BEGINNER’S BRIDGE NOTES - No Fear Bridge

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z x w yBEGINNER’SBRIDGENOTESz x w yLeigh Harding

PLAYING THE CARDS IN TRUMP CONTRACTSINTRODUCTION TO BRIDGEDon’t play a single card until you have planned how you will make yourcontract!Bridge is a game for four people playing in two partnerships. A standardpack of 52 cards is used. There are four Suits: z Spades, y Hearts, xDiamonds and w Clubs. Each suit has thirteen cards in the order:A,K,Q,J,10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2. Ace is high.The plan will influence decisions you will have to make during the play,for example knowing when to delay drawing trumps, instead of drawingthem all at the beginning.STEP 1. Know how many tricks you need to make your contract!STEP 2. Estimate how many tricks in trump suit (assume mostlikely split).STEP 3. Count certain tricks in the other three suits.STEP 4. Calculate how many extra tricks you need to makecontract.WAYS OF MAKING EXTRA TRICKS1. Ruffing in the hand with the shorter trump suit, usuallydummy. Look for short suits in dummy that you caneventually ruff.You rarely make extra tricks by ruffing in the hand with thelonger trump suit (usually your hand) as you have alreadycounted these trumps as winners.3. Promoting high cards.4. Establishing long suits (once you have drawn trumps).THE PLAYThe cards are dealt so that each player receives 13 cards. It is best toarrange them in your hand with alternating red suits and black suits.The bidding starts with the dealer. After the bidding is over, one pairbecome the declaring side. One member of this pair called the Declarer,plays the hand while the opponents Defend the hand.The partner of the declarer, called the Dummy, puts all of his cards faceup on the table and takes no further part in the play. Declarer plays bothhands, his own and dummy’s. The first person to play a card is theperson on the left of the declarer, this is called the Opening Lead .The cards are played clockwise round the table until four cards havebeen played. The highest card played wins the ‘trick’.* the card is placed like this if your side won the trick,or like this if your side didn’t win the trick.TRUMPSYou must always follow suit if you can, but if as a result of the biddingthere is a trump suit, then any card in the trump suit beats any card in theother suits. So, if y’s are trumps, the y2 would beat the wA. You mayonly use a trump when you are unable to follow suit, but you don’t haveto - you may choose to Discard (throw away) a card from another suit.Playing a trump card is known as Ruffing.Don’t Forget To Count Down TheMissing Trumps As They Are Played- 12 --1-

2. Count down the missing cards as you see them played.In this example lets assume that the missingspades split 3-2.WestEastzAKQ32 z654First, say to yourself ‘We have 8 cards, the opponents have 5’. Play the zA and watch what the opponents play. They both play aspade so say to yourself ‘the opponents now have 3 spades left’. Play the zK and watch what the opponents play. They both play aspade so say to yourself ‘the opponents now have 1 spade left’. Play the zQ and see the opponents play the last spade. Now yourz3 and z2 are winners.DEFINITIONSHonourthe five highest cards of each suit: Ace, King,Queen, Jack, Ten.MasterA card that is guaranteed to win a trick.EntryA master card that allows you to get the leadinto a certain hand (your hand or the dummy)SequenceAt least two cards in a row; e.g. A K, K Q, QJ .turn a lesser honour into a master by drawingPromote(an honour) out the opponent's masters.Blockagenot being able to make the master tricks inthe hand opposite because there is no entry.Establishing Making small cards into winners by drawingout all of the opponents cards.- 10 -MINIBRIDGEMiniBridge enables you to start playing bridge right away withouthaving to know all the rules for bidding.Everything you learn inMiniBridge is relevant to real bridge i.e. counting your points, how toplay the cards, game and part score contracts, scoring etc.HOW TO PLAY MINIBRIDGE1. The cards are dealt out one by one to the four players, playing in twopartnerships sitting opposite each other – thirteen cards each.2. Each player estimates the value of their hand by using a scale ofpoints for the high cards. Ace 4, King 3, Queen 2, Jack 1.3. Each player announces their points starting with the dealer and goingclockwise round the table. The total should add up to forty.4. The pair with the most points between them becomes the declaringside, the other pair become the defending side. If both sides havetwenty points, redeal the cards. The person on the declaring sidewith the most points becomes the declarer and their partner becomesthe dummy. If both players have the same number of points, thendeclarer is the one who announced their points first.5. The dummy’s hand is put down on the table for all to see anddeclarer chooses the contract. He announces either ‘part-score’ or‘game’ and either no-trumps or a specific trumps suit. The goal fora part-score is 7 tricks, and the goals for game contracts are 9 tricksin no-trumps, 10 tricks in y or z and 11 tricks in w or x.6. The first person to lead a card is the player on the left of the declarer.Each person plays a card in turn clockwise and whoever puts downthe highest card wins the trick, any trump beating any card in anothersuit. If either defender wins a trick, it counts as a trick for their side.7. The cards are then turned over and the winner of the trick leads thefirst card for the next trick.-3-

OPENING LEADSMINIBRDGE TARGET CONTRACTSPicture cards are called ‘Honours’. For the purpose of leads, the ten isalso considered to be an honour.1.PointsTOP OF A SEQUENCEThe very best choice of opening lead against No Trump and Trumpcontracts is the top card from a sequence of honours (‘top of sequence’).The reason for leading the top of a sequence is that you hope to promotesome winners for your side by knocking out the declarer’s high cards.In No Trumps contracts it must be a sequence of three i.e. AKQ6,KQJ32, QJ105. It is also correct to lead the Jack from J1094.In Trumps contracts it only needs to be a sequence of two e.g. AK43,KQ43 etcDO NOT LEAD an honour card unless you have thecard below it! The lead of an honour promises thatyou hold the next highest card.2.‘Part Score’50 points bonus4th HIGHEST FROM YOUR LONGEST SUITthThe next best choice is the 4 highest of your longest suit e.g. K9852.Your aim is to force out declarers high cards in the suit so that you canpromote you own high cards and maybe also make tricks with yoursmall cards (in NT contracts).TAKE NOTE OF YOUR PARTNER’S LEAD!Always make a mental note of which suit and which card your partnerplayed on the first lead. They will usually want you to lead this suitagain when you get the chance. Especially notice if they lead anhonour, promising the one below it.-8-21 – 2223 – 2425 – 2627 – 2829 – 3031 – 3233 – 3637 Tricks(in NT)7891011111213Tricks ( InTrumps)7 -89101111121213‘Game’ in No Trumps300 points bonus‘Game’ in y or z300 points bonus‘Game’ in w or x300 points bonusRemember that no points are scored for the first six tricks.‘GAME’ CONTRACTSA ‘game’ is when the score for the tricks you bid and make adds up to atleast 100. When your partnership has at least 25 high card points youshould usually choose a ‘game’ contract as follows:9 tricks in No Trumps (3NT) 40 30 30 ( 100) 300 bonus 40010 tricks in y or z (4y/4z)11 tricks in x or w (5x/5w) 4 x 30 ( 120) 300 bonus 420 5 x 20 ( 100) 300 bonus 400‘PART SCORE’ CONTRACTSA ‘part score’ is when the score for the tricks you bid and make adds upto less than 100. If your partnership has less than 25 high card pointsyou should choose a target of 7 tricks (i.e. as low as possible).There is no advantage in choosing a target of 8 tricks over choosing atarget of 7 tricks. A contract for 8 tricks making exactly 8 tricks scoresthe same as a contract for 7 tricks making 8 tricks.-5-

Leigh Harding 2004Tel: 01932 344609Email: [email protected]: www.nofearbridge.co.uk

HIGH CARD POINTSAceKingQueenJackUNBLOCKING4321Sometimes you can’t make all the tricks of a suit because of a blockage.West EastzAK zQJ52THE SUIT RANKING ORDERNotice it is alphabetical. Clubs are the lowest ranking and NoTrumps the highest.NTzyxwNo TrumpsSpadesHeartsDiamondsClubs‘Major’ Suits‘Minor’ SuitsEXPECTED NUMBER OF TRICKSThe table below shows the expected number of tricks you will makefrom your partnership’s combined point count. It is important toknow by heart the ones shown in bold.Points21 – 2223 – 2425 – 2627 – 2829 – 3031 – 3233 – 3637 West Eastz3 zAyAK yQJ52Tricks(in NT)7891011111213Tricks ( InTrumps)89101111121213-2-West EastzAQ zKJ5You can recognize the threat of a blockage by thepresence of isolated honours in one of the two hands.There are two ways of avoiding a blockage.First play the honours which are blocking (this is calledunblocking) then use an entry in another suit to crossover to get the master tricks in the other hand. Westplays Ace and King of Hearts first, then z3 to East'sAce. He is then in the right hand to play Queen andJack of Hearts.Sometimes you can overtake one of the blocking cards.West first plays the Ace then takes the Queen with theKing: in this way he can make a trick with the Jackwithout needing an entry outside the suit.TO AVOID AN UNNECESSARY BLOCKAGE:Play The High Card From The Short Side FirstIn this case you could accidentally cause a blockage byplaying the King first and then the Ace – you are stuckin the wrong hand. When you have honour cards inboth your hand and dummy always play the high card from the shortside first. If you start with the Ace in this example, there is no problem.West EastzA4 zKQJ2Try out some of the examples with a pack of cards.- 11 -

8. Declarer controls the play of dummy’s cards and if the winning cardcomes from the dummy, the first card for the next trick comes fromthe dummy (but the declarer says which card it should be).9. After all the cards have been played, the players agree how manytricks were won by each side and calculate the score.10. The position of the dealer moves round the table clockwise witheach deal.MINIBRIDGE SCORING1.The declaring side only scores points if they win the target numberof tricks (or more).2.No points are won for the first six tricks. For each additional trick,points are scored according to the contract, as follows:No TrumpsHearts/SpadesClubs/Diamonds40 points for the first trick, 30 points for eachsubsequent trick.30 points20 points(Note that the goals of 9 tricks in No Trumps, 10 tricks in Hearts orSpades or 11 tricks in Clubs or Diamonds , will lead to a total of100 points – the requirement for ‘game’)3.If ‘game’ has been announced before the play of the cards and it isachieved you gain a bonus of 300 points.4.If ‘part score’ has been announced and 7 or more tricks have beenmade you gain a bonus of 50 points.5.If you do not reach your goal, you do not get any points for thetricks that you do make. Instead, the defenders get 50 points foreach trick that the declaring side is short of their target-4-MAKING SMALL CARDS INTO WINNERSIn a No Trump contract (or in the trump suit) even the two can become awinner when you have a long suit with high cards.By playing your high cards you can draw out all the opponents cards inthat suit. In a trump contract this is called ‘Drawing Trumps’.Here, East/West have 8 of the 13 cards in thespade suit. How many tricks will East/West win?WestEastzAKQJ2 z543The answer is nearly always 5 tricks. There are 5 spades in North andSouth, they might be divided 3-2, 4-1 or 5-0. The chances of a 5-0 splitare very small so usually after West has played the zA, zK, zQ and zJthere will be no spades left in the opponents hands and the z2 will be awinner.Even if East/West have the same cards butWestEastmissing the Jack there is still a high chance thatzAKQ62 z543after West has played the zA, zK and zQ therewill be no spades left and the z6 and z2 will be winners.HOW ARE THE MISSING CARDS MOST LIKELY TO SPLIT?If there is an odd number of cards missing they will split as evenly aspossiblee.g. 5 missing are most likely to split 3-2If there is an even number of cards missing they will split ‘oddly’e.g. 6 missing are most likely to split 4-2 (not 3-3)COUNT DOWN THE MISSING CARDSWhen you have a long suit (in could be the trump suit or a long suit inNo Trumps):1. Count how many cards the opponents have in that suit-9-

PLAYING THE CARDS IN NO TRUMPSMAKING A PLAN - EXAMPLEDECLARERYou are South and you need to make 9 tricks in No Trumps. The lead isthe 6 of diamonds (4th highest of longest suit).When you see the opening lead, STOP!!! Ask yourself three questions:NORTHzA32y J 10 4 2xK95w 10 6 31. How many tricks do I need to make the contract?Then look carefully at your hand and the dummy:2. How many tricks can I make without losing the lead?3. How will I get the extra tricks?DEFENDERSTHE OPENING LEAD AGAINST NO TRUMPSBest lead is the top of a sequence of three honour cards e.g. Ace fromAKQ, King from KQJ etc. If you don’t have a sequence of honour cardslead the 4th highest card of your longest suit. e.g. the four from AJ942WIN A TRICK AS CHEAPLY AS POSSIBLEIf you have the Ace and King, win with the King. It helps partner workout what cards you don’t have. If you win a trick with the Ace partnerknows you don’t have the King. If you win a trick with the King partnerknows you don’t have the Queen.SECOND HAND LOWIf you can’t win the trick in second seat, play a low card. Even if youcan win the trick, it is still correct most of the time to play low to givepartner a chance to win the trick. If in doubt play low!THIRD HAND HIGHEven if you can’t win the trick, you should play high. You may set upwinners for your partner. When playing 3rd hand high with equally highcards, play the lowest of the equal cards (see ‘Win a Trick As CheaplyAs Possible)-6-z K 10 5y875xQJ862w74zQJ94yA96x 10 7wJ985SOUTHz876yKQ3xA43wAKQ2First count your certain tricks in each suit: 1 in z, 2 in x, 3 i