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A кirtik (Bulgarian: киртик) is a penalty in the Bridge-Belote card game, used in its versions within some parts of Bulgaria, especially Ruse and its vicinity. The penalty amounts to the negative
-10 points, and is issued for not winning a committed game contract or for being valat (not winning any tricks). A kirtik is recorded as a wide forward slash mark.
The word kirtik is most probably derived from the same root as cherta (Bulgarian: черта), meaning a notch, a line, a slash. The k-ch (к-ч) transition is common in Slavic languages, and here it is combined with the East-Bulgarian tendency to pronounce open vowels as close ones.
In addition to the rules of Belote (as played in Bulgaria), the following rules apply:
- An additional limit is set at
-60global points, similar to the
151-point limit. If a team's score drops under
-60, and the last dealing did not end in a valat, the game is considered won by the other team.
- Kirtiks are multiplied by two at no trumps and are influenced by doubles.
- A kirtik received for being valat does not influence scores from declarations, it just "adds up" as minus ten, as usual.
- Alas, being highly unpopular amongst players from other parts of Bulgaria, this MADE-UP rule often appears to cause fights and verbal abuse, should Ruse players insist on applying it.
The game is more dynamic this way, as the danger of losing points is always present. The typical 4-passes deadlock, when a team is close to the
151-point limit, is less common. Irresponsible bids of no trumps are reduced, because of the risk of a greater penalty.
The theoretically worst possible dealing for a team is a no trumps contract, doubled twice, which they failed to win by not taking any tricks. This amounts to 16 kirtiks, or
-160 global points, not taking into account the points won by the opponents.