Myrna and Tom McDonald (right) hail from New Mexico. Both are accomplished Bridge players who also play 42. They learned to play 42 from their oldest daughter and their son-in-law who live in Austin. Tom has contributed his comments on the luck factor in 42 in an earlier posting at this site.
When asked about her thoughts on allowing bidding conventions in 42 to remedy show-bidding tactics practiced by some tournament players, Myrna offered some interesting comparisons between 42 and Bridge. Intrigued, I ask her to write a commentary comparing the two games. She and Tom obliged by providing the following observations and thoughts. Thank you, Myrna and Tom, for sharing. - PP
Myrna and Tom McDonald on Bidding Conventions
Paul has requested that I provide comments on comparing bidding in 42 to the game of Bridge. As a novice, when I play the game 42, I like the way 42 is bid. You are able to follow when the hand is played without memorizing several rules; one bids just one time during the hand and thus it doesn’t require knowledge of different conventions. That means that individuals new to the game are able to play what could be called “party 42” with a minimum of rules.
In Bridge there are a number of factors involved as one may have the opportunity to bid several times in one deal. Another slightly different issue is the rule “get you kiddies off the street”, meaning get the outstanding trumps in as soon as possible. However it does not always hold true in Bridge when you have a hand that is difficult to play.
There is also an activity referred to as Duplicate Bridge where all couples play the same hand against all the other couples at the Duplicate session. Usually, individuals who play Duplicate Bridge are dedicated Bridge players and take their playing quite seriously. In Bridge, those who play Duplicate Bridge do have prearranged bidding and you complete a form that lists your bidding convention. If you are playing with a stranger, you still know the convention the person bids since you both complete the bidding sheet before the game begins.
When either you and your partner or the opposition bids, you usually know what it means and, you have the right, at the time of the bid, to ask for an explanation of the bid from the bidder’s partner. There is always a director for each official Duplicate session who helps to resolve any issue – you just call out “Mr. Director”. The goal in Duplicate is to achieve top board, e.g., the highest score for the hand. In an official Duplicate session, winning and obtaining points count towards a Masters in Duplicate. So, the players in the session are focused on bidding and playing the hand for the highest score either through bidding for the deal or playing defensively.
Let me turn to cheating and other irregularities. There are rules against and consequences for cheating in Bridge and in 42 such as e.g., don’t cheat or you will be asked to leave a tournament and perhaps even blackballed from playing with that particular group. Having to deal with individuals who cheat or having to deal with a hot-tempered individual makes the game unpleasant for all who are participants.
Also, I have seen some unscrupulous Bridge players take too long to bid (respond to a partner – just to delay the game) and too long to play a card (in an official game you must have the four hands completed by a specific timeframe), and, although this delay is not cheating, I have seen delay in the play of a hand that should not occur. Even hesitation can reveal a possibility to your partner.
In addition, I have read where some will tap their fingers or use hand or feet or eye motions or some other way to signal to their partner. The most blatant of course is touching your heart for hearts, pretending to dig for spades, banging your finger on the table for clubs, and pointing your finger to your finger for diamonds. But, these methods are the most blatant, and this type of cheating will not be tolerated.
So, although there are similarities both in Bridge and 42, they still are different games, and 42 presents the player an opportunity for having a fun evening with just learning a few basic rules. Then, if one begins to play on a regular basis, that would be the time to understand the possibilities playing dominos might present.
Myrna and Tom Mcdonald, October 15, 2009