Mr Bridge
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Random seating

At our club we introduced random seating by choosing a hidden marked card with a table number as N/S or E/W. Any one member with a recognised disability we allow to sit in the orientation of their choice. What do other clubs do and how, as this sometimes creates a queue and some members say first come first free choice without the need for random seating allocation?


  • Drawing for seats is more objectively fair - particularly if the movement is one where not all opponents will be played. This method is used at one club where I am a member (I don't see any need for queuing and guess that this arises from chatting rather than any inherent difficulty in picking a single card!).

    Allowing players to sit where they like on a first come first served basis causes less friction and is probably perfectly adequate for most clubs, but distortions can occur - e.g. on a two-winner movement (a Mitchell) you can sometimes find that the stronger players are tending to sit in one direction and the weaker players in the other direction.

  • This is one reason it doesn’t make a lot of sense to use two-winner Mitchells. Of course, if you could ensure that the field were divided exactly with each direction comprised of only the stronger or weaker players you would have no problem, but this uniformity seems impossible to achieve.

    In an ordinary Mitchell, the arrow-switch creates balance. At least to some extent.

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