contract bridge


  • Well-known conventions include Stayman (to ask the opening 1NT bidder to show any four-card major suit), Jacoby transfers (a request by (usually) the weak hand for the partner
    to bid a particular suit first, and therefore to become the declarer), and the Blackwood convention (to ask for information on the number of aces and kings held, used in slam bidding situations).

  • A combination of two such hands (i.e., 25 or 26 points shared between partners) is often sufficient for a partnership to bid, and generally to make, game in a major suit or
    notrump (more are usually needed for a minor suit game, as the level is higher).

  • For example, a hand of KQJ9872  7  42  763 would be a candidate for an opening bid of 3, designed to make it difficult for the opposing team to bid and find their optimum
    contract even if they have the bulk of the points, as it is nearly valueless unless spades are trumps, it contains good enough spades that the penalty for being set should not be higher than the value of an opponent game, and the high card
    weakness makes it more likely that the opponents have enough strength to make game themselves.

  • Although it is not a formal rule, many clubs adopt a protocol that the bidding cards stay revealed until the first playing card is tabled, after which point the bidding cards
    are put away.

  • This is a difficult problem: the two players in a partnership must try to communicate enough information about their hands to arrive at a makeable contract, but the information
    they can exchange is restricted – information may be passed only by the calls made and later by the cards played, not by other means; in addition, the agreed-upon meaning of each call and play must be available to the opponents.

  • [19] To illustrate this, the simpler partnership trick-taking game of spades has a similar mechanism: the usual trick-taking rules apply with the trump suit being spades,
    but in the beginning of the game, players bid or estimate how many tricks they can win, and the number of tricks bid by both players in a partnership are added.

  • [25] At any time, a player may claim, stating that their side will win a specific number of the remaining tricks.

  • Game strategy Bidding[edit] Main articles: Bidding system and Bridge convention Much of the complexity in bridge arises from the difficulty of arriving at a good final contract
    in the auction (or deciding to let the opponents declare the contract).

  • [8] Biritch had many significant bridge-like developments: dealer chose the trump suit, or nominated his partner to do so; there was a call of “no trumps” (biritch); dealer’s
    partner’s hand became dummy; points were scored above and below the line; game was 3NT, 4 and 5 (although 8 club odd tricks and 15 spade odd tricks were needed); the score could be doubled and redoubled; and there were slam bonuses.

  • Standard American, for instance, is a collection of conventions designed to bolster the accuracy and power of these basic ideas, while Precision Club is a system that uses
    the 1 opening bid for all or almost all strong hands (but sets the threshold for “strong” rather lower than most other systems – usually 16 high card points) and may include other artificial calls to handle other situations (but it may contain
    natural calls as well).

  • A better than average hand, containing 12 or 13 points, is usually considered sufficient to open the bidding, i.e., to make the first bid in the auction.

  • Players take turns to call in a clockwise order: each player in turn either passes, doubles – which increases the penalties for not making the contract specified by the opposing
    partnership’s last bid, but also increases the reward for making it[20] – or redoubles, or states a contract that their partnership will adopt, which must be higher than the previous highest bid (if any).

  • Several systems include the use of opening bids or other early bids with weak hands including long (usually six to eight card) suits at the 2, 3 or even 4 or 5 levels as preempts.

  • The cards are dealt to the players; then the players call (or bid) in an auction seeking to take the contract, specifying how many tricks the partnership receiving the contract
    (the declaring side) needs to take to receive points for the deal.

  • Basic natural systems[edit] As a rule, a natural suit bid indicates a holding of at least four (or more, depending on the situation and the system) cards in that suit as an
    opening bid, or a lesser number when supporting partner; a natural NT bid indicates a balanced hand.

  • In natural systems, a 1NT opening bid usually reflects a hand that has a relatively balanced shape (usually between two and four (or less often five) cards in each suit) and
    a sharply limited number of high card points, usually somewhere between 12 and 18 – the most common ranges use a span of exactly three points (for example, 12–14, 15–17 or 16–18), but some systems use a four-point range, usually 15–18.

  • [6] Rubber bridge is the most popular variation for casual play, but most club and tournament play involves some variant of duplicate bridge, where the cards are not re-dealt
    on each occasion, but the same deal is played by two or more sets of players (or “tables”) to enable comparative scoring.

  • Players must play a card of the same suit as the original card led, unless they have none (said to be “void”), in which case they may play any card.

  • [23][24] In practice, establishing a contract without enough information on the other partner’s hand is difficult, so there exist many bidding systems assigning meanings to
    bids, with common ones including Standard American, Acol, and 2/1 game forcing.

  • [c] When it is their turn to call, a player may pass – but can enter into the bidding later – or bid a contract, specifying the level of their contract and either the trump
    suit or no trump (the denomination), provided that it is higher than the last bid by any player, including their partner.

  • Many experts today use a system called 2/1 game forcing (enunciated as two over one game forcing), which amongst other features adds some complexity to the treatment of the
    one notrump response as used in Standard American.

  • Preemptive bids serve a double purpose – they allow players to indicate they are bidding on the basis of a long suit in an otherwise weak hand, which is important information
    to share, and they also consume substantial bidding space which prevents a possibly strong opposing pair from exchanging information on their cards.

  • Thus in response to 4NT, a ‘natural’ bid of 5 would state a preference towards a diamond suit or a desire to play the contract in 5 diamonds, whereas if the partners have
    agreed to use the common Blackwood convention, a bid of 5 in the same situation would say nothing about the diamond suit, but tell the partner that the hand in question contains exactly one ace.

  • [43] If the declaring side makes their contract, they receive points for odd tricks, or tricks bid and made in excess of six.

  • [18] Instead, the goal is to successfully estimate how many tricks one’s partnership can take.

  • This means that an opening bid of 1 or 1 will sometimes be made with only 3 cards in that suit.

  • The most significant change was that only the tricks contracted for were scored below the line toward game or a slam bonus, a change that resulted in bidding becoming much
    more challenging and interesting.

  • [36] The auction ends when, after a player bids, doubles, or redoubles, every other player has passed, in which case the action proceeds to the play; or every player has passed
    and no bid has been made, in which case the round is considered to be “passed out” and not played.

  • Opening bids of three or higher are preemptive bids, i.e., bids made with weak hands that especially favor a particular suit, opened at a high level in order to define the
    hand’s value quickly and to frustrate the opposition.

  • Opening bids at the one level are made with hands containing 12–13 points or more and which are not suitable for one of the preceding bids.

  • Once all the cards have been played, the hand is scored: if the declaring side makes their contract, they receive points based on the level of the contract, with some trump
    suits being worth more points than others and no trump being the highest, as well as bonus points for overtricks.

  • The line between a well-known convention and a part of a system is not always clear-cut: some bidding systems include specified conventions by default.

  • [24][45] Bonuses vary between the two bridge variations both in score and in type (for example, rubber bridge awards a bonus for holding a certain combination of high cards),[24]
    although some are common between the two.

  • [22] Note that six tricks are added to contract values, so the six-level contract would actually be a contract of twelve tricks.

  • If the last bid was by the opposing partnership, one may also double the opponents’ bid, increasing the penalties for undertricks, but also increasing the reward for making
    the contract.

  • The deal is scored based on the number of tricks taken, the contract, and various other factors which depend to some extent on the variation of the game being played.

  • If taking all 13 tricks, there is no difference in score between a 1 and a 7 final bid, as the bonus for rubber, small slam or grand slam depends on the number of tricks taken
    rather than the number of tricks bid.

  • At the end of a session, the scores for each deal are compared, and the most points are awarded to the players doing the best with each particular deal.

  • A natural call carries a meaning that reflects the call; a natural bid intuitively showing hand or suit strength based on the level or suit of the bid, and a natural double
    expressing that the player believes that the opposing partnership will not make their contract.

  • [41] Scoring[edit] Main article: Bridge scoring At the end of the hand, points are awarded to the declaring side if they make the contract, or else to the defenders.

  • After a deal has been played, players return their cards to the appropriate slot in the board, ready to be played by the next table.

  • If the claim is disputed, play continues with the claiming player’s cards face up in rubber games,[40] or in duplicate games, play ceases and the tournament director is called
    to adjudicate the hand.

  • In duplicate bridge the cards are pre-dealt, either by hand or by a computerized dealing machine, in order to allow for competitive scoring.

  • In rubber bridge, if a side has won 100 contract points, they have won a game and are vulnerable for the remaining rounds,[42] but in duplicate bridge, vulnerability is predetermined
    based on the number of each board.

  • [27][28] All that is needed in basic games are the cards and a method of keeping score, but there is often other equipment on the table, such as a board containing the cards
    to be played (in duplicate bridge), bidding boxes, or screens.

  • A natural, or penalty double, is one used to try to gain extra points when the defenders are confident of setting (defeating) the contract.

  • The most common example of a conventional double is the takeout double of a low-level suit bid, implying support for the unbid suits or the unbid major suits and asking partner
    to choose one of them.

  • If a partnership takes at least that many tricks, they receive points for the round; otherwise, they lose penalty points.

  • The majority of rules mirror those of duplicate bridge in the bidding and play and differ primarily in procedures for dealing and scoring.

  • Here the 2 opening is used for either hands with a good 6-card suit or longer (max one losing card) and a total of 18 HCP up to 23 total points – or “2+1⁄2NT”, like 2NT but
    with 22–23 HCP.

  • These are placed diagonally across the table, preventing partners from seeing each other during the game; often the screen is removed after the auction is complete.

  • However, if the declarer fails to fulfill the contract, the defenders receive points depending on the declaring side’s undertricks (the number of tricks short of the contract)
    and whether the contract was doubled by the defenders.

  • [e] In rubber bridge, a partnership wins one game once it has accumulated 100 contract points; excess contract points do not carry over to the next game.

  • [29][30][31] Duplicate Boards with cards In rubber bridge each player draws a card at the start of the game; the player who draws the highest card deals first.

  • This measures relative skill (but still with an element of luck) because each pair or team is being judged only on the ability to bid with, and play, the same cards as other

  • The claiming player lays his cards down on the table and explains the order in which he intends to play the remaining cards.

  • Bridge extends the concept of bidding into an auction, where partnerships compete to take a contract, specifying how many tricks they will need to take in order to receive
    points, and also specifying the trump suit (or no trump, meaning that there will be no trump suit).

  • In addition, the distribution of the cards in a hand into suits may also contribute to the strength of a hand and be counted as distribution points.

  • The term preempt refers to a high-level tactical bid by a weak hand, relying upon a very long suit rather than high cards for tricks.

  • [35] Players may not see their partner’s hand during the auction, only their own.

  • In the UK, Acol is the most common system; its main features are a weak one notrump opening with 12–14 high card points and several variations for 2-level openings.

  • Partnerships who agree to play 5-card majors open a minor suit with 4-card majors and then bid their major suit at the next opportunity.

  • In 1925 when contract bridge first evolved, bridge tournaments were becoming popular, but the rules were somewhat in flux, and several different organizing bodies were involved
    in tournament sponsorship: the American Bridge League (formerly the American Auction Bridge League, which changed its name in 1929), the American Whist League, and the United States Bridge Association.

  • A larger bonus is awarded if the declaring side makes a small slam or grand slam, a contract of 12 or 13 tricks respectively.

  • [a] Millions of people play bridge worldwide in clubs, tournaments, online and with friends at home, making it one of the world’s most popular card games, particularly among

  • In its basic format, it is played by four players in two competing partnerships,[1] with partners sitting opposite each other around a table.

  • Contract bridge, or simply bridge, is a trick-taking card game using a standard 52-card deck.

  • Unusually strong bids communicate an especially high number of points (normally 20 or more) or a high trick-taking potential (normally 8 or more).

  • In addition to the basic rules of play, there are many additional rules covering playing conditions and the rectification of irregularities, which are primarily for use by
    tournament directors who act as referees and have overall control of procedures during competitions.

  • [14] Gameplay Overview[edit] Bridge is a four-player partnership trick-taking game with thirteen tricks per deal.

  • A partnership’s bidding system is usually made up of a core system, modified and complemented by specific conventions (optional customizations incorporated into the main system
    for handling specific bidding situations) which are pre-chosen between the partners prior to play.

  • [17] In this trick, North led 10 so all players must play a spade unless they have none.

  • Conventions are valuable in bridge because of the need to pass information beyond a simple like or dislike of a particular suit, and because the limited bidding space can
    be used more efficiently by adopting a conventional (artificial) meaning for a given call where a natural meaning would have less utility, because the information it would convey is not valuable or because the desire to convey that information
    would arise only rarely.

  • Whilst the 2 opening bid takes care of all hands with 24 points (HCP or with distribution points included) with the only exception of “Gambling 3NT”.

  • Using Standard American with 5-card majors, opening hearts or spades usually promises a 5-card suit.

  • [17] Unlike its predecessor, whist, the goal of bridge is not simply to take the most tricks in a deal.


Works Cited

[‘In face-to-face games, a convenient table size is 32 to 40 inches (80 to 100 cm) square[2][3] or a similarly-sized round table allowing each player to reach to the center of the table during the play of the cards. In online computer play, players from
anywhere in the world sit at a virtual table.
o ^ The terms deal, hand and board may be used interchangeably in bridge literature. More accurately, a hand is one player’s holding of 13 cards, a deal is the four hands in one allocation of 52 cards;
a board is a term more applicable to duplicate bridge and refers to a deal.
o ^ e.g., if North is the dealer, they make a call, then the auction continues with East, South, West, and so on.
o ^ For example, if player A bids 2 and player B, their
partner, raises to 4 and that becomes the final contract, then player A becomes declarer.
o ^ If the declaring side makes a contract of 3NT and takes exactly nine tricks, fulfilling the contract (6 + 3), they receive 40 points for the first odd
trick, and 60 (30 × 2) points for the remaining odd tricks, adding up to 100 contract points. If the contract was doubled or redoubled, the declaring side receives 200 and 400 points respectively. Additional bonus points may apply depending on the
variation played; for example, in duplicate bridge, the declaring side is awarded a game bonus for having won 100 or more contract points, which is 500 if vulnerable, for a total of 600 points (500 + 100), or 300 if not vulnerable, for a total of
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Photo credit:’]