Stories We Like: A Guide to the Comma
trick-taking card game, popular around the Baltic Sea, and a significant contributor to the development of bridge. It developed from a game called Siberia, played in St. Petersburg in the 1870s. This was a form of whist exhibiting the then novel feature that the dealer announced the trump suit and stated how many tricks his partnership undertook to win. In a later version of Siberia, the dealer's partner could raise the bid to a higher suit-ranking was spades (low), clubs, diamonds, hearts (high)-or a greater number of tricks. Vint took this farther by allowing all players to bid, which thus gave the game its name-vint is Russian for "screw" (as is its current Swedish name, scruv), in allusion to the image of gradually screwing up the bid. Variations exist in the rules, but common to all is a commendable scoring principle-namely, that the value of each trick varies not with the suit but with the level of the contract, so that the higher one bids, the more each trick is worth.