How to Score a Chicago Wheel in Bridge

By Eddie Kantar

Fun and games are over. Now it’s time to experience playing bridge and scoring your first Chicago wheel! Can you stand all this excitement?

On the very first hand, you’re the dealer, and your side winds up playing a contract of 2♥. By sheer brilliance, you fulfill your contract and take exactly eight tricks. Your trick score is 30 × 2 = 60 + an automatic 50 for bidding and making a partscore contract. Drum roll, if you please: Chalk up 110 points and enter them on your score sheet.

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Enter your trick score on the first deal.

Now you’re on to the second hand, in which the dealer’s side is vulnerable. The person to your left (an opponent) deals the second hand. Before the cards are dealt, put a 2 in the triangle to your left.

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On the second deal, they hit you with a vulnerable game!

This time, your opponents get most of the high cards and wind up in 3NT, vulnerable, and make it. They get a 100-point trick score + 500 bonus points for bidding a vulnerable game. Enter 600 points under They. Oh well, life goes on. In fact, it goes on to hand 3.

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Make a partscore with an overtrick on the third deal.

On hand 3, the dealer’s side (your team) is vulnerable. With both sides bidding, the opponents eventually outbid you buying the contract at 3♠. They need nine tricks but actually take ten! They make an overtrick (an extra trick). Their trick score is 4 × 30 = 120 + 50 (the partscore bonus) = 170. Enter it on the They side.

Hand 4 is the last hand of the wheel. This time both sides are vulnerable, and your side is behind! You have 110 points on your side and they have 770 on theirs. On this last hand, your side bids 6♠, which is a small slam. You make it — with an overtrick! Remember the formula: the trick score (7 × 30 = 210) + the game bonus (500, because you were vulnerable) + the small-slam bonus (750; again, because you were vulnerable), and in one fell swoop you have just made 1,460 points. Enter them on the We side.

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Slamming your way to victory!

After entering the 1,460 points on your side, the first wheel is history. Add up the scores under We (1,570) and under They (770) and calculate the difference, in this case 800. After you have that total, draw a double line under all scores and put 800 directly under the double line on the We side of the ledger. This score represents your carryover (running total) going into the next wheel. Further scores go under the double line on either the We or the They side, and the process is repeated every four deals until quitting time.

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Carry over the difference, ready for the next wheel.

 

The carryover method of scoring is far easier than waiting until the session is over and then adding up all the scores, needing a calculator to see who has actually won! Most bridge players like to know how they are doing as the play progresses by simply looking at the latest running total.