Idea behind: It’s far to easy bidding when seeing all your cards, bridge isn’t supposed to be easy and five card major openings are riddiculous.
Rules: Each player are handed 5 cards and so the bidding starts as normal. After the first bidding round all players recieve 3 more cards. After the second round of bidding you get 3 more and then the last 2. The bidding closes as normal with 3 passes (or four if it’s the first bidding round) If the bidding should finnish before all cards have been dealt, the players are dealt the remaining cards and the play begins.
Strategy: Keep the bidding low, or you’ll never get a change to describe your hand. Avoid passing out the bidding before you’ve got to see all your cards. Your last two cards may be two aces…
System: Naturally playing a normal system won’t do. Playing “natural” is possible, but you need a good way to show your strenght and suit lenghts are not that important during the first two bidding rounds. Better than to play a simple version of “Sunkrelä”. The relay bid is always positive and forcing. A double relay is negative. Personally I like to play a more systemised version where the responder asks the opener of his strenght.
Idea behind: Our opponents always seems to get better cards than I do. I want to play with their cards!
Rules: The bidding is carried out as normal, but before making the lead everyone sends there cards to the player to the left. Noone is dummy, as everyone already know the cards of two hands. (or should know, if there memory serves them well)
Strategy: As you are going to get to play with the cards of the opponents, you should generally bid your short suits and pass when holding “good” cards.
System: Play your favourite system inverted. In a natural system you should open with 0-8 in your shortest suit. Personally I of course like to play inverted “Magisk Carrotti”, meaning I’ll pass non-vulnerable with 0-5 and open 1D with 14+. Some special signals when being the “declaring side” might also be a good thing to have. And should you signal your own holdings or the ones of your opponent to the left…?
Idea: Balanced hands are boring.
Rules: This old variant is only a dealing variant. When all the cards have been distributed, playing continues “normally”. After a finnished deal all the players sort their cards and they are then piled together. Dealer cuts the deck and distributes the cards 7 at a time and then 6 at a time.
Strategy: Expect mad preemption, extreme (miss)fits and bad breaks.
System: Since you are very unlikely to hold a balanced hand natural notrump openings are a waste. On the other hand you will often hold an extreme two-suiter, so opening bids showing two-suiters are often useful.
Idea: I want to chose my cards myself!
Rules: Skickabridge is a variant on the same concepts as Gulash, were the distributions often get even wilder. You deal the cards normally and then each player simultaniously sends four cards in the same suit, to the opponent to the left. Then you repeat the procedure with three more cards, then two and finally one card.
Strategy: Don’t expect to be able to use “The LAW” as a guidance when competing on the 6-level…
System: Don’t expect to be able to rebid under the 5-level.
Idea: More boards in less time, means more fun.
Rules: Rapid chess is quite common, rapid bridge is less heard of. Nevertheless “Speedy Gonzales bridge” has become a regular event at the Swedish Junior Camps. The only difference between Speecy Gonzales and normal bridge is the lenght of the rounds. A four board round in four minutes is the fastest I’ve played personally.
Strategy: Sorting is done during the bidding. Arrive at a final contract quick, or you’ll have to claim directly after the lead.
System: Relay Precision? Don’t even think about it.