## Card games

Auction Piquet is a bidding variant of Piquet, a venerable old trick-taking game for two. The long history of Piquet is well described on his website by noted historian of card games, David Parlett, who also gives the rules of Piquet. As far as I can determine, the sole historical source for Auction Piquet is the book

David Parlett covers Auction Piquet as a variant of Piquet in

The author of

The "Laws of Auction Piquet," together with clarifications and notes, constitute the first part of Lunn's short book of 128 pages. The remaining 80 pages are devoted to a detailed analysis of the game and examples of play. The Laws, Lunn writes, were drawn up by a committee of the Auction Piquet Club, and he signs himself, "Rubicon." As I mentioned above, the rules below are based on the Laws in this book. Auction Piquet is a complex game, but if you already know Piquet, it will be much easier to learn. Knowledge of any other trick-and-meld game will help, too.

Auction Piquet is unusual in the way that it handles the minus contracts, which seem to be the heart of the game. Play of minus contracts requires more skill than play of plus contracts. The balance between plus contracts and minus contracts ensures that there are few genuinely bad hands, and the outcome of a match is far less dependent upon luck than the ancestor game.

According to Lunn, Auction Piquet is as deep as Bridge, and even preferred by some Bridge players—though of course he means the Auction Bridge of his time rather than Contract Bridge. He suggests Auction Piquet is more skilful than any other card game, and the book itself is an argument towards that point. I have spent a long time looking for a two-player trick-taking game that can challenge the top three- and four-player games for skill, a card-game version of Chess, if you will. Auction Piquet is a contender.

I have updated and anglicized some of the traditional French-based Piquet phraseology, although I do include the traditional names of combinations, in case you prefer to use them. In addition, I point out some differences between Auction Piquet and the parent game for those already familiar with Piquet. I have not included all the penalties and procedures for miscalls, revokes, and so on—but these are relevant for games with high stakes rather than friendly games.

Piquet is a classic trick-and-meld game. Auction Piquet adds bidding either to win a certain number of tricks (plus contract) or to lose a certain number of tricks (minus contract). In plus contracts, players score for their own winning combinations and score for winning tricks; in minus contracts, players score for each other's winning combinations and score for losing tricks. Plus bids and minus bids of the same number are exactly equal. Contract points are scored for overtricks and undertricks. The contract itself does not score, but it gives the bidder the chance to exchange more cards and lead to the first trick.

Auction Piquet is played with a Piquet deck, consisting of a regular deck with the values 2 through 6 stripped out. The cards rank in the order A (high), K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7 (low).

A "partie," or match, is played over six deals.

The players shuffle the deck and cut. The player who cuts the highest card has the choice of deal. The deal alternates between the players. If a deal is annulled (see below), the same dealer deals again. A deal that is annulled does not count towards the six deals of a partie.

The dealer deals each player 12 cards face down; the dealer can choose to deal the cards in packets of two or packets of three.

The remaining eight cards are placed in a single packet face down between the two players.

After the deal, the players pick up and examine their cards. A round of bidding follows. The non-dealer opens the bidding.

A bid ranges between 7 to 12 and can be plus or minus. A bid of 8 plus, for example, is a bid to win 8 of the 12 tricks; a bid of 11 minus, for example, is a bid to lose 11 of the 12 tricks. Plus and minus bids of the same absolute value are equal.

Once the non-dealer has made a bid, the dealer must make a higher bid or pass. If the dealer makes a higher bid, non-dealer in turn can bid higher or pass. The bidding alternates between the players in this way, each bid needing to be a higher absolute value (plus or minus) than the previous bid. Bidding finishes as soon as one player passes.

The one exception to the last point is when the non-dealer's first bid is a pass. In this case, the dealer has the right to open the bidding or pass. If the dealer also passes, no bid has been made, and the deal is annulled.

If a player has made a bid, the opponent can double. The bidder then has the choice of passing, switching to a higher bid (plus or minus), or redoubling. If a bid has been redoubled, the bidding finishes immediately, with no further bidding. If a player switches to a higher bid after a double, the opponent can pass, make a still higher bid himself, or double again. No more than two doubles are allowed in any round of bidding.

When the bidding is complete, the player with the higher bid becomes Elder hand, contracting to win (or lose) the number of tricks that he bid. The other player is Younger hand. The contracts are thus of two types: plus or minus.

Elder hand discards first, and may discard from zero to five cards face down in a separate pile.

Younger hand can then discard up to as many cards as remain in the stock, and may also choose to discard no cards. Again, the replacement cards must be taken from the top of the stock (and may include some cards that Elder did not take). After Younger's discard, at any time before Elder plays a card to the second trick, Younger may turn over and expose any cards remaining in the stock to the view of both players. The remainder of the stock, if any, remains hidden otherwise.

At any time during the deal, a player may peek at his own discards.

After the discards, players decide who will score for any combinations in their hands. There are three classes of combination: Point, Sequence, and Set. The three classes should always be declared and scored in that order.

The players go through a back and forth process, revealing information about their hands, to decide which of them has the highest combination in each of three scoring classes. The hand that has the highest combination in a class is the only hand in which that class scores.

Point is the length of the longest suit. If the players have equal length suits, the winning Point is that with the highest total, counting Aces 11, court cards 10, and the number cards their face values. If the players still have equal Point, neither player scores for Point. Point scores one point for each card in the suit.

A sequence consists of at least three cards of the same suit in number order. The winning sequence is the longest sequence. With sequences of equal length, the winner is the one headed by the highest card. If the players have exactly equal highest sequences, sequence counts for neither player. The player with the best sequence can score for that as well as any equal or lower sequences.

A set of 3 [

Elder begins the declaration for each class, and Younger responds. The manner of declaring differs a little between plus and minus contracts, so I describe them separately. The declaration in minus contracts is a little more complex, so I'll present that first.

*Auction Piquet*by “Rubicon,” published by Methuen in 1920.David Parlett covers Auction Piquet as a variant of Piquet in

*The Penguin Book of Card Games*(Penguin Group, 2008), where he describes it as, "... one of the less successful attempts to apply Bridge principles to other games." On his website he writes, "... the introduction of negative bids seems to complicate matters unnecessarily." It should be noted that his description of Auction Piquet does not follow the historical rules, and his evaluation is not fair if based on an inauthentic version of the game. The rules below are based on the original historical source.The author of

*Auction Piquet*turns out to be Sir Arnold Henry Moore Lunn (1888 - 1974), champion British skier. In the introduction to his book, about a game that he obviously loves, he writes, "Auction Piquet was invented at Oxford, but it did not attain its present form until it had been played for two and a half years by an enthusiastic circle of British prisoners of war [1914-1918].*Captivity is an acid test of a card game*" [added emphasis]. Since Lunn studied at Balliol College, Oxford University, we can tentatively suppose Lunn himself to be one of the main designers of the game, if not its originator.The "Laws of Auction Piquet," together with clarifications and notes, constitute the first part of Lunn's short book of 128 pages. The remaining 80 pages are devoted to a detailed analysis of the game and examples of play. The Laws, Lunn writes, were drawn up by a committee of the Auction Piquet Club, and he signs himself, "Rubicon." As I mentioned above, the rules below are based on the Laws in this book. Auction Piquet is a complex game, but if you already know Piquet, it will be much easier to learn. Knowledge of any other trick-and-meld game will help, too.

Auction Piquet is unusual in the way that it handles the minus contracts, which seem to be the heart of the game. Play of minus contracts requires more skill than play of plus contracts. The balance between plus contracts and minus contracts ensures that there are few genuinely bad hands, and the outcome of a match is far less dependent upon luck than the ancestor game.

According to Lunn, Auction Piquet is as deep as Bridge, and even preferred by some Bridge players—though of course he means the Auction Bridge of his time rather than Contract Bridge. He suggests Auction Piquet is more skilful than any other card game, and the book itself is an argument towards that point. I have spent a long time looking for a two-player trick-taking game that can challenge the top three- and four-player games for skill, a card-game version of Chess, if you will. Auction Piquet is a contender.

I have updated and anglicized some of the traditional French-based Piquet phraseology, although I do include the traditional names of combinations, in case you prefer to use them. In addition, I point out some differences between Auction Piquet and the parent game for those already familiar with Piquet. I have not included all the penalties and procedures for miscalls, revokes, and so on—but these are relevant for games with high stakes rather than friendly games.

**Introduction**Piquet is a classic trick-and-meld game. Auction Piquet adds bidding either to win a certain number of tricks (plus contract) or to lose a certain number of tricks (minus contract). In plus contracts, players score for their own winning combinations and score for winning tricks; in minus contracts, players score for each other's winning combinations and score for losing tricks. Plus bids and minus bids of the same number are exactly equal. Contract points are scored for overtricks and undertricks. The contract itself does not score, but it gives the bidder the chance to exchange more cards and lead to the first trick.

Auction Piquet is played with a Piquet deck, consisting of a regular deck with the values 2 through 6 stripped out. The cards rank in the order A (high), K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7 (low).

A "partie," or match, is played over six deals.

**The Deal**The players shuffle the deck and cut. The player who cuts the highest card has the choice of deal. The deal alternates between the players. If a deal is annulled (see below), the same dealer deals again. A deal that is annulled does not count towards the six deals of a partie.

The dealer deals each player 12 cards face down; the dealer can choose to deal the cards in packets of two or packets of three.

The remaining eight cards are placed in a single packet face down between the two players.

*[You may prefer to separate them into two packets of five and three, with the five on top and overlapping the three.]*These eight cards are the "stock."*[After the deal in regular Piquet either player can claim Carte Blanche. There is no Carte Blanche in Auction Piquet.]***Bidding**After the deal, the players pick up and examine their cards. A round of bidding follows. The non-dealer opens the bidding.

A bid ranges between 7 to 12 and can be plus or minus. A bid of 8 plus, for example, is a bid to win 8 of the 12 tricks; a bid of 11 minus, for example, is a bid to lose 11 of the 12 tricks. Plus and minus bids of the same absolute value are equal.

Once the non-dealer has made a bid, the dealer must make a higher bid or pass. If the dealer makes a higher bid, non-dealer in turn can bid higher or pass. The bidding alternates between the players in this way, each bid needing to be a higher absolute value (plus or minus) than the previous bid. Bidding finishes as soon as one player passes.

The one exception to the last point is when the non-dealer's first bid is a pass. In this case, the dealer has the right to open the bidding or pass. If the dealer also passes, no bid has been made, and the deal is annulled.

If a player has made a bid, the opponent can double. The bidder then has the choice of passing, switching to a higher bid (plus or minus), or redoubling. If a bid has been redoubled, the bidding finishes immediately, with no further bidding. If a player switches to a higher bid after a double, the opponent can pass, make a still higher bid himself, or double again. No more than two doubles are allowed in any round of bidding.

When the bidding is complete, the player with the higher bid becomes Elder hand, contracting to win (or lose) the number of tricks that he bid. The other player is Younger hand. The contracts are thus of two types: plus or minus.

**The Discard**Elder hand discards first, and may discard from zero to five cards face down in a separate pile.

*[In regular Piquet, Elder must discard at least one card.]*Elder takes into his hand from the top of the stock, in order, the number of cards that he discarded. Elder is permitted to "peek" at any cards remaining of the five that he could have taken. He looks at these cards, without changing their order and without showing them to Younger and puts them back on top of the stock face down.Younger hand can then discard up to as many cards as remain in the stock, and may also choose to discard no cards. Again, the replacement cards must be taken from the top of the stock (and may include some cards that Elder did not take). After Younger's discard, at any time before Elder plays a card to the second trick, Younger may turn over and expose any cards remaining in the stock to the view of both players. The remainder of the stock, if any, remains hidden otherwise.

At any time during the deal, a player may peek at his own discards.

**The Declaration**After the discards, players decide who will score for any combinations in their hands. There are three classes of combination: Point, Sequence, and Set. The three classes should always be declared and scored in that order.

The players go through a back and forth process, revealing information about their hands, to decide which of them has the highest combination in each of three scoring classes. The hand that has the highest combination in a class is the only hand in which that class scores.

- In plus contracts each player scores for any classes in which her
*own*hand has the highest combination. - In minus contracts each player scores for any classes in which her
*opponent's*hand has the highest combination.

*Point*Point is the length of the longest suit. If the players have equal length suits, the winning Point is that with the highest total, counting Aces 11, court cards 10, and the number cards their face values. If the players still have equal Point, neither player scores for Point. Point scores one point for each card in the suit.

*Sequence*A sequence consists of at least three cards of the same suit in number order. The winning sequence is the longest sequence. With sequences of equal length, the winner is the one headed by the highest card. If the players have exactly equal highest sequences, sequence counts for neither player. The player with the best sequence can score for that as well as any equal or lower sequences.

- A sequence of length 3 [
*tierce*] scores 3 points, - A sequence of length 4 [
*quart*] scores 4 point. - A sequence of length 5 [
*quint*] scores 15 points. - A sequence of length 6 [
*sixième*] scores 16 points. - A sequence of length 7 [
*septième*] scores 17 points. - A sequence of length 8 [
*huitième*] scores 18 points.

*Set*A set of 3 [

*trio*] is three cards of the same rank greater than 9; a set of 4 [*quatorze*] is four cards of the same rank greater than 9. The better set of 3 is the one with the higher rank; the better set of 4 is the one with the higher rank; any set of 4 beats any set of 3. The best sets of the players (if they both have sets) cannot be equal. The player with the best set can score for that as well as any other sets.- A set of 3 [
*trio*] scores 3 points, - A set of 4 [
*quatorze*] scores 14 points.

Elder begins the declaration for each class, and Younger responds. The manner of declaring differs a little between plus and minus contracts, so I describe them separately. The declaration in minus contracts is a little more complex, so I'll present that first.

For Point, Elder will name the length of his longest suit, Elder will say, for example, "Point of 5."

- Younger replies "Good" if Younger's Point is shorter.
- Younger replies "Not good" if Younger's Point is longer.
- Younger replies "How high?" if Younger has a Point of equal length.

In response to "How high?" Elder states the total value of the cards in his Point, counting Ace 11, court cards 10, and the rest at their face value. Younger will reply, "Good," "Not good," or "Equal," depending on whether the total value of his point is less than, greater than, or equal to Elder's, respectively.

Depending on this back and forth, the players will determine which of them has the better Point or whether Point is exactly equal. If the Point is exactly equal, neither scores for Point.

For sequence, Elder will name the length of his longest sequence, for example, "Sequence of 4." Elder does not need to state the top card of the sequence initially, just its length. If Elder has no sequence, he will skip directly to set.

- Younger replies "Good" if Younger's best sequence is shorter.
- Younger replies "Not good" if Younger's best sequence is longer.
- Younger replies "How high?" if Younger's best sequence has equal length.

In response to "How high?" Elder states the value of the top card of his sequence. Younger will reply, "Good," "Not good," or "Equal," depending on whether his highest card is lower than, higher than, or equal to Elder's, respectively.

Depending on this back and forth, the players will determine which of them has the best sequence or whether their best sequences are exactly equal. If the best sequences are equal, neither scores for sequence.

For set, Elder will name the length of his best set, for example, "Set of 4." Elder does not need to state the value of his top set.

- Younger replies "Good" if Younger's set is lower (i.e., a set of 3 compared to a set of 4).
- Younger replies "Not good" if Younger's set is higher (i.e., a set of 4 compared to a set of 3).
- Younger replies "How high?" if Younger has an equal set (i.e., a set of 3 against a set of 3, or a set of 4 against a set of 4).

In response to "How high?" Elder states the value of the cards in his best set. Younger will reply, "Good" or "Not good," depending on whether his card value is lower than or higher than Elder's, respectively. Set cannot be tied.

Depending on this back and forth, the players will determine which of them has the best set.

DECLARING PLUS CONTRACTS

Declaring Point in plus contracts is exactly the same as declaring Point in minus contracts. On the other hand, in plus contracts Elder must at the outset name the highest card in his sequence (e.g., "Sequence of 4, King high") and the exact value of his set (e.g., "Set of 4 Queens"). Elder does not wait for Younger to say, "How high?" Immediately, Younger will be able to reply, "Good," "Not good," or "Equal."

When the declaration for all three classes of combination is finished, Elder puts face up on the table any scoring cards from classes of combination that he won. If Elder wins Sequence, he also puts down any sequences in his hand that are less than or equal to his top sequence. Similarly for Set, Elder also puts down any sets in his hand that are less than his top set. In classes of combinations that were tied, Elder also needs to expose those cards he used to tie the class with Younger.

In plus contracts, Elder scores the total for those combinations he has laid down; in minus contracts, Younger scores for those combinations that Elder has laid down.

Elder leads to the first trick, and before following, Younger now puts face up on the table any scoring cards from classes of combination that he won. If Younger wins Sequence, he also puts down any sequences in his hand that are less than or equal to his top sequence. Similarly for Set, Younger also puts down any sets in his hand that are less than his top set. Younger, too, needs to expose those cards he used to tie a class with Elder.

In plus contracts, Younger scores the total of those combinations he has laid down; in minus contracts, Elder scores for those combinations that Younger has laid down.

In plus contracts, if either player scores 30 points or more for combinations when the other has scored zero, the player gets a bonus of 60 points for "Repique"; in minus contracts, a player needs only score 21 points for combinations (in the other's hand!) to get the bonus of 60 points for Repique.

Note that the scoring of the three classes is counted strictly in the order Point, Sequence, Set. A player could score for Repique with Point and Sequence, even if the other player then scored for Set.

Once the scoring has been decided for combinations, and potentially Repique, Younger follows Elder's lead to the first trick.

The cards exposed in combinations remain part of a player's hand, and will be played to tricks, though they stay exposed for the remainder of the deal.

In plus contracts, a player is permitted to "sink" by not declaring the highest combination he has in a class. If a player sinks a combination, he cannot declare it and score it later. The purpose of sinking is to hide information from your opponent that might be useful to her in the play of the tricks. In minus contracts, neither player is permitted to sink and must always declare the highest combinations and expose all combinations that can score for the other player.

You will note that in the declaration in minus contracts, Elder must give less information—he only needs to state the top card of his sequence or the value of his set if Younger is equal in these categories. Minus contracts are more difficult to play than plus contracts, so the different rules for declarations help to balance the plus and minus contracts. The lower score needed for repique (and for pique, see below) is another equalizing factor. Auction Piquet is finely calibrated to balance the plus and minus contracts.

The points scored during the declaration, including Point, Sequence, Set, and Repique are called points in "hand." The two other categories of points are for "play" and for "contract." The total of points for hand, play, and contract is the score for the deal. In traditional Piquet, players typically keep a running total of their score through the whole deal, which almost has the form of a conversation between the two players. Modern players may prefer to jot down separately points scored for hand, play, and contract, and record the total at the end of the deal. However, it is still important to know the running total during hand and play in case either player can score for "pique" (see below).

Here now is a summary of all Auction Piquet scoring. The scoring for play and contract will be explained below.

In plus contracts, Elder scores the total for those combinations he has laid down; in minus contracts, Younger scores for those combinations that Elder has laid down.

Elder leads to the first trick, and before following, Younger now puts face up on the table any scoring cards from classes of combination that he won. If Younger wins Sequence, he also puts down any sequences in his hand that are less than or equal to his top sequence. Similarly for Set, Younger also puts down any sets in his hand that are less than his top set. Younger, too, needs to expose those cards he used to tie a class with Elder.

In plus contracts, Younger scores the total of those combinations he has laid down; in minus contracts, Elder scores for those combinations that Younger has laid down.

*Therefore, the two players score for winning classes of combination in each other's hands in minus contracts.*

In plus contracts, if either player scores 30 points or more for combinations when the other has scored zero, the player gets a bonus of 60 points for "Repique"; in minus contracts, a player needs only score 21 points for combinations (in the other's hand!) to get the bonus of 60 points for Repique.

Note that the scoring of the three classes is counted strictly in the order Point, Sequence, Set. A player could score for Repique with Point and Sequence, even if the other player then scored for Set.

Once the scoring has been decided for combinations, and potentially Repique, Younger follows Elder's lead to the first trick.

The cards exposed in combinations remain part of a player's hand, and will be played to tricks, though they stay exposed for the remainder of the deal.

In plus contracts, a player is permitted to "sink" by not declaring the highest combination he has in a class. If a player sinks a combination, he cannot declare it and score it later. The purpose of sinking is to hide information from your opponent that might be useful to her in the play of the tricks. In minus contracts, neither player is permitted to sink and must always declare the highest combinations and expose all combinations that can score for the other player.

You will note that in the declaration in minus contracts, Elder must give less information—he only needs to state the top card of his sequence or the value of his set if Younger is equal in these categories. Minus contracts are more difficult to play than plus contracts, so the different rules for declarations help to balance the plus and minus contracts. The lower score needed for repique (and for pique, see below) is another equalizing factor. Auction Piquet is finely calibrated to balance the plus and minus contracts.

The points scored during the declaration, including Point, Sequence, Set, and Repique are called points in "hand." The two other categories of points are for "play" and for "contract." The total of points for hand, play, and contract is the score for the deal. In traditional Piquet, players typically keep a running total of their score through the whole deal, which almost has the form of a conversation between the two players. Modern players may prefer to jot down separately points scored for hand, play, and contract, and record the total at the end of the deal. However, it is still important to know the running total during hand and play in case either player can score for "pique" (see below).

Here now is a summary of all Auction Piquet scoring. The scoring for play and contract will be explained below.

**The Play**

As described above, Elder exposes his scoring cards and leads to the first trick, then Younger exposes his scoring cards and follows to the first trick. Younger can choose to expose any remaining cards in the stock before Elder plays his second card.

A player must always follow suit to the card led, and if he is void in the suit may play any card. There is no trump in Piquet or Auction Piquet. The highest card of the suit led wins the trick. The winner of a trick leads to the next, and so on for all 12 tricks.

The cards played to tricks remain exposed (as do the cards in combinations scored). The trick cards of the two players are best kept separate and in two rows, so that the players can easily look back at which two cards were played to any given trick.

In plus contracts, one point is scored for each trick won.

*[This is different from regular Piquet, where a player scores a point for leading a card to a trick even if it loses. The Auction Piquet rules are simpler, while keeping the same differential between the trick scores of the players.]*

In minus contracts, one point is scored for each trick lost. Just as with declarations in the hand, the scores are reversed!

*[I*

*n a*ddition, Piquet scores an extra point for winning last trick, which is not the case in Auction Piquet.]In plus contracts, if Elder hand accumulates a total score of 29 for combinations in the hand and tricks during the play, before Younger has scored any points, then Elder wins a bonus of 30 points for "Pique." Just as in regular Piquet, only Elder hand can score for Pique in plus contracts.

*[Regular Piquet requires an accumulation of 30 points in hand and play to score for Pique—note, however, Elder would automatically get a point in regular Piquet for leading to the first trick. This extra point is not present in Auction Piquet, and hence the reason for reducing Pique to 29 points in plus contracts.]*

In minus contracts, if either player accumulates a total score of 21 for combinations in the hand and tricks during the play, before the other player has scored any points, then that player wins a bonus of 30 points for "Pique."

Note that Pique and Repique are both reduced to 21 points in minus contracts, reflecting the greater difficulty of scoring in minus contracts. Note the other difference that either player can score for Pique in minus contracts, not just Elder.

In plus contracts, when all 12 tricks have been played, the player who

*wins*a majority of tricks (i.e., >6) scores a bonus of 10 points for "the Cards"; likewise, in minus contracts, when all 12 tricks have been played, the player who

*loses*a majority of tricks (i.e., >6) scores a bonus of 10 points for "the Cards."

If a player

*wins*all 12 tricks in plus contracts, he gets a bonus of 40 points for "Capot," instead of 10 for the Cards; likewise, If a player

*loses*all 12 tricks in minus contracts, he gets a bonus of 40 points for "Capot," instead of 10 for the Cards. If 12 tricks are bid and all won in doubled plus contracts or bid and all lost in doubled minus contracts, the Capot bonus is 80 points instead. If 12 tricks are bid and all won in redoubled plus contracts or bid and all lost in redoubled minus contracts, the Capot bonus is 160 points instead.

The Cards and Capot are counted at the end of play, and cannot be used towards Pique.

The points scored during "play" are those for winning or losing tricks, for Pique, and for the Cards or Capot.

**Contract**

Once the play of the tricks is over, players evaluate any scores for "contract," the third scoring category. If Elder exactly meets his bid, he scores nothing for contract. If Elder exceeds his bid, by winning more tricks in plus contracts or losing more tricks in minus contracts, he scores 10 points per overtrick. The overtrick score increases to 20 points each in doubled contracts and 40 points each in redoubled contracts. If Elder falls short of his bid, by winning fewer tricks in plus contracts or losing fewer tricks in minus contracts, Younger scores 10 points per undertrick. The undertrick score increases to 20 points each in doubled contracts and 40 points each in redoubled contracts.

Lastly, Elder gets a bonus of 20 points for succeeding in a doubled contract and 40 points for succeeding in a redoubled contract.

Contract is the last of the three categories for scoring points. The points scored for "contract" are for any overtricks or undertricks and the bonus for a making a doubled or redoubled contract.

The sum of points scored by both players for "hand," "play," and "contract" are their total scores for the deal.

**The partie**

As mentioned at the beginning, a complete match, or partie, consists of six deals (not counting annulled deals).

The winner is the player with the higher score. The winner's final total is counted as the

*difference*between the two totals plus 150 points. If either player fails to score 150 points for the match, he is "Rubiconed." In this case, the winner's final total is the

*sum*of the two totals plus 150 points.

If the two players have exactly equal scores at the end of the partie, they play two more hands, alternating deal as usual. If the scores are still tied, the game is counted as a draw.

**Example of a minus deal**

To finish, here is Lunn's first full example of a minus contract played out from the beginning to the end of the deal (pp. 47-50).

It is much easier to win tricks in a plus deal than to lose tricks in a minus deal, for an Ace must win a trick if led and a seven need not lose a trick if led.

The following very simple example proves that a player who holds an overwhelming number of low cards may yet find it impossible tolosea corresponding number of tricks. [A deals.]

A holds:— ♥9, ♥8, ♥7, ♦Q, ♦9, ♦8, ♦7, ♣️7, ♠️K, ♠️Q, ♠️J, ♠️10

B holds:— ♥A, ♥K, ♥Q, ♥J, ♦J, ♣️A, ♣️J, ♣️10, ♣️9, ♣️8, ♠️A, ♠️7

B opens with 7 plus. A bids 8 minus. B bids 9 plus.

Now A has [no] Aces, a highly probable repique and a certain big score against him, if he lets B in with a plus bid. A therefore goes straight away to 12 minus for fear that B will bid 12 plus. It is better for A to go down two or three tricks on a doubled contract rather than let B in with a plus bid.

B doubles A's bid. B holds the Ace, seven of Spades, a useful combination, and he is almost sure to put A down one trick, if not more.

A and B now proceed to discard, and both of them discard with the object of getting rid of winning cards for the deal is a minus deal, as the last bid was 12 minus.

A discards his four Spades and leaves a card which he looks at (Law 20). It is the Ace of Diamonds. A picks up the ten of Hearts; ten of Diamonds; eight, nine of Spades. This is an unfortunate pick-up for the two Spades will prove A's undoing.

B discards the Ace of Hearts and his three [Jacks]. He picks up the Ace, King of Diamonds and the King, Queen of Clubs.

The hands are now:

A (Elder hand)--having bid 12 minus doubled:— ♥10, ♥9, ♥8, ♥7, ♦Q, ♦10, ♦9, ♦8, ♦7, ♣️7, ♠️9, ♠️8

B (younger hand):— ♥K, ♥Q, ♦A, ♦K, ♣️A, ♣️K, ♣️Q, ♣️10, ♣️9, ♣️8, ♠️A, ♠️7

A calls a point of five, which is disallowed. His call of a quart is allowed good, so he puts downbothhis quarts (Law 49).

In Auction Piquet, as in the parent game, both players must show any cards that are allowed good or equal at any point of the game. In minus deals it is customary to leave cards allowed as good or equal face upward on the table.

It is also the custom in the play of the hand to place the cards when played in a row (just as in Patience) so that both players can see at a glance which of the cards played belong to him, and also how many tricks have been won or lost. These practices are designed to facilitate and expedite the difficult calculations which, as the reader will soon discover, are a fascinating characteristic of minus deals.

A leads the eight of Spades and B shows his point of six, his trios of Aces and Kings.

A reckons 12 for B's point and trios, and B reckons 8 for A's two quarts.Scores in hand: A, 12. B, 8.

B can tell from his own hand and discard that A cannot hold more than four Hearts, five Diamonds, and one Club, making ten cards in all. A must therefore hold at least two Spades, for a hand consists of twelve cards, and A cannot hold more than ten cards in the other three suits.

B's Ace and seven form what is known as a KEY SUIT, for B can capture the lead in Spades before A has extracted B's seven of Spades.

A therefore plays the Ace of Spades on to A's lead of the eight.

B then plays the Ace and King of Diamonds, the King and Queen of Hearts and the Ace of Clubs. A cannot recapture the lead and B must win these five tricks.

B has now got rid of all the cards in his hand whichmustwin tricks. He now leads the seven of Spades which A wins with the nine of Spades. A is now left with two Hearts and three Diamonds, and the lead, and as B holds no more Hearts or Diamonds, A must win the remaining five tricks in addition to the trick he was forced to win in Spades.

B's last five cards are all Clubs and as A holds no more Clubs, B will lose these last five tricks if, as he succeeded in doing, he forces A to lead up to these Clubs. The Clubs are what are known as NEUTRALS. A Neutral is a card which may win a trick if led but must lose if led up to. If B had to lead these five Clubs, they must win tricks, but as he has made A lead up to them, B can discard these Clubs on to A's Hearts and Diamonds, and make them lose tricks. A scores 6 for the six tricks he loses and B scores for the six tricks that B lost, and in addition 120 contract points for A was six down on a doubled contract.

FINAL SCORE:—

A in hand 12; in play 6. Total 18.

B in hand 8; in play 6; by contract points 120. B total 134.

B is therefore 116 to the good on the deal.

The result would have been very different if B had foolishly decided to lose a trick right away. Play the hand over again making B play the seven of [Spades] onto A's original lead.

A has now extracted B's dangerous seven and he can lead the seven of Hearts, and B must win the remaining eleven tricks. In this case A would only have been down one on a doubled contract. He would have scored, as before, 12 in hand but he would have scored 21 in play, for the 11 tricks that he had lost, plus ten points for "the cards." A's total would therefore have been 33.

B would have scored, as before 8 in hand. He would have scored one for the trick he lost and 20 [contract points] as A would have been down one on a doubled contract. Total 29.

A would have been 4 points to the good on the deal instead of 116 points to the bad, a net difference of 120 points.

Again and again in [Auction Piquet], the play of the cards makes a difference of more than a hundred points.

The clue to the above hand is the fact that though A held almost all the low cards, A did not hold a singlekey suit. All his low cards were "unprotected." B held most of the high cards, but he held a key suit in Spades. He could capture the lead before A had extracted B's dangerous seven of Spades, and he could then extract all A's unprotected losers before A could again capture the lead.

Lunn makes reference in this deal to an important concept for the play of minus deals, the "key suit." A key suit consists of the Ace and seven of a suit, where your opponent has at least two cards in that suit. The high card must be the Ace, which is the only guaranteed winner in that suit if led; the low card must be the seven, which is the only guaranteed loser if you lead to an opponent's holding that suit. When your opponent leads a card in the key suit, you spring the trap by capturing with the Ace. Then you play off winners in your hand with the object of leaving neutrals and losers. ("Neutrals" are cards that win if led, but lose if led to; if your opponent has a void in a suit, for example, your holding in that suit is neutrals.) Lastly, you lead the seven in the key suit to lose the trick. If you have nothing left in your hand but neutrals and losers, you’ll lose the remaining tricks. You can see this technique in action in the sample deal above.

Other kinds of key suit are possible, for example King, nine, and seven constitutes a key suit, provided the other player has at least three cards in the suit. The point is the same, the guarded King will eventually win, and then the lead of the seven will lose the lead—once the player has played off any winners.

So, there it is, Auction Piquet, a highly skilful extension of the classic base game. We hope to return to this game in future issues. In the meantime, you can find a playingcards.io room here to download for remote play. Enjoy! ◾️

The rules given above were taken as faithfully as possible from Lunn's book

Other kinds of key suit are possible, for example King, nine, and seven constitutes a key suit, provided the other player has at least three cards in the suit. The point is the same, the guarded King will eventually win, and then the lead of the seven will lose the lead—once the player has played off any winners.

So, there it is, Auction Piquet, a highly skilful extension of the classic base game. We hope to return to this game in future issues. In the meantime, you can find a playingcards.io room here to download for remote play. Enjoy! ◾️

**Addendum**

The rules given above were taken as faithfully as possible from Lunn's book

*Auction Piquet*. There are two additional points to note, where the Laws are quite difficult to interpret. I make note of them here solely for purposes of completeness.

- According to Law 34 the three classes can be declared in any order. However, the rules elsewhere state that combinations must be scored in the order point, sequence, set. While "declared" might be distinct from "scored," all examples of declarations elsewhere in the book follow the order Point, sequence, set. Presumably, Elder could choose to go through the declarations in a different order, but then at the end total them in the correct order. Lunn notes that a score for set cannot block a repique if the other player has a good point and sequence. Nevertheless, we must wonder whether there would be circumstances where Elder's choosing a different order would materially affect the game. I think we can say it probably doesn't matter much, and so we might as well use the declaration order Point, sequence, set, just as Lunn does in all his examples.
- According to Law 42, in plus contracts only, if Elder has declared a sequence that is higher than any possible sequence Younger may have, he may score higher sequences in his hand as well as lower or equal sequences. In this case, Elder started by sinking the higher sequence, but because Younger could not possibly have a better sequence than the higher sequence that was sunk, Elder can still score this. Another way of putting this rule is, if Elder has more than one sequence that is higher than any sequence Younger can have, then Elder does not need to declare the highest of these sequences to score for all of them. The same is true of sets, if Elder has more than one set that is higher than any possible set Younger can have, then Elder does not need to declare the highest of these sets to score for all of them. This rule is not needed for sequences and sets in minus contracts, where sinking is not permitted, and players must always declare their best combinations. However, this rule is obscure—why would Elder sink his highest sequence or set only to score and expose it before the play of the cards? Again, this seems to be a rule we can disregard for now.