Tim Orr spent
his early years at the prestigious
turning up to his first duplicate bridge session not having had a single game or
lesson, Tim soon became a skilled player. He was fascinated by bridge and began
giving lessons at a bridge club he instigated at work. The lessons were very
successful, demonstrating Tim’s special aptitude for teaching the game to
others, a skill he attributes to his teaching experience both in the army and in
the world of industry and commerce.
Three years ago, Tim started the fast-growing Williamstown Bridge Club where he has been teaching many others to play this challenging game, with his pupils achieving excellent results.
aims to lead you from absolute beginner status to competent (but not expert)
status within six months.
anything worthwhile, success will not come without some hard work. Following
each lesson, it is strongly recommended that you spend one or two hours each
week revising what has been taught. In particular, use the quiz at the end of
each lesson to check your progress. If you can answer 90% of questions correctly
you will know you are progressing well. If you score less than this you will
benefit from further revision of the notes. It obviously pays to feel confident
about your knowledge of the previous lesson before progressing to the next.
Otherwise, it is easy to become confused.
The main aim is for you to enjoy this fascinating game whether it be in a purely social environment with friends at home or playing duplicate in a club environment. As with tennis or golf, enjoyment increases with greater competence.
What is a “trick”?
Trumps & Notrumps
Declarer & Dummy
How Good Is My Hand
Ranking of Suits
Card Play Through Example
Displaying hands & general protocol
Quiz Lesson 1
Answers to Quiz Lesson 1
Note: Throughout the text that follows, rather than using “he or she” when such a pronoun is required, I have adopted “she”. This makes reading easier and less cumbersome.
My observations tell me that there
may be more women playing bridge than men but I do not have statistics to back
this up. I hope the use of “she” is politically acceptable to all and is not
seen as sexist!
Many card games involve the taking of tricks. BRIDGE is probably the most popular of these and is played by
millions of people around the world. This is because bridge is an exciting and
challenging game involving more skill than luck, although luck can play a small
In bridge, the full pack of 52 cards is used. The Jokers are removed.
One person is nominated as DEALER. The dealer deals one card at a time clockwise
around the table starting with the player on the dealer’s immediate left. When
the deal is complete, each player will have thirteen cards. It is good practice
for each player to count her cards to ensure there has not been a misdeal.
What is a trick?
A trick is “a card played by each player in turn clockwise around the table with the person playing the highest card being the winner of the trick.”
Cards rank from the ACE (highest) to the KING, QUEEN, JACK, TEN, NINE, down to the 2 (lowest).
When playing to a trick, players must FOLLOW SUIT. That is, they must play a card of the same suit as the one led if they still have one in their hand. Not to do so is called a revoke and penalties apply if a player REVOKES. When a player is UNABLE TO FOLLOW SUIT BECAUSE THE HAND HAS NO MORE CARDS IN THE SUIT BEING LED, that player has to play a card from another suit (usually a small one). This is called DISCARDING.
The leader to the first trick is determined by the AUCTION which will be
covered in depth in later lessons. In the meantime, the instructor will
determine who is to lead to the first trick. Following the initial lead,
the person winning the trick leads to the next trick and so on through the game.
Trumps & Notrumps
In Bridge, each hand is played either with a TRUMP SUIT or in NOTRUMPS. Which
of these is again determined by the
AUCTION. In the meantime, the instructor will determine which it is to be.
When playing with a TRUMP SUIT, the meagre 2 of trumps beats any card other than
a higher trump. Players still have to follow suit and a trump cannot be used to
take a trick when a non-trump suit is being led if the player still has a card
or cards in the suit being led.
If a player is dealt all 13 cards in a suit (say, Clubs), and that suit
is trumps, then that player would take all 13 tricks. The odds against this
happening run into several billions.
However, the hand would be worthless with any other suit as trumps.
When a hand is played in No-Trumps, a player unable to follow suit
cannot win the trick.
Bridge is a partnership game. Players facing each other across the table
form a partnership. These partnerships are referred to as North/South and
The general objective in bridge is to take as many tricks as possible as
a partnership. Partners combine to optimise their side’s trick taking
potential. Perhaps obviously, there is seldom any point in playing a higher card
than partner if partner is already winning the trick (there are exceptions to
this which will be discussed later when examining card play technique).
Declarer & Dummy
Unlike other trick taking card games, bridge has one hand exposed on the
table following the lead to the first trick. The exposed hand is called DUMMY.
The owner of dummy makes no decisions in the play of that hand. Dummy’s
partner is called DECLARER and declarer plays both hands. Once again, the
process of deciding who is to be declarer is determined by the auction. This
will be covered in lesson two. For the hands played in this lesson, the
instructor will designate who is to become declarer.
How Good Is My Hand?
Following the deal and the sorting of cards into suits, your first step
is to evaluate your hand. How many high cards (A,K,Q,J) does it contain? What
other features does the hand contain? (long suits and shortages). Importantly,
how well does my hand fit with partner’s hand? What are our combined
A method has been devised for assessing the value of your hand through a
system of allocating HIGH CARD POINTS (HCPs). The scale is:
The HCP’s are considered along with the other features mentioned
above. These other features will also be covered in later lessons.
Prices in Australian Dollars CURRENCY
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