Monday, January 23, 2006

Try Butler Scoring

I think any serious bridge club should try the Butler scoring method 1 week a month say. The Butler scoring method rewards the accurate bidding of slams, its a bit in between pairs and teams. It doesn't give people undeserved tops because they play in 3nt as opposed to 5c or 5d or 4 of a major. The score reflects the actual gain in points over the other pairs or the DATUM for the board. Would think computer scoring would be essential for this method but it definitely has its merits and I would be quite keen to try it.

This post contributed by Tom Evans of Leigh Bridge Club

Reply from Jeff Smith

Butler scoring method is named after Geoffrey Butler, a former president of the now-defunct British Bridge League who devised the method as a means of scoring British international trials.

Your score on any particular board is compared to a 'datum',usually established by discarding the top two and bottom two scores achieved across the field on the board, and averaging the remaining scores. The difference between your score and the datum is converted to IMPs plus or minus according to the normal scale.Discarding the two extreme scores is not essential but it does avoid including any wild scores in the comparison.The effect of this scoring is that you should be using team rather than pairs tactics throughout the competition, eg securing your contract rather than worrying about overtricks. There will usually be quite a lot of correlation in the Pairs v Butler results.

The advantage of the method is that it is a much fairer comparison and reduces the random effects in Pairs Scoring.

Brian Aspinall said...

The Butler scoring method is fine for a straight Mitchell with two winners. I see a problem however with arrowswitches for one winner.Imagine a night with say three relatively easy slams around. It is possible that you could "miss out" on all three on the arrowswitch and consequently have no chance of winning against another pair that luckily got to play all three slams. Same principle applies to games versus part scores.Of course there is no perfect way of scoring a pairs competition and there is an element of luck in any game or sport. Over a period of time luck balances out. We all have good nights and bad nights. I would be in favour of giving it a try( at Daten) say the fourth Wednesday in the month Why not put it on the agenda for the next committee meeting.

The Jeff Smith scoring program that we use at Daten BC allowed me to score this week's competition using the Butler scoring method after previously scoring it using the 'normal' method.

The two sets of scores are shown

Butler Scoring
1 Sue Eckersley John Lockett 43
2 Chris Burdekin George Charleston 34
3 Peggy Hancock Mary Woodcock 30
4 Hazel Evans Joan Wright 18
5 Enid Beddall Joe Ridyard 12
6 Clive Goodwin Ken Mcdowall 6
8 Bev Friar Doris Friar -5
9 Margaret Nicholls Marion Speakman -8
10 Pru Dowson Tony Farmer -11
11 Steve Geoghegan Ralph Procter -12
12 George Morgan Pat Morgan -20
13 Brian Aspinall Joyce Timms -28
14 Maurice Norman Alfred Watts -59

'Normal Scoring'
1 Chris Burdekin George Charleston 66.19%
2 Sue Eckersley John Lockett 61.90%
3= Hazel Evans Joan Wright 55.00%
3= Clive Goodwin Ken Mcdowall 55.00%
5 Margaret Nicholls Marion Speakman 51.90%
6 Peggy Hancock Mary Woodcock 50.83%
7 Enid Beddall Joe Ridyard 49.17%
8 Bev Friar Doris Friar 48.57%
9 Steve Geoghegan Ralph Procter 47.50%
10 Pru Dowson Tony Farmer 45.71%
11 Brian Aspinall Joyce Timms 42.38%
12 George Morgan Pat Morgan 39.05%
13 Maurice Norman Alfred Watts 35.71%

It was immediately obvious to me that the Butler method is superior as I would have finished two places higher in the competition! Seriously, there are obvious, significant differences in the placings using the two methods. One problem that I can see is that of educating players as to what the Butler method is and how tactics should differ.

Tom Evans made this further contribution:

After doing further research into the subject i.e. scoring several events both ways I've come to the conclusion that
Butler scoring is a complete lottery and adds even more luck to the game.

For example in one week we conceded a slam to the opposition that no other pair bid. Most pairs made 12 tricks in the main but only 1 pait lost 11 imps. Playing Teams that's fair enough because your team mates can rescue the position by also bidding the slam. In pairs this is not possible and you have to bid and make a game or slam that others are not bidding to catch up. Chasing bottoms usually causes further bottoms as anyone knows who has played any length of time.

In PAIRS one only needs to make 1 more trick than anyone else to recover the bottom but with Butler scoring all you get is 0-1 imps gain, thus never recovering your bad luck on the hand. Everyone MUST play the same hands in the same direction also as that would further compound the problems, thus limiting the movement to a 2-winner movement North-Souths and East-Wests.

Thus whilst pairs scoring isn't perfect and distorts the bidding and the play, it is much FAIRER than Butler scoring.


Post a Comment

<< Home