IBM Hobby Club Presentation

Bridge: Basics

  • Great pass-time to keep you mentally fit, esp. when retired.
  • 4-player partnership (2 pairs) trick-taking game with 13 tricks per deal.
  • Millions of players world-wide.
  • Clubs in all bigger cities all over the world.
  • 52 cards (13 per player). A K Q J T 9...2 of: ♠  ♥  ♦  ♣
  • Spades and hearts are the majors (Edelfarben), diamonds and clubs the (minors).
  • Cards have no score-value. It's about making tricks.
  • Game has 2 phases: Auction (bidding) and play.
  • The pair with highest bid wins the auction.
  • If the pair fulfills the contract they get score points.
  • If they fail, the opponents get score points.
  • Advantage (unlike in "Jass"): You can get good scores with bad cards. Defensive play!
  • Where and how: Privately (Rubberbridge), Clubs, Tournaments, Team-Play, on-line.


Bridge: Possible Contracts

  • Number of tricks + 6.
  • Partial contracts, games, slam, grand-slam.


  • Scores per trick: 20 for clubs and diamonds, 30 for hearts and spades, 40 for 1st trick in NT and 30 for 2nd, 3rd ...
  • Bonuses non-vulnerable: 50 partial contract, 300 game, 500 slam, 1000 grand-slam.
  • Bonuses vulnerable: 50 partial contract, 500 game, 750 slam, 1500 grand-slam.
  • Example 4H made non-vulnerable: 4 * 30 + 300 = 420.
  • Double and redouble change the scores.

Bridge: Bidding

  • Communication with partner by means of bidding-language to find best possible contract.
  • Bidding language uses 38 symbols (bidding space) and is context sensitive.
  • 1 to 7 in a suit or NT (no trump), plus pass, X (double), XX (redouble).
  • Bidding ends after 3 successive passes.
  • Ex.: 1 - p - 2 - ... : Partner I have at least 3 and 6 to 10 highcard points
  • Ex.: 1♠ - p - 2 - ... : Partner I have at least 5 and >= 11 highcard points
  • Ex.: 2 - ................ : Partner I have less than opening (8-11) but 6
  • Ex.: 1 - 2 - ........ : Partner I have 4♠ and at least 4 in a minor


  • Opponents may interfere (take away bidding space). Competitive bidding!
  • Players use base-system (SEF, ACOL, SAYC, Precision ...) plus additional conventions.
  • Two types of bids: Natural and artificial (to be alerted).
  • Ex.: natural: 1 - p - 1♠ - p - 1NT - p - p - p. Final contract: 1NT.
  • Ex.: artificial: 1 - p - 3♣ - p - 4 - p - p - p. 3♣ Bergen-raise showing 4 (7-9 HCP).
  • Ex.: artificial: 1 - p - 4NT - p - 5 - p - 6 - p - p - p. 4NT asks for aces.
  • Many conventions, e.g.: Stayman, Roudy, Michaels, Bergen, Landy, DONT, W2, ....
  • Ex.: competitive: 1 - 2NT - p - 3 - p - p - p. 2NT shows both minors.
  • Ex.: takeout-double: 1♠ - X - p - 3 - p - p - p. X shows >= opening strength.
  • Competitive bidding example.

Bridge: Hand evaluation.

In order to bid properly one has to evaluate the strength and the potential of the hand one holds. The evaluation is dynamic as bidding progresses.

  • Point counts: Ace 4, King 3, Queen 2, Jack 1.
  • Loser counting.
  • Length and/or shortage points.
  • Type of card distribution, e.g. 3-3-4-3 or 6-2-3-2.
  • Do we have a fit (>=8 cards in a suit) with the partner or not?
  • What state of vulnerability are we in?
  • Opening rules: Rule of 20, rule of 19 (3rd pos.), rule of 15 (4th pos.)
  • Open in first position if point-count + length of two longest suits >= 20.
  • Ex. (♠  ♥  ♦  ♣) AJT4/QJ94/K3/AQ5 opens 1NT in any position.
  • Ex. (♠  ♥  ♦  ♣) AJx/KQJ94/xx/xxx opens 1 in 3rd but not in 1., 2. or 4. position.
  • Ex. (♠  ♥  ♦  ♣) KQJ945/xx/Qxx/xx opens 2♠ in 1., 2. and 3. position.
  • Partners bids and responses.
  • Forcing- and non-forcing bids.
  • Opponents bids.
  • Bidding position: Opener, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, reveille.

Bridge: Play.

  • After 3 passes the pair with the highest bid will play the contract.
  • The player who first bid the contract-suit (or NT) will become the solo-player.
  • The player to his left will start the play by leading a card.
  • Then the partner (the dummy) of the player puts his cards on the table, so the other 3 can see it.
  • Player sees all his 26 cards.
  • Important: Ruffing a trick with trump is only allowed if one cannot follow suit.
  • The solo-player tries to figure out a plan to fulfill the contract.
  • The opponents try to get him down.
  • The opponents use signaling to communicate, e.g. pos./neg., even/odd, Lavinthal.

Bridge: Learning

  • Courses and workshops: Bidding, play, counter-play.
  • Dig yourself into the literature.
  • It's best to learn it with a partner.
  • Practice, practice, practice and learn from mistakes.
  • Be prepared to lose frequently in the beginning.
  • Keep it simple first.
  • Go to clubs where they offer assisted play.
  • Practice on-line.
  • Be patient. It takes time to learn it.
  • Play in beginners tournaments.

Bridge: Tournaments

  • Clubs organize weekly tournaments as well as bigger events.
  • In Zürich you can practically play every day of the week.
  • Sign-up in these clubs.
  • Pairs tournaments, e.g. Howell or Mitchell playing e.g. 24 or 27 boards.
  • In a Howell the pairs move from table to table according to a movement plan.
  • In a Mitchell the N/S pairs stay at their table. E/W move up one table after every round.
  • Typically one plays 2 - 4 boards per round (table).
  • There are also individual tournaments where one plays every round with another partner.
  • Team matches exist also. Two teams of 4 players each play two half-times.
  • Your final ranking depends on how well you played respectively to the other pairs.



Bridge: Community and Subculture

  • Hidden (subculture)in Switzerland.
  • Clubs: 3 in Zürich, Höfe, Zug, Baden, Bülach, etc..
  • Regular club tournaments.
  • Big tournaments.
  • National team competition.
  • Fédération Suisse de Bridge.
  • FSB Bulletin.
  • Bridge professionals.
  • Bridge magazines and books.
  • Bridge holidays, workshops, courses.
  • Bridge is also a social activity. Get to know interesting people.