Bridge Memorabilia: A duplicate board from World War II

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May 16, 2015

A bridge-player in Charlotte NC . . .

Lois Alexander . . .  sent me a rare bit of bridge memorabilia a few months ago–a home-made duplicate board. from the WWII era.  I sent her a thank-you letter, but always intended also to blog about it. My problem was/is–how to describe an object when I don’t do computer graphics or drawings? If anybody out there can translate my words into a drawing I can copy/paste so I can add it to my website, I’d appreciate that.  So here goes!

I decided the best way to describe it, is to tell how I would try to make them, if given that assignment:

Take my sample to the nearby Home Depot or hardware store and buy a sheet of 1/8″ thick super rigid composition board. Have them cut  squares 7″ x 7″ — as many as possible out of whatever size sheet is available.  Right in the center draw an arrow. The tip of the arrow then becomes North, West is the left edge, right is the East edge, South is the bottom edge.

Then go to the sewing notions department of Walmart or a good fabric store and buy black elastic 7/8″ wide.  You need it cut it twice the width of the cards plus about a 1″ overlap — 4 for each duplicate board.

Place four cards on the board, evenly spaced — two at the top with the left card placed horizontally; right card placed vertically and two at the bottom with the  left card placed vertically; right card placed horizontally

Using the card as a guide, draw a 1″ pencil line at the middle of each long edge of each card, both edges.

Make 1″ cuts on each line with a sharp knife–I would see if Home Depot could do that as well because you’d have to have something rigid to cut against, like a piece of counter top or something (gets complicated).

Thread the black elastic thru each cut, and glue the overlap on the back of the board.

Each dealt hand then slides thru and fits under the elastic on the front of the board.

I started to give exact placement for the cuts until I realized the cards in the WWII original are 2 3/8″ wide and modern cards are 2 1/2″ wide — did you know that? Length is still identical–a smitch under 3 1/2″ — the math involved in giving you exact placement of the cuts  was too complicated to figure out for me.

It would be very interesting . . .

to make a few of the boards and deal, say, the first few hands to be played “duplicately”– a way of playing rubber bridge with duplicate hands, but WITHOUT duplicate scoring, innumerable rigid conventions, directors and the enforced silence of duplicate bridge.

Probably best place to experiment would be with a social bridge marathon where one plays with the same partner for 24 hands — usual social bridge one plays five hands and then we move on.

If I ever make the boards, I’ll report back.

P.S.  update, May28 – After seeing the fabric deck/scorepad/pen holders again that we use for my once-a-month Wednesday bridge club, I’ve decided could make those duplicate boards out of fabric too — why not? Much easier than cutting fibreboard.



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