Bridge (or Contract Bridge)

A brief history of the card game: When the card game Bridge is referred to it is almost always taken from the term 'Contract Bridge'. It is believed that Bridge originated in London circa 1889 having been similar in nature to a popular game of the time 'Russian Whist'. The main difference to Russian Whist was that the trump suit was not chosen at random, rather it was the dealer's advantage to select it and that the hand was played with a dummy.

Since the 1930's Bridge has become the most popular card game ever invented with a vast array of literature dedicated to the subject (even individual aspects of the game!)

Number of players: Bridge requires four players, playing in a partnership of two.

Playing Cards: A standard pack of 52 playing cards are used. The cards are ranked from Ace (high) to 2 (low). The Ace, King, Queen, Jack and 10 of each suit are referred to as the 'honour cards'. For bidding and scoring purposes the suits rank in the following order; Spades, Hearts (referred to as the 'major suits') and Diamonds, Clubs (referred to as the 'minor suits').

2 Packs of playing cards are traditionally used for Bridge; one being shuffled by the dealer's partner during the deal and placed to his right for the next deal.

A rough guide of how to playing Bridge

Bridge is a trick taking game played in partnership by four players. After the deal there is an auction in which each partnership bids to name the trump suit, by promising to make a certain number of tricks with the trump suit of their choice.  For the successful side, that promise becomes the 'contract'. It is the bidding which most most newcomers to the game find the most mystifying aspect of playing Bridge! During the bidding process each bid made by a player conveys something to each of the other players. After a well contested auction each player should have a good knowledge about all four of the hands.

The object of bidding as far as a partnership is concerned is to arrive at the best contract e.g. to undertake to make the correct number of tricks with the correct suit as trumps.  If their opponent happens to hold the balance of power, and a partnership is destined to be become a 'defender' (a player whose task it is to try to defeat their opponent's contract), then the bidding can be used to convey information to each other about the way to achieve this. Partners might regard the bidding as a conversation between them in which they develop their plan for the game. If either player misunderstands each other they will pay the consequences!

When the Contract has been determined, one of the contracting side becomes the 'declarer'. Their partner lays their hand on the table (becoming the dummy) and effectively takes no further part in the deal / game.

The declarer then attempts to make his contract in the normal way of trick taking games, whilst their opponents try to stop them. In essence that's how Bridge is played!