US 3913923 A
A card rack and play guide assembly which makes it possible for two players to enjoy a four-handed card game such as bridge and pinochle. The assembly is constituted by four racks each in the form of an elongated easel adapted to support a full hand of cards at a viewable angle, a rectangular play guide and, in the case of bridge, two markers to identify the dealer and the ultimate declarer. The play guide is placed in the center of a playing table with the two players being seated at opposite sides of the table, and the racks are arranged with respect to the guide so that each player is provided with a pair of racks. Each rack is adjacent a respective corner of the guide and is identified by a symbol appearing in that corner. The sequence of play is indicated by a ring of arrows on the guide associated with blocks representing the different playing positions.
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [1 1 Wapner Oct. 21, 1975 1 1 CARD RACK AND GUIDE ASSEMBLY  Inventor: Joseph Wapner, 69 Scarlet Oak Road, Levittown, Pa. 19056 22 Filed: Oct. 24, 1974 21 Appl. No.: 517,769
 US. Cl. 273/148 A; 273/150  Int. CI. A63F 1/16; A63F 1/18  Field of Search 273/136 R, 136 Z, 148 R, 273/148 A, 150
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 986,036 3/1911 Wyndham 273/148 R 1,437,680 12/1922 Rabow 273/148 R 2,066,887 1/1937 Holmberg 273/150 2,204,822 6/1940 Quillin et al. 273/148. A 2,585,380 2/1952 Greene 273/148 R FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 500,137 6/1930 Germany 273/150 Primary Examiner-Anton O. Oechsle  ABSTRACT A card rack and play guide assembly which makes it possible for two players to enjoy a four-handed card game such as bridge and pinochle. The assembly is constituted by four racks each in the form of an elongated easel adapted to support a full hand of cards at a viewable angle, a rectangular play guide and, in the case of bridge, two markers to identify the dealer and the ultimate declarer. The play guide is placed in the center of a playing table with the two players being seated at opposite sides of the table, and the racks are arranged with respect to the guide so that each player is provided with a pair of racks. Each rack is adjacent a respective corner of the guide and is identified by a symbol appearing in that corner. The sequence of play is indicated by a ring of arrows on the guide associated with blocks representing the different playing positions.
4 Claims, 3 Drawing Figures CARD RACK AND GUIDE ASSEMBLY BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates generally to four-handed card games, and more particularly to a card rack and play guide assembly which makes it possible for two players to enjoy a four-handed card game.
The term bridge refers to any one of several somewhat different games for four players and two partnerships, these games being derived from dummy whist. The feature these games have in common is that the hand of the declarers partner is exposed and played by the declarer who also determines the trump suit or the fact of no-trump play. The declarers adversaries are allowed to double the scoring values and the declarer to redouble them. Contract bridge is identical with auction bridge except that odd tricks do not count toward making game or scoring slam bonuses unless they are undertaken in the contract.
It is known (i.e. US. Pat. Nos. 840,459, 805,895, 1,629,070) to provide card supports for the cards of a dummy hand, especially in a game where two dummy hands are involved such as in bridge and in other fourhanded games whereby the game can be played by two players each of whom, in addition to the cards of his own hand, plays the cards of a dummy or auxiliary hand. The advantage of such card supports is that where four players are not available, as is frequently the case, two players can play a four-handed game. But the difficulty with honeymoon bridge and other fourhanded games played by two players with the aid of racks or other expedients is that confusion often arises as to which hands are controlled by each player and as to the proper sequence of play.
When playing the game properly, it is important that the cards be 'so supported as to assist rather than confuse the correct playing sequence, and that they should occupy such a relationship to the players as would in fact be occupied by those players which the dummy cards are presumed to represent.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In view of the foregoing, the main object of this invention is to provide a card rack and play guide assembly that enables two players to enjoy such four-handed card games as bridge, pinochle and hearts.
A significant feature of the invention is that the assembly does not bring about a simplification or distortion of the original game, for the assembly makes it possible for the two participants to play the'actual fourhanded partnership game under the standard rules, thereby retaining all of the elements of skill, chance and tension that account for the popularity of the game. Not only does the assembly test the skill of expert players but it encourages the average player to improve his game without having to find three other players in order to practice. v
More specifically, it is an object of the invention to provide an assembly having four card racks whose positions on the playing table are coordinated by a play guide placed at the center of the table, the guide indicating the proper sequence of bidding and play.
Also, an object of the invention is to provide an assembly of the above type which may be produced and sold at low cost, particularly since the card racks are formed from simple plastic extrusions.'
Briefly stated, these objects are attained in the case of an assembly intended for four-handed bridge, by a set of four card racks each in the form of an elongated easel adapted to support a full hand of cards at a viewable angle, a rectangular play guide and two markers to identify the dealer and the ultimate declarer.
The play guide is placed at the center of a game table and the two players are seated at opposing sides of the table facing the long sides of the guide. Each player is provided with a pair of racks which are placed on the table adjacent the corners of the guide, the corners bearing indicia such as N, S, E and W to identify the hands, the racks representing the four playing positions.
The same indicia appear in blocks printed on the guide, the blocks being linked by arrows to define a playing ring indicating the proper sequence of bidding and play; To keep track of the deal, a marker called Dealer is used, and as a reminder of who the declarer is during the play of a hand, another marker called Declarer. is used. Thus the components of an assembly for playing four-handed bridge consists of four racks, a play guide, two markers and a deck of cards.
OUTLINE OF THE DRAWINGS For a better understanding of the invention as well as other objects and further features thereof, reference is made to the following detailed description to be read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:
FIG. 1 is a plan view of a card rack and play guide assembly in accordance with the invention, the components of the assembly being placed in appropriate positions on a card playing table;
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of one of the card supporting racks; and
FIG. 3 is an end view of the rack.
DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION The Structure of the Assembly Referring now to FIG. 1, there is shown a game table 10 for a four-handed card game such as bridge which ordinarily requires four players. When played with four players, one pair of players forming a partnership is seated at the opposing north-south positions at the table, while the other pair forming the adversary partnership is seated at the opposing east-west positions. But since the four-handed game is to be played by only two players, one player P is seated at one side of the table to play both the north and south positions so that he is in effect his own partner, and the other player P occupies the opposing side of the table where he plays both the east and west positions.
In order to facilitate two-handed play of a fourhanded card game, an assembly in accordance with the invention is provided which of course includes a deck of cards 11 suitable for the game being played. Since the assembly will now be described in connection with bridge, this deck must contain cards which rank from ace down to 2. In bidding, suits rank spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs. After all cards in the deck are dealt so that each of the four playing positions holds thirteen cards, the dealer begins the auction which proceeds in rotation to the left.
In the present situation, each player plays both partnership positions and he must bid for each position, pass, double (increase the value of the previously stated contract) or redouble (only after a double, further increasing the point value of the contract).
The assembly further includes four card-supporting racks l2, l3, l4 and 15, each adapted to support a full hand of thirteen cards. Also included is a play guide 16 in the form of a rectangular plate which is placed in the center of table 10, with the long sides of the plate parallel to the occupied sides of the table. The basic function of the guide is to maintain the proper sequence of bidding and play. For this purpose, the four corners of the guide 16 bear indicia (N, S, E and W), representing the four playing positions. The North and South player l face the corners identified as N and S, whereas the East and West player P faces the corners identified as E and W.
Rack 12 is placed on the game table adjacent the E corner of the guide and rack 13 is placed adjacent the W corner. Thus player P has before him on the table, racks l2 and 13, the letters E and W on the guide corners identifying the hands represented by these racks. Similarly, racks l4 and 15 are placed on the table adjacent the N and S corners of the guide so that player P, has before him the racks containing the north and south hands.
Printed on guide 16 at the compass points are four blocks B B B and B each block enclosing a capital letter (N, S, E and W) representing its compass position. The four blocks are interlinked by arcuate arrows indicating the direction of bidding and play, thereby defining a ring visible to both players. To keep track of the deal, a marker card 17 is provided, the card having Dealer printed thereon. This card is placed against the appropriate position on the play guide and is moved after each deal in rotation as indicated by the play guide. As a reminder of who the declarer is during the play of a hand, a marker card 18 is provided.
The card racks 12 to 15 afford a convenient means of holding each hand separately so that each player (P, and P is able to see both partnership hands under his control. Thus each player plays his own hand and a dummy hand and the game therefore may be designated as dual dummy.
The Playing of Bridge For all practical purposes the rules governing dual dummy are the same as those used in partnership bridge. Each hand has to be bid individually as it normally would have been bid in a partnership game.
1 All bids must be a logical result of strength and distribution of the hand making the bid. If a bid could not be justified in a partnership game, it cannot be made at dual dummy. No Psyche bids are permitted, whose basic purpose is to mislead the opponent as to strength or distribution of the hand.
2 The opponent is entitled to the same information that he normally would have derived from the bidding in a partnership game. Therefore a hand that would have been opened in partnership bridge, must be opened. Conversely, a hand that would have passed, must pass.
3 Games and slams must be arrived at through a logical sequence of bids. Pre empting to game or slam in a manner that would be illogical in partnership bridge, is improper at dual dummy. This deprives the opponent of information to which he is entitled.
4 The game is most enjoyable and instructive if a full complement of bidding conventions are used. Conventions such as Stayman, Blackwood, take out doubles. etc, add a dimension to the game and are of infi nite value as a means of helping the average player increase his bidding skills for partnership play. The combination of being able to see both hands and then having to logically bid each hand so that the partnership arrives at its best contract can be of immense help in learning to bid properly. Having to analyze two hands for both defense and as declarer provides an insight into the game of bridge that is difficult to attain in a partnership game. Furthermore, there are no worries about being criticized by a partner. In dual dummy a mistake is something that one learns from, rather than apologizes for.
At first the idea of seeing both partnership hands seems strange. But it is not much different than being declarer in a conventional game. In dual dummy each player in effect plays as a declarer even when defending. However, the basic play problems remain the same. All the finer points of play, such as the end play, squeeze, and coups are still available to the expert. The average player soon learns that the finesse isnt the only or best way of making a contract.
In combination with bridge lessons, dual dummy is useful as an aid to better bridge. The instructions be come meaningful because each player has to analyze each hand for both defense and as a declarer. There is no distraction by a partner giving bad" advice as gospel. The intangible thing called card sense can only come from reasoning based on the understanding of card distribution. Dual dummy is helpful in attaining this understanding. Finally, it is an excellent way to improve the progress made by playing against a good player. This provides a true test of skill for there is no problem of partner misplaying. Each player is on his own. As a further test of skill which eliminates the elements of chance, dual dummy can be played as duplicate bridge. This is a test of individual skills rather than partnership play.
The Playing of Pinochle There are many variations of Pinochle that may be played with the assembly. An interesting game for two is a variation called Four-Handed Auction Pinochle.
Using the assembly the dealer using a standard Pinochle deck, deals out four hands of eleven cards each and leaving four cards for a widow or a kitty". As in bridge, each hand bids for the widow" in turn. Once a hand passes, it cannot bid again. The successful hand becomes the declarer. After showing the widow" to the opponent, the declarer uses it to improve his hand and discards four cards. The declarer names trump and both sides meld. The play of the hand is the same as in four handed pinochle. The declarer plays first and tries to make his bid. Scoring is done conventionally. For people who enjoy pinochle this is both an interesting and challenging game.
The Playing of Hearts Using the assembly, two players can enjoy a four handed game of Hearts. Each player plays the two hands that normally comprise the partnership. The rules and objectives are the same as in a conventional game. Using a standard playing card deck, four hands of thirteen cards each are dealt out on the play guide. The north-south player arranges his hands in the appropriate card racks and the east-west player does the same for his. After evaluating their hands, the north hand exchanges three cards with the west hand and south hand exchanges three cards with the east hand. Neither player may look at the cards given him until the exchange has been completed. The play of the hand and scoring done as in partnership Hearts.
There are many four handed games that are regional in popularity that can be enjoyed by two players using the assembly. Almost any four handed card game can be adapted to dual dummy play. As long as the players know how to play a given game they simply follow the rules. The only difference is that each player plays both of the hands that normally comprise the partnership.
The Racks As shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, each rack, such as rack 12, takes the form of an elongated easel having a horizontal base 12A, an inclined back 128 against which the cards in the hands rest, and a ledge 12C protruding from the junction of the base and back to define a longitudinal channel for receiving the lower margin of the cards. This easel is preferably fabricated by extruding synthetic plastic material such as polypropylene, whereby all components thereof are integral with each other. Thus the easel may be fabricated in long extruded lengths and thereafter cut to the desired size.
While there have been shown and described preferred embodiments of a card rack and play guide assembly in accordance with the invention, it will be appreciated that many changes and modifications may be made therein without, however, departing from the essential spirit thereof. For example in order to further differentiate the roles of the four racks, they may be made in different colors. Also instead of having a play guide as a distinct component, it may be imprinted on and become a part of the surface of the playing table. And the racks instead of being movable elements may be bonded to the table surface at the appropriate positions. To correlate the racks with the corners of the guide, each rack may have an appropriate letter (N, S, E and W) impressed thereon.
1. An assembly adapted to facilitate playing fourhanded bridge by first and second players seated at opposite sides of a game table, the first player acting for both hands of an East-West partnership and the second player for both hands of a North-South partnership, said assembly comprising:
A. a play guide formed of a rectangular plate whose four corners bear West, East, South and North markings in the sequence named, the guide being placeable at the center of the table so that the first player faces the East-West corners and the second player faces the North-South corners, and an instruction ring imprinted on the plate constituted by four symmetrically-arranged compass-marked boxes, each identifying a playing position, and arrows interlinking the boxes to indicate the sequence of play, the box marked North being positioned between the West and East corners, the box marked East being positioned between the East and South corners, the box marked South being positioned between the South and North corners, and the box marked West being positioned between the North and West corners, and
B. four card-supporting racks, each adapted to hold a full hand of cards for a respective playing position, one pair of said racks being placeable on the table in front of said first player in association with said East-West corners, and the other pair of racks being placeable on the table in front of said second player in association with said North-South corners.
2. An assembly as set forth in claim 1, wherein each rack is in the form of an elongated easel having a horizontal base, an inclined back against which the cards rest and a bottom ledge defining with the back a channel for retaining the lower margin of the cards.
3. An assembly as set forth in claim 2, wherein said easel is formed by an extruded plastic whereby said base, back and ledge are integral with each other.
4. An assembly as set forth in claim 1, further including a deck of bridge cards and two markers placeable on the table adjacent the guide, one marker serving to mark the dealer position and the other the bidder position.