This game, whose origins date back to the 16th century, was recognised as a sport in 1999 by the International Olympic Committee. It is true that bridge has followers all over the world, on all continents and above all, it is organised in a federation. Members take part in competitions like those organised for football or basketball, for example. This game, which arouses the interest of thousands of enthusiasts, is accessible to all.
How is a bridge table set up?
Bridge is a game that is played by four people around the table. The players are grouped into teams of two. There is a “North-South” and “East-West” team, depending on the position of the players on the table, who must be opposite each other if they are on the same team.
The deck of cards used is a classic 52-card deck. The value of the cards is classic with Ace being the best card and 2 the lowest. The hearts and spades are the “major” cards and the clubs and diamonds are the “minor” cards.
The goal in bridge
Bridge players will have two distinct objectives depending on their status at each turn:
- If you are on the team that has announced the biggest contract, then your goal is to make as many tricks as possible, at least enough to complete your contract.
- If you are on the other team, the goal is also to win as many tricks as possible, but with the aim of making the other team “fall”, i.e. not to complete their contract.
Let’s see what a contract is.
The contract and bidding in bridge
A contract in bridge is a prediction of winning tricks by a team. In reality, a contract is the final bid, the one that must be met by one of the teams.
Bids are made in the phase after the cards have been dealt and are therefore considered. Individual players can bid higher if they think their team can do better than the previous bid announced by the other team.
A bid consists of a number from 1 to 7 and a suit. In reality, the numbers 1 to 7 mean the number of tricks the team is committed to make after they have won 6 tricks. This means that a player who announces a bid of 2 commits his team to 8 tricks (2 announced + the basic 6).
The suits come into play as there are majors and minors. The suit will become the trump which will be used to cut if necessary. If you call “no trump”, then no suit is designated. The bids in ascending order of power are therefore 1 club, 1 diamond, 1 heart, 1 spade, 1 no-trump, 2 clubs, and so on.
The player who makes the highest bid becomes the declarer, his teammate becomes the dead man.
The course of a Bridge game
The cards are then dealt, followed by a bidding session to finalise the contract. Once the contract is made, the game can begin.
The first card will be put down by the player who is on the left of the declarer, it is called the beginning.
The dead player will put his cards face up on the table for the declarer to dispose of them. Then, the dead player will not do anything else during the turn. You understand now better where the name “the dead” comes from. It is thus the declarer who chooses one of the dead man’s cards. This will be the case every round.
The players take it in turns to lay down a card in a clockwise direction. At each trick, the player who lays down the best card wins and takes it from the table to bring it to his pile of cards in an orderly fashion so that the counting is easier at the end of the game.
Note that the first card of each trick is the one that determines the colour that the players must respect for the trick.
At the end of the game, the number of tricks won by the declarer’s team is counted to see if the contract has been fulfilled.