BEGINNING BRIDGE IN A NUTSHELL.
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
A1. THE BRIDGE ENVIRONMENT
A2. THE BRIDGE GAME
B. QUICK GLOSSARY
C. THE PLAY OF A SESSION
C1. THE DEALING OF THE CARDS
C2. THE BIDDING OF A SESSION
C3. THE PLAY OF THE DEAL, aka, THE PLAY OF TRICKS.
C4. THE SCORING
1. THE BRIDGE ENVIRONMENT.
There are two basic forms of "CONTRACT BRIDGE": "DUPLICATE BRIDGE" & "PARTY BRIDGE".PARTY BRIDGE may also be called "RUBBER BRIDGE",
the two terms being used interchangeably.
It should be noted that either form of contract bridge can be played by 4 players
sitting at a lone table in a "SINGLE TABLE ENVIRONMENT" or by many players sitting
at many tables in a "MULTI-TABLE TOURNAMENT ENVIRONMENT".
So in this document we will refer to SINGLE TABLE DUPLICATE BRIDGE, or
SINGLE TABLE RUBBER BRIDGE, or MULTI-TABLE DUPLICATE BRIDGE, or
MULTI-TABLE RUBBER BRIDGE.
But our goal here is to steer the beginner to MULTI-TABLE DUPLICATE BRIDGE,
beginning with SINGLE TABLE RUBBER BRIDGE.
The MULTI-TABLE environment is nothing more than the replication
of the SINGLE TABLE environment which allows more player-partnerships
to compete against each other in a "TOURNAMENT".
A single partnership pair will stay together throughout the tournament.
However, a partnership pair may join up with another partnership pair
to form a "TEAM" that plays together throughout the tournament.
Oh, and "yes", DUPLICATE BRIDGE can be played by just
one table of four players as I will soon disclose.
No matter, the beginning player(s)
will usually opt to start their bridge playing in a SINGLE TABLE RUBBER BRIDGE
environment, because of the absence of the equipment required to play
DUPLICATE BRIDGE and the movement complexity of MULTI-TABLE PARTY BRIDGE.
2. THE GAME.
At its very basic & elementary level, bridge is a card game played by four people
sitting around a SINGLE TABLE with one of the players being designated as "NORTH"
who is the score-keeper.
Progressing clockwise around the table, the other players are designated
"EAST", "SOUTH", & "WEST".
The two players sitting opposite each other are partners & play against
the other opposite sitting pair of partners.
Hence, "NORTH-SOUTH" form a "PARTNERSHIP PAIR" identified as "NS" & play against
the "EAST-WEST" pair identified as "EW".
Not only are the partnership pairs identified by their playing position
at the table, but they will be identified by a unique "PAIR NUMBER" when
playing in a tournament.
The basic instrument of play is a card deck of 52 cards without jokers.
Within each suit, the Ace is high over the King, followed by the Queen,
Jack, Ten, Nine,Eight .... Deuce in descending value.
The four suits also
have value with spades being higher than hearts, hearts higher than
diamonds, & diamonds higher than clubs.
Spades & hearts are called the "MAJOR SUITS",
where diamonds & clubs are called the "MINOR SUITS".
The deck of 52 cards is distributed evenly among the four players
sitting at the table.
This is called the "DEAL".
Each player receives a "HAND" of exactly 13 cards.
The players then bid, play and score the deal in what is called
After one session, they can then begin a new session by playing
a new deal of the cards.
Thus, the players can remain in their positions at the table
and play "MULTIPLE SESSIONS" of "MULTIPLE DEALS"
against the same opponent pair.
The only question is , "For how long?".
The number of multiple successive sessions played against the same
opponents is called a "ROUND".
It is where the North-South partners play the same East-West opponents
repeatedly without change other than playing different successive deals.
There are two types of rounds, the "FIXED MATCH ROUND" and the "RUBBER ROUND".
DUPLICATE BRIDGE employs the FIXED MATCH ROUND, wherein the number of successive
deals is a predetermined fixed number, after which the round ends to begin a new round.
PARTY BRIDGE employs the RUBBER ROUND, wherein the number of successive
deals is indeterminate, because it is based upon the achievement of a
In the RUBBER ROUND, the predetermined goal is one partnership pair completing two
out of three "GAME CONTRACTS".
A "GAME CONTRACT" is the accumulation of 100+ points in raw score.
It should be obvious that a round in RUBBER BRIDGE can be over after two sessions
or go on all night.
So when your hear the word "RUBBER", think of a rubber band
stretching and/or contracting.
However, in MULTI-TABLE RUBBER BRIDGE, for the purposes of synchronizing
the play time among the tables, it is usually required
that a round consist of 4 sessions, wherein the deal rotates clockwise
after each session and the "VULNERABILITY" increases from
"Nobody Vul", to "EW Vul", to "NS Vul", to "Both Pairs Vul".
Therefore, it may be possible for a partnership to achieve four
game contracts or be cut short without any game contracts being
But it really does not matter since none of the deals are being played
in any more than one session. But it just feels good, like you have
done something if you have won the tournament.
After playing a round, changes in playing environment can be made.
This can include changing partners in a SINGLE TABLE environment
or changing tables in a MULTI-TABLE environment.
The management of these different playing environments is achieved
via a "SCHEDULE OF PLAY" and will be
described in much greater detail later.
For the beginner's sake, we will focus on the SINGLE TABLE environment,
with just two partnership pairs playing a single deal, while comparing
the two basic modes of operation,
ie, RUBBER BRIDGE vs. DUPLICATE BRIDGE.
B. SOME BASIC BRIDGE TERMS.
With respect to new terminology that is unfamiliar to the reader,
we will CAPITALIZE the first occurrence of a term .
We may also capitalize the term again just to emphasize the point being made.
Here is a quick short glossary of basic terms in alphabetic sequence for quick
reference as you continue to read the next section on the details of playing a session.
I recommend you scan it before proceeding.
A more complete GLOSSARY is accessible via the link following if you need it.
LINKS TO BASIC BRIDGE TERMS
(Use your browser back button to return to here)
"BID-SUIT" & "BID-VALUE"
"BOARD(S)" & "BOARD GROUPS"
"MATCH" aka "FIXED MATCH"
"PLAY OF TRICKS STAGE"
"ROUND", "MATCH" or "RUBBER"
"SCHEDULE OF PLAY"
"SUIT RANKING" or "SUIT VALUE"
To FULL GLOSSARY
(Use your browser back button to return to here)
C. HOW A SESSION (OR DEAL) IS PLAYED?
At this point it should be clear that a "ROUND" consists of multiple "SESSIONS",
where each SESSION entails the bidding, play and scoring of a single deal.
The basic objective of the play of a SESSION is a "can-do, must do, or else" mentality. What you say you can do during the bidding, you must do
during the playing, or else suffer the consequences in the scoring. For this reason, it is generally known as CONTRACT BRIDGE.
And of course, the more you say you can do, the more you obtain in score if you actually achieve your stated
goal during the play of the hand. Conversely, the more you fall short of your stated goal, the more you loose in score.
In general, there are FOUR STAGES to playing a SESSION:
THE BIDDING STAGE.
THE PLAY OF THE DEAL, ie, THE PLAY OF TRICKS STAGE.
THE SCORING STAGE.
1. THE DEAL OF THE CARDS.
In dealing the cards, there is a significant difference between
PARTY BRIDGE & DUPLICATE BRIDGE.
a. In PARTY BRIDGE
a single card deck consisting of the 52 basic cards (excluding jokers) is completely shuffled & distributed
evenly to each player
(ie, dealt) by a "DEALER", thus giving each player an "INDIVIDUAL HAND" containing 13 cards.
The first person to be dealer is usually decided by the draw of a card by each player. Subsequent deals are
done using the same card deck, but shuffled & dealt by the next player in clockwise rotation. Most players
will use two decks of cards to expedite the shuffling by the dealer's partner as the dealer distributes the
b. In DUPLICATE BRIDGE
many decks of cards are required & all PRE-DEALT before any play is done at all.
Before the game, each deck is shuffled once, dealt once, but not played immediately. Instead, each of the hands
dealt to the four players is placed within a dispenser called a "BOARD".
To elaborate, the board has four pockets corresponding to each of the four player positions, NORTH, SOUTH, EAST, WEST
and labeled accordingly. The INDIVIDUAL HANDS of the deal are placed into their respective pockets. Thus, the distribution
of the deal is preserved for the purposes of repetitive replay by other people.
The board also has labeling to identify who is DEALER & which pair (NS or EW) is "VULNERABLE".
"VULNERABILITY" is a handicap described later.
The terms BOARD", "DEAL" & "HAND" are used interchangeably.
The PRE-DEALT HAND MUST BE PRESERVED FOR SUBSEQUENT PLAY AT OTHER TABLES.
Once it is dealt, it should never be re dealt.
IT IS EVERY PLAYER'S RESPONSIBILITY TO SEE TO IT THAT THE PRE-DEALT HANDS ARE NOT MIXED UP & RETURNED
TO THEIR PROPER POCKETS IN THE BOARD AT THE END OF PLAY.
Quite obviously, there must be as many boards as there are card decks. The boards are sequentially numbered & separated equally into
"BOARD GROUPS" (ie, a set of boards) to be played in different ROUNDS.
Typically, there can be 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 BOARDS PER BOARD GROUP, and the boards in each board group are played together
as a "ROUND" in one sitting of a NS pair against an EW pair.
More will be said on this later.
2. THE BIDDING STAGE.
When it comes to bidding,
there is absolutely no difference between PARTY BRIDGE & DUPLICATE BRIDGE.
The purpose of the bidding phase is to have one of the two pairs make
a commitment to take a specified number of tricks in excess of half
of the 13 tricks possible.
Before bidding & without exposing the cards, each player picks up the 13 cards dealt to him or
removes the 13 cards from the BOARD POCKET corresponding to his position at the table.
To be clear, at no point will a player expose his hand unless required.
Each player evaluates the playing potential of his individual hand for the
purposes of making a bid. This is like looking in your wallet to see if you have money to compete in an auction.
The manner of evaluation is dictated by the partner's agreed upon "ENCODED BIDDING SYSTEM".
Bidding starts with the DESIGNATED DEALER. He may make a bid or "Pass" which is a no bid.
At this point, we need to understand the words used in bidding.
A "PASS" is a no bid.
A "BID" is a commitment to take a specified number of tricks
in excess of BOOK, which is half of the 13 tricks possible.
The purpose of the bid is to win the "FINAL CONTRACT".
The BID CONSTRUCT consists of two parts.
The first part of a bid is the BID-LEVEL.
One would think that in the bidding a BID LEVEL OF 13 would be possible,
since there are 13 tricks. NOT TRUE. BIDS ARE MADE RELATIVE TO A BASE (BOOK)
OF THE FIRST 6 TRICKS. Therefore, a BID LEVEL of 1 says you will take 6 tricks PLUS 1. This means that the highest
Possible BID LEVEL is 7 (ie, 6 + 7 =13). It should be intuitive that a bid level of 2 is better than a bid level of 1 & so on.
The second part of a BID is the BID-SUIT.
Not only is the bid-level a part of the bidding construct, but the specification of a suit (or no suit) is required.
Barring any difference in bid-level, the RANK of the bid-suit determines the BID-VALUE.
A bid-suit of no-trump is higher in rank than a bid-suit of spades, spades are higher than hearts,
hearts are higher than diamonds, & diamonds are higher than clubs.
Thus, a bid of 1D (1 diamond) is worth more than 1C ( 1 club), 1H (1 heart) beats 1D, 1S (1 spade) beats 1H,
1NT (1 NO TRUMP) beats 1S, 2C (2 clubs) beats 1NT, & so on.
A player's bid must be higher in BID-VALUE than the previous bid.
The bid-level is like the dollar value with the bid-suit rank being the cent value.
The higher the bid-level goes in conjunction with the rank of the suit bid, then the higher is the BID-VALUE.
From this, it should be clear that 7NT is the highest possible bid contract.
Now moving on & as stated before, the dealer may "pass" or bid.
If he "passes" the next player to his left may bid or "pass".
And so the bidding continues in a clockwise rotation until one
player bids or until all four players "pass".
If all four "pass" the hand is not played & a raw score of 0 is recorded.
If one of the players does bid, then he is called the "OPENER" & further bidding can ensue.
At this point, we define a "CALL".
A "CALL" is either a "BID" or a"DOUBLE" or a "REDOUBLE".
The player sitting to the left of the "OPENER" is the next to "Pass or "make a CALL in the form of a bid, or "Double".
A "DOUBLE" is not a bid. It is a bet that the current bid is unmakable.
Regardless, the bidding proceeds around the table in a CLOCKWISE ROTATION with each player "Passing" or making a CALL.
A "REDOUBLE" is made by the opponent of a "DOUBLER". It says "Oh yes I can make it".
This brings up another aspect of the bidding. During the bidding phase, before the final contract is established, a
player can place LEVIES (ie, ODDS) on the opponent's bid by "DOUBLING" the opponent's bid.
This has the effect of increasing the score against the offensive pair should the "DOUBLED" bid become their contract &
they fail to make it. But it also can backfire, resulting in the offensive pair getting an increased score should they
in fact make their contract. For example, suppose a partnership bids 2 spades, the opponents DOUBLE it & everybody
passes, leaving 2 spades "doubled" the final contract to be made. If the contract is made, then the double has the
effect of doubling the contract bid level , making it the equivalent of a 4 spade contract. Therefore, the declarer &
his partner will not only get credit for bidding & making a 4 spade contract, they will get game bonus & "INSULT" bonus
points as well. To make matters even more interesting, a would-be declarer (or his partner) might "REDOUBLE" a doubled
contract, thereby yielding a quadrupling effect in scoring.
Going on, the bidding continues in clockwise rotation with each player either "Passing", making a higher valued bid,
or making another call.
The bidding ceases once there are 3 passes in succession,
at which point the FINAL CONTRACT is the last bid to be made & is the specification of the number of "TRICKS" (exceeding "BOOK")
to be taken in the actual play of the deal, including the specification of a "TRUMP SUIT" if any.
It's much like playing a game of CALL SHOT in pool.
If a TRUMP-SUIT is named, then during the play when a player is VOID in the suit of a trick being played, he can use a card in
the trump suit to win the trick, assuming he is not over-trumped.
In addition, the pair making that last bid become the DECLARING PAIR, with the partner who first named the trump suit (or, no-trump)
of the final contract becoming the DECLARER. The declarer's partner becomes the "DUMMY". The declaring pair are the ones who must
do in the play of the deal what they said they could do in the bidding, ie, take at least the bid-level number of tricks plus a
book of 6 tricks. And it will be up to declarer to play both his hand and the dummy partner's hand during the actual play of the deal.
The opponents of the declaring pair become the DEFENDERS. Their goal is to prevent declaring pair from achieving the final
contract-bid-level, thereby defeating the contract, & causing the declarer to go DOWN or SET.
At this point we need to go back & describe how the declaring pair got to their final contract.
Based upon his hand evaluation & his partnership's "ENCODED BIDDING SYSTEM", a player may or may not participate in the bidding.
BY an "encoded bidding system" is meant that each bid, as well as the sequence of bids, made by one of the partners has a meaning
for the other partner, thereby
telling the other partner something about his hand's suit distribution (ie, shape) and/or his hand's high card strength.
in this way the two partner's will be able to assess their combined trick taking ability, which in turn can tell them to
what bid-level they can safely go & with what suit as trump.
Here is an analogy.
So you are at an art auction with a partner, neither knowing in advance what the other has.
Based upon the amount of money in your wallet, you bid a low number that tells your partner minimally what you have.
Your partner now knows roughly what you have money wise and can put his money together with yours to compete
in the bidding (or not) based upon the combined amount of money that you have. This is exactly how BIDDING
SYSTEMS work in bridge.
3. THE PLAY OF THE DEAL, ie, THE PLAY OF TRICKS.
Once the bidding has ended, the actual playing begins with declarer's left hand opponent (aka. the LFO) picking a card
from his hand and playing it face up for all to see. This is called the "OPENING LEAD" & is the beginning of the first trick.
Digressing for a moment,
we must state that on any trick, which ever suit is led establishes the "SUIT-OF-THE-TRICK".
It is required that all players subsequent to the lead of a suit MUST "FOLLOW SUIT"
if possible. This means all players to a trick must play a card of the same suit if possible.
The highest card of the suit led will win the trick. The highest card in a suit is the Ace, followed by the King,
then by the Queen, Jack, Ten, Nine...Deuce in that order. But if a player is out
of the suit led, then he may only win the trick if the final contract specified a
trump suit & if the player has a card in the trump suit that he can play to the trick.
Of course, it is possible that the player behind him may also be out of the suit led
and over trump him with a higher valued trump card to win the trick.
The purpose of play is to take as many of the 13 tricks possible.
Now going back, after the opening lead, the dummy places his hand on the table face up for all to see.
The declarer then plays a card of the same suit (if possible) to the first trick from dummy's exposed hand.
Play to the first trick continues clockwise to declarer's right hand opponent and finally to declarer himself.
This completes the first trick.
The winner of the first trick now plays a card of his choice to begin the 2nd trick.
This is called BEING ON LEAD. The winner of each trick will be on lead to the next trick. And so on.
Play continues in this manner until all 52 cards of the hand have been played resulting in 13 tricks.
Here we should mention a slight difference between RUBBER BRIDGE & DUPLICATE BRIDGE.
a. In RUBBER BRIDGE
the player who wins a trick sweeps up all of the 4 cards played to the trick
& places them face down in front of him before leading to the next trick.
Thus, the original deal is not maintained.
b. But in DUPLICATE BRIDGE,
the players do not mix their
cards with the other players hands as in rubber bridge. Instead each player
keeps his hand in tact for subsequent play by simply placing his played card
face down in front of him with it pointing to the pair who won the trick.
At the end of the play, each player will pick up their played cards & place
them back into the proper receptacle slot on the board.
4. THE RAW SCORING OF THE RESULTS FROM PLAYING THE TRICKS.
The Scoring Phase is the last stage of playing a deal.
a. COUNTING THE TRICKS.
Both of the opposing pairs count the number of tricks that they
won. The total between both of them should be 13 tricks.
Remembering that the declarer must have taken at least BOOK
(ie, 6 tricks) plus the number of tricks specified in the final
contract (ie, the CONTRACT-BID-LEVEL), the declarer
must subtract the book of 6 tricks from his total to determine
if he did in fact make his contract.
But an easier way
to determine whether or not the declarer made the final contract is for the defenders to subtract the tricks they won
from 7. This will tell how many "ACTUAL-TRICKS-LESS-BOOK" the declarer actually took.
If the ACTUAL-TRICKS-LESS-BOOK is
equal to or greater than the required BID-TRICKS, ie, CONTRACT-BID-LEVEL, as stated in the final contract,
then the declarer made his contract, in which case
he and his partner will receive "RAW SCORE" points.
If the ACTUAL-TRICKS-LESS-BOOK are more than the required CONTRACT-BID-LEVEL as stated in the final contract, then the
declarer made his contract, plus he took extra "OVER -TRICKS" which adds to his score.
If the declarer failed to take the number of tricks required by his contract, then he went "SET" or "DOWN" and the number of
tricks by which he failed are called "UNDER-TRICKS" for which the opponents will get a "RAW SCORE".
As an example, let's say the final contract was 3NT & the declarer actually took 10 tricks. Since the defensive pair
took only 3 tricks of the 13, we compute actual-tricks-less-book = 7 - 3 = 4 tricks. Since the final contract was 3NT,
the contract-bid-level = 3, so the number of contract-bid-level tricks taken was 3. To determine the over-tricks we
compute, over-tricks = the actual-tricks-less-book (ie, 4) - contract-bid-level (ie, 3) = 1 over-trick.
After counting the tricks, all four players must dispense with their dealt hands
by placing them back into their respect board pocket if playing DUPLICATE. But if
playing PARTY BRIDGE, they can throw their cards back in together to reform the deck.
b. DETERMINING THE BASIC RAW SCORE.
The basic "RAW SCORE' awarded for the play of a hand is based upon several factors.
1) The Concept of VULNERABILITY
is an important factor of which to be aware.
In both rubber bridge & duplicate bridge, even before the bidding phase begins, one or both partnership pairs may (or
may not) be considered VULNERABLE. If a pair is VULNERABLE, then it means (in contrast to being NON-VULNERABLE) they are
subject to greater rewards score-wise if they bid & make a contract, & they are subject to greater penalties if they
fail to make their contract. Therefore, it is important that a pair consider their vulnerability during the bidding
phase of a hand.
How a pair becomes vulnerable is different between rubber & duplicate bridge.
a] In rubber bridge, no one is vulnerable until a pair attains a game score below the line of 100 points , at which
point they become vulnerable for subsequent hands.
b] In duplicate, vulnerability is arbitrarily designated with each hand that is played, but in a manner such that it is
spread around fairly between the pairs.
2) It is important to know that the "POINTS"
awarded to declarer for making his contract
are either considered "GAME
POINTS" or "BONUS POINTS". It's much like working for a fixed salary, only if you do really well you get a bonus. BONUS
POINTS do not count toward GAME.
On the other hand, if declarer fails to make his contract, he is penalized, because the opponents will get extra BONUS
POINTS instead of him.
3) Next, it is important to know that during the play,
each trick that declarer takes over and above the required book
of six tricks, & in fulfillment of his contracted bid-level, carries with it a specific point value depending upon the
suit or no-suit of the final contract. This is assuming that the declarer actually makes his final contract. If the
final contract declared clubs or diamonds as the trump suit, then the value for each trick over six & up to the
bid-level is 20 points per trick. If the final contract declared hearts or spades as the trump suit, then the value for
each trick over six & up to the bid-level is 30 points per trick. Finally, If the final contract declared no-trump,
then the value for each trick over six & up to the bid-level is 30 points per trick plus 10 extra points for the first
trick over six. Of course the declarer must fulfill his contract if he is to receive these bid-level scores.
And it is this BID-LEVEL-SCORE that counts toward receiving GAME BONUS POINTS.
4) It is also important to know that
the opponents might place "LEVIES" (ODDS)
upon his final contract by "DOUBLING" the final bid.
This results in the scores being escalated. The effect of the opponents' "DOUBLE" is to double the bid-level score
should the declarer make his contract. This is called the "EXTENDED BID-LEVEL SCORE" or "EXTENDED BID-TRICK SCORE".
So, if the declarer's contract is 2H DOUBLED, and if he does indeed take the required eight tricks,
then his bid-level score is
extended as this, [(2 X 30) x 2] = 120 points.
This has the same effect as if he had bid 4H not doubled.
Finally, if the opponents "DOUBLED" and the "DECLARER" or his partner "REDOUBLED", this has the effect of quadrupling
c. Computing the BONUS POINTS.
We have already indicated that BONUS POINTS are awarded based upon over-tricks and under-tricks. But we have yet to
define the bonus points awarded for the declarer bidding and making an exceptional final contract. Such bonus points
are awarded for bidding and making a "GAME CONTRACT", a "BABY SLAM CONTRACT", or a "GRAND SLAM CONTRACT". Any contract
less than GAME is called a "PARTIAL CONTRACT".
We now define the four "CONTRACT ZONES as follows:
1) The PARTIAL ZONE
covers the lowest range of bid-values, beginning with the 1C bid & extending up to & including the
3S bid. It also includes the 4C & 4D bids, ie, 4-level bids in the minors. Such a contract is called "A PARTIAL" or
"LEG", because it results in an EXTENDED BID-LEVEL SCORE of less than 100 points which is denied to be "GAME". In
DUPLICATE, 50 BONUS POINTS are given for bidding & making a PARTIAL CONTRACT. However, in RUBBER BRIDGE no bonus points
are given. Instead the scores for two or more partial contracts can be accumulated by a pair, & if that accumulation
reaches or exceeds 100 points, then that is sufficient to qualify them for game bonus points. It also negates any
partial scores (ie, LEGS) by the opponents from counting toward game. This is called "SHOOTING OFF THE OPPONENT'S LEG,
because they must start all over again to earn credit towards game.
2) The GAME ZONE
stands in contrast to the PARTIAL ZONE.
"GAME" is defined to be a contract resulting in a "BID-LEVEL SCORE" yielding 100 points or more (or the accumulation of
100 points below the line in RUBBER BRIDGE).
It does not take a rocket scientist to see that a contract of 3H or 3S results in "BID-LEVEL SCORE" yielding (3 X 30
points per trick) or 90 points, which is less then 100 points. But a contract of 4H or 4S results in a "BID-LEVEL
SCORE" yielding (4 X 30 points per trick) or 120 points, which is more than 100 points. By the same token, a contract
of 3NT results in a "BID-LEVEL SCORE" yielding [(3 X 30) + 10] which is exactly 100 points. Finally, a contract of 5C
or 5D can result in a "BID-LEVEL SCORE" of (5 X 20) or exactly 100 points.
And we already defined those final contracts that constitute a "GAME CONTRACT".
a) In RUBBER BRIDGE,
there must be two occurrences of accumulating 100 points or more below the line for a partnership to
get bonus points. Any such bonus points are awarded after the completion of a round of four hands.
 If a partnership achieves one occurrence of bidding and making game & without any other games being completed during
the round, then 300 points are awarded.
 If a partnership achieves two occurrences of bidding and making game, but opponents ALSO made 1 game contract, then
500 points are awarded.
 If a partnership achieves two occurrences of bidding and making game & if the opponents did not make any game, then
700 points are awarded.
 If a partnership achieves three occurrences of bidding and making game, then 700 + 300 = 1000 points are awarded.
 If a partnership achieves four occurrences of bidding and making a game contract, then 1400 points are awarded, which
is the equivalent of winning two rubbers.
It is almost too much trouble to even be worth scoring. We do not recommend it.
b) In DUPLICATE BRIDGE,
a pair cannot attain a game score unless it is done so by bidding a game level contract & making
it all in one hand. Furthermore, if one bids & makes a partial score, it is not allowed to be rolled over to the next
Each hand is scored unto itself separate & apart from any other hand. This vastly simplifies the scoring. The immediate
bonus point award for making a game bid depends upon the vulnerability. Not Vulnerable = 300 game bonus points.
Vulnerable = 500 bonus points.
3) The BABY-SLAM ZONE
includes any bid made having a contract bid level of 6. Any such contract is called "A BABY-SLAM
Thus, 6C, 6D, 6H, 6S, or 6NT are all in the baby-slam zone. If a baby-slam bid becomes the final contract & is made,
then extra BABY-SLAM BONUS POINTS ARE AWARDED AS FOLLOWS.
500 POINTS IF VULNERABLE OR 750 POINTS IF NOT VULNERABLE.
These bonus points are awarded in addition to the game bonus points.
4) The GRAND-SLAM ZONE
includes any bid made having a contract bid level of 7. Any such contract is called "A
Thus, 7C, 7D, 7H, 7S, or 7NT are all in the grand-slam zone. If a grand-slam bid becomes the final contract & is made,
then extra GRAND-SLAM BONUS POINTS are awarded as follows.
1000 POINTS IF NOT VULNERABLE OR 1500 POINTS IF VULNERABLE.
These bonus points are awarded in addition to the game bonus points.
5) OTHER BONUS POINTS.
a] OVER-TRICK BONUSES.
If declarer takes tricks beyond the bid-level he declared, then he is awarded additional BONUS POINTS for those
"OVER-TRICKS" depending upon whether or not the opponents "doubled" his contract. In the absence of a "double", the
over-tricks are evaluated at the same rate as his bid-level tricks. So if he bid 3H but actually made 5H, then he has 2
over-tricks that are multiplied by 30 points per over-trick, for a total of 60 bonus points. If the opponents did "double"
his contract, then the value per over-trick is greatly higher.
If the declarer was not vulnerable & doubled, each over-trick is worth 100 points.
If the declarer was vulnerable & doubled, then he gets 200 points per over-trick.
If the contract was "redoubled", then these bonus points are doubled.
b] UNDER-TRICK PENALTIES.
If the declarer failed to make his contract, then he went DOWN or SET, & gets nothing. Instead, the defenders get bonus
points based upon how many tricks short (ie, UNDER-TRICKS) of the contract the declarer failed to take. If the declarer
was not vulnerable & not doubled, a rate of 50 points per under-trick is applied. If the declarer was vulnerable & not
doubled, a rate of 100 points per trick is used. If the declarer was doubled but not vulnerable, the bonus is computed
to be the number of under-tricks multiplied times 200 all minus 100 for the first 3 under-tricks, with the addition 200
points for each under-trick in excess of the first 3 under-tricks.
If the declarer was vulnerable & doubled, the bonus is the number under-tricks times 300 all minus 100 for the first 3
under-tricks, with the addition of 300 points for each under-trick in excess of the first 3 under-tricks. If the declarer
was re-doubled, the bonuses awarded are doubled.
c] If the opponents DOUBLED the contract & it was made, then 50 bonus points are given to declarer for THE INSULT
regardless of vulnerability.
d] In RUBBER BRIDGE, anyone declarer holding ace, king, queen, & jack of trump get 100 points for honors. If he also
holds the 10 of trump he gets another 50 points. If he holds all four aces in a no-trump contract, he gets 100 points
for honors. This is not true in duplicate.
d. Recording The Score(s).
The score is recorded by the NORTH player in a manner dictated by the form of bridge being played.
1) In RUBBER bridge,
the scores are kept on a cumulative score sheet having two columns,"North/South (ie WE)" &
"East/West, (ie,THEY)" with the winning pair receiving "RAW SCORE" points on
their side of the score sheet.. Additionally, the score sheet is further bisected vertically by a horizontal line midway down
the score sheet, called THE LINE. After a hand is completed, the score is recorded in the north-south column if they
are to get the score, or the east-west column if east-west is to get the score. The EXTENDED BID LEVEL score is
recorded below the line where they are accumulated as GAME POINTS. And all bonus scores are recorded above the line,
thereby keeping the two separate for the purposes of identifying when a GAME of 100 point or more has been achieved.
After the played deal is scored & recorded,
the cards are then shuffled & re dealt for the next deal (ie, a "HAND") to be played.
This continues until one of the two competing pairs receives a sufficient accumulation of raw score points to declare
them the winners of the "RUBBER" or until a "ROUND" OF FOUR HANDS" have been played.
At the end of the rubber or round, each partnership's total score (consisting of both all EXTENDED BID LEVEL scores
plus all bonus points) is computed to determine who has the most points overall, & thus wins the rubber or round. It is
possible that even though a pair achieves two games, they still might loose the rubber.
2) In DUPLICATE bridge,
The NORTH PLAYER IS ALWAYS THE TABLE’S SCORE KEEPER.
He records the score on the board's score sheet called a TRAVELER.
Since duplicate is primarily a MULTI-TABLE EVENT,
the competition is extended beyond a single table & includes all players, sitting at all
tables, playing all the same hands or boards. Associated with each board is its "TRAVELER" score sheet, which stays &
travels with the board throughout the event & is used to score each SESSION in which the board is played. During the
play of a given hand (or board) SESSION, the players will keep their cards in front of them to prevent the hands from
becoming mixed up. At the end of play, they return their hand to its respective pocket in the board & the session
results are scored on the traveler. Play of the next hand (board) is begun & continues until all of the boards
allocated to the table are played, thus completing a round.
The EXTENDED BID LEVEL score & bonus points for a given hand all are lumped together in one
score & entered on one line corresponding to the NS pair's number of the score sheet.
After recording the results, he folds it up very neatly, and tucks it into the board pocket with his hand.
They then move on to play the next board.
IMPORTANT. DO NOT THROW THE HANDS INTO A PILE. KEEP THE HANDS SEPARATE. FOLD & PUT YOUR HAND
BACK IN THE BOARD'S POCKET FOR YOUR POSITION. MAKE SURE NO CARDS ARE VISIBLE FACE UP.
D. AT THE END OF A ROUND IN A MULTI-TABLE ENVIRONMENT.
Continuation Of Play, & Determining A Winner
1. PARTY BRIDGE:
2. DUPLICATE BRIDGE:
At the end of each ROUND, the boards & their travelers are passed on to the next designated table for a new round & the
east-west pair moves in the a direction that places them in a new position at a table to play the next ROUND against
new opponents with a new board group.
It is rather like dossier-doe square dance where the board sets move in one direction to be played in another session by
different players & the players move in the opposite direction to play a different set of boards (ie, hands). This
allows all east-west players to play against all of the fixed north-south players wile allowing everyone to play the
Hence the name "Duplicate" which permits a valid environment for judging & comparing competitive playing skills by
eliminating the luck of the deal.
After all of the boards have been played by all of the players, all of the traveler score sheets are turned in for an
overall score keeper/judge to make comparisons of who came in first, second, third, etc on each hand. Each traveling
score sheet associated with each hand is MATCH POINTED for each partnership pair that played the hand. Match pointing
is very similar to grading a horse race, giving the highest match points to the winning horse race, the next highest
match points to the 2nd horse, & on down the line to where the absolute loser gets no match points.
After all of the hands are match pointed, the match points awarded to each pair on each hand they played are added up
to determine the winner. If you think about a day at the races where the same horses run not just one race, but all ten
races, then at the end of all of the races you can tabulate which horse did the best overall. It's pretty much the same
thing with duplicate bridge.