The Penguin Book of Card Games: Everything You Need to Know to Play Over 250 Games (6 page)

BOOK: The Penguin Book of Card Games: Everything You Need to Know to Play Over 250 Games
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made only if the contract is fulfil ed and only for the number of

tricks bid. Above the line go any scores for winning additional

tricks, or to the defenders for defeating the contract.

(The terminology is il ogical. The declarers obviously defend

their contract, and their opponents, equal y obviously, at ack it.

Bridge is ful of such perversities. It is, for example, the only

bidding game in which the opening bid is made by the dealer

instead of by eldest hand.)

instead of by eldest hand.)

What gives Bridge its bite is the method by which the contract is

arrived at – the auction itself. For, although two partners are

bidding on what they can see in their own hands, they are also

conveying information about their hands to each other in the way

they bid, and listening in on their opponents’ conversation at the

same time. Developments in the structure of Bridge lie less in the

play than in the use of bidding systems to convey information.

Bridge has undergone few formal changes since the 1930s, by

comparison with the 50 years of development that preceded it. In

Biritch or Russian Whist (published 1886), the dealer specified a

trump suit or cal ed ‘biritch’ (No Trump), dealer’s partner put

down a dummy, and declarer’s aim was simply to win seven or

more tricks. In Bridge-Whist (1896), dealer either nominated

trumps or ‘bridged’ this privilege over to his partner. In Auction

Bridge (1904), al four players could bid by raising the number of

tricks to be won, and al declarer’s tricks and overtricks scored

below the line. In Plafond (Paris, c. 1915), only contracted tricks

scored below the line. Contract Bridge, a variety of Plafond, first

appeared in 1920, but did not displace Auction until several years

after its perfection by mil ionaire Harold S. Vanderbilt on his now

famous winter cruise of 1925-6. The first comprehensive bidding

system was developed by Ely Culbertson, who was also responsible

for launching the publicity campaign which placed Bridge at the

summit of social status, from whereithas yet o be toppled.

Culbertson’s system, further refined by Charles H. Goren, remains

the basis of the standard American system. Thestandard

Britishsystem, Acol, commemorates the Bridge club where it was

developed, in Acol Road, London, NW6.

Bridge is played in three distinct forms:

Rubber Bridge. The home game for four learners and sociable

players. A game is 100 points below the line, and a rubber is

the best of three games.

Duplicate Bridge. The club and tournament game for serious

and advanced players. Hands are prepared in advance, and

and advanced players. Hands are prepared in advance, and

every pair plays just one hand against every other pair, in

such a way that none benefits from being dealt ‘bet er hands’

than any other.

Chicago Bridge. A home game, ideal for a smal number of

tables (two to six) where players wish to rotate. It consists of

exactly four deals with the scoring of Duplicate.

Beginners should start with Rubber Bridge and progress to

Chicago. Complete beginners, with no experience of card

games at al , should start with partnership Whist before

embarking upon Bridge.

Rubber Bridge

Cards Fifty-two. It is customary to use two packs alternately, one

being shuf led while the other is dealt.

Preliminaries Scores are kept on a sheet divided into two columns,

one for each partnership, and it is customary for each player to

keep a record, as a check on accuracy, in columns headed

(ungrammatical y) WE and THEY. The sheet – readily obtainable

pre-printed from stationers – is divided into vertical halves by a

horizontal line. Points that count towards winning a game go below

the line, and premiums (bonuses) above.

Partnerships Each player draws a card from a shuf led pack spread

face down on the table. Those drawing the two lowest cards

become partners against those drawing the highest. If equal, spades

beats hearts beats diamonds beat clubs. The higher partners have

choice of seats, and the highest deals first. The turn to deal, bid and

play passes always to the left. If partnerships are fixed by social

agreement, players need draw only to confer choice of seats and

first deal.

Game Game is 100 points below the line, which may take several

Game Game is 100 points below the line, which may take several

deals to reach. The first to win two games wins the rubber. A side

that has won one game is declared vulnerable and is subject to

certain increased scores or penalties.

Deal Deal thirteen cards each, one at a time, face down. Rank Cards

rank AKQJT98765432 in each suit. Suits rank from high to low:

spades, hearts (major suits), diamonds, clubs (minor). Object In the

auction, each side’s object is to discover as much as possible about

the lie of cards and to arrive at a contract that best suits their

combined hands. In the play, the declarer aims to win at least as

many tricks as specified in the contract. In any contract the only

points which count towards game – below the line – are those

made for tricks contracted and won. Any extra or overtricks made

by the declarers are scored separately as bonuses, above the line, as

are scores made by the defenders for defeating a contract.

The Auction Each in turn, starting with Dealer, may pass, cal ,

double or redouble. If al pass immediately, there is no play, the

cards are gathered in, and the deal passes to the left. A pass –

pronounced ‘No bid’ by British players – (but not American) – does

not prevent one from bidding again if the opportunity arises. A cal

is announced as a number of tricks in excess of six which the cal er

proposes to make, together with the proposed trump.

Example: The lowest possible bid, ‘one club’, is an offer to win seven tricks with clubs as trumps; the highest, ‘seven no trump’, an offer to win all 13 without a trump suit.

Each bid must overcal (exceed) the previous one – that is, it must

cite either a greater number of tricks, or the same number but in a

higher suit. For this purpose suits rank from low to high: clubs,

diamonds, hearts, spades, no trump.

Example: ‘One club’ may be overcalled by one of another suit, and one of any

suit by ‘one no trump’. A bid at ‘no trump’ can only be overcalled by a higher


Instead of bidding or passing, a player may announce ‘double’ if the

previous bid was made by an opponent, or ‘redouble’ if the

previous announcement was an opponent’s ‘double’. The ef ect of

doubling and redoubling is to double and quadruple the declarers’

score if the contract succeeds, or the defenders’ if not. But if a

double/redouble is fol owed by another bid, it is automatical y

cancel ed. When three players have passed in succession, the last-

named bid becomes the contract, whether or not doubled or

redoubled. This ends the auction.

Play Whichever one of the contracting partnership first named the

prevailing trump becomes the declarer, and plays both hands. The

opening lead is made by the player at declarer’s left. Declarer’s

partner then lays his cards face up on the table as a dummy, each

suit in an overlapping column of cards. The leftmost column, as

seen by declarer, should be the trump suit, or clubs if there is no

trump, and the columns should alternate in colour. The second card

to the trick is played by declarer from dummy, the third by the

leader’s partner, and the fourth by declarer from his own hand.

Normal rules of trick-taking apply: fol ow suit to the card led if

possible; if not, trump or renounce ad lib. The trick is taken by the

highest card of the suit led or by the highest trump if any are

played, and the winner of each trick leads to the next. Declarer’s

partner may not advise or participate in any way except to draw

at ention to any breach of rules he maybe about to commit (such as

revoking or leading out of turn). The tricks won by one partnership

are kept in one place, face down but overlapping, so that the

number taken is clear to al . If declarer wins a trick with a card

from the dummy, he leads to the next from dummy; if from his own

hand, he leads from his own.

Score See table and example for details. For making the contract,

the declarers score below the line the appropriate amount for the

BOOK: The Penguin Book of Card Games: Everything You Need to Know to Play Over 250 Games
4.27Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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