Bridge Club Scoring and Ranking

Our bridge club in Florida plays for 2 hours each Tuesday and Thursday afternoon. On any afternoon, we may have anywhere from 4 to 12 people playing. Often, we do not have complete sets of 4 players per table. This is the reason why we play Chicago style Bridge because after 4 deals, the game is over and   idle players can replace the losing team. In an afternoon, we typically play 3 games per table with each game consisting of 4 deals. Each game has a pair of winning players and a pair of losing players.

Metric Scores

Originally, in order to determine the best and most consistent player for the month and eventually for the whole year, we tally the scores made by each player and find the player with the highest average score per game as the month’s or the year’s winner. With time, however, we realized that the winner should reflect the values that we considered a good bridge player of our club must possess and we came up with the following characteristics and the metrics that quantify them:

  1. Dedication (metric = number of games played)
  2. Consistency (metric = average score per game = total points divided by number of games played)
  3. Skill (metric = win percentage = number of wins divided by number of games played); and
  4. Daring and Luck (two metrics):
    1. Maximum score made for the month or year (a positive factor); and
    1. Number of games with a score of zero (a negative factor).

One of us created a spreadsheet to tally the scores and calculate these metrics for each month. An example for the month of February 2023 shows part of our table below.

Each row of the table shows the scores for each game played. For example, for the afternoon of February 23, the players Dan, Judy, Larry, and Walt played at the same table. Of the four players, Judy won all 3 games (winning score shown in bold). The second table consisted of Debra, Ed, Mary, and Ron and Mary won all her 3 games. For each round of 3 games, each player plays with a different partner so that in each round each player plays once with the other 3 players. Thus, after a round of 3 games, the true nature of the winner’s playing superiority emerges. The factor of the strength of each partnership is eliminated.

The running totals of these various metrics are shown at the bottom of the table with the highest scores in each metric highlighted in yellow. Note that during the month some players have played only a fraction of the games that the more dedicated players have played. However, this does not disqualify them from the competition because, as in the case of Judy who has played only 7 games so far, she has scored the highest average, winning percentage, and maximum score for the month. Note also that the most daring player, Walt, scored a maximum of 1580 because he and his partner, Judy, made 4 game bids in their first game of February 23, two of them while being vulnerable. However, his daring should be mitigated by the fact that he had 4 games during the month where he scored zero.

From the table, we can have a different winner for each category of our bridge values. How then do we determine the overall winner for the month (or year)?

Normalized Scores

The various metrics have different numerical ranges. For example, the average score is in the hundreds while the number of games played and the number of wins are in single or two digits. One way to resolve this is to normalize the metric scores such that the winner in each category receives a score of 100 while the rest gets a proportional score. For example, for the category of dedication (number of games played), both Debra and Walt share the highest score of 27. They are assigned a normalized score of 100 while Judy who played only 7 games during the month gets a score of 26 ( = (7/27) x 100). The table below shows the normalized scores for all the categories.

The calculation of normalized scores preserves the relative differences among the players in each category, albeit based on a different maximum score which was determined to be 100.

Metric Weights

To determine the overall winner, we can simply add all the normalized scores of each player for the different categories. But, do these categories equally impact the determination of the best bridge player? If not, how do we rank the categories and what weight do we assign to each factor?

Nothing arrives at the best answer to a common problem than democracy. So, we decided that each player in the group indicate his/her idea of the weight to assign to each category using a range of 0 to 4, with 0 indicating insignificance and 4 indicating maximum significance. The consensus weights are then simply the averages of our votes on the weights. Whether this is strictly technically correct is irrelevant; this is how our group believes the overall winner should be chosen.

In the future, we may change our minds and revise the weights. This is also our prerogative.

Overall Score

Each player’s overall score becomes the sum of the normalized score in each category multiplied by the consensus weight for that category. Note that the weight assigned to the Number of Zero Scores is negative; a player with many zero scores will therefore be penalized. In other words, Walt’s high score in maximum score gets mitigated by his 4 games where he scored zero. On the other hand, Barbara, Kathy, Mary, Pearl, and Sharon who all had no zero games do not suffer this penalty.

Note further from the table that for this month, Ed who did not score the highest in any of the categories still narrowly emerges as the month’s winner. He simply scored close to each category’s winner and stayed clear of the penalty category. It also shows that if Judy plays more often, she will likely be a future monthly winner.

Player Ranking

At the end of each month, the players are ranked according to their overall score and at the end of the year, the most outstanding player receives a trophy. The photo at right shows our 2022 winner, Ron.

Team App

We want to emphasize that our scoring is transparent to all the players. We are all members of the same group in the phone app TEAM REACH where we upload the scores for each afternoon’s game as well as the running scoring so that each player can monitor their month’s scoring progress.