form of teams, but it should not take you long to understand what is happening and enjoy a different form of teams play.

Paul Hackett