Wednesday, November 14, 2012

How and What to Discard

There is considerable discussion and a wide diversity of opinion among Bridge Players as to the best suit to throw away. You should, therefore, before playing, ask your partner which method he adopts. Some advantage may be claimed for each theory of discard; but the main object of them all is the same—to indicate to partner the suit you wish led and at the same time protect any honours you may hold in other suits.

The three different discards used by Bridge Players are:
  • Strength, both with a trump and at "no-trump."
  • Strength, with a trump and weakness at "no-trump."
  • Weakness, both with a trump and at "no-trump."

The discard of strength with a trump and weakness at "no-trump" is the one most commonly used. This discard of weakness at "no-trump," while it has the advantage of saving all the cards of the long suit, which you may make, has also several disadvantages.

To show your suit absolutely you need two discards.

In order not to deceive your partner it may be necessary to unguard honours, such as J x x x, 10 x x x, Q x x, or even K x.

By discarding weakness you show the dealer against which hand to finesse.

The writer, after the analysis of many thousand hands, believes that at "no-trump" the first discard from strength, i.e., the long suit or the suit you wish partner to lead, is the safest and best, both for protecting the hand and for showing the suit beyond possibility of mistake.

The main advantages of the strength discard are:
  • It takes but one discard positively to show the suit wanted.
  • You can protect the high cards in your weaker suits without deceiving your partner.
  • It does not show the dealer so clearly on which side to take a finesse.
  • By showing your suit earlier in the hand, you enable your partner to discard to better advantage.
 There are but few "no-trump" hands in which it is possible to make all the small cards of one's suit against the dealer—unless it be the suit first opened. Occasionally the suit in which the dealer is weak in both hands will be made; but more often this suit is never brought in, because the adversaries do not know the cards they hold in the two hands.

For years whist authorities have agreed that with trump strength declared against you the first discard should be from strength. Why, then, when strength in all of the suits has been declared, should not the strength discard be the best defensive discard for the majority of bridge hands? In order not to lose an opportunity of making all of the long suit, players will continually unguard cards in the weak suits which, if properly protected, would win tricks; and when using the weak suit discard these cards must be unguarded in order to show partner your suit.

There may be an occasional trick lost by discarding from strength at "no-trump," but there are so many tricks thrown away by unguarding honours in weak suits, and so many games and rubbers lost by guessing the wrong suit, that Bridge Players will find the strength discard will save more and lose less than any other discard. You do not expect to win on your adversaries' make; you hope to prevent their winning a large score.

If you have once led, you have shown your strength, and may then discard from any suit you wish.

 Discard only once from your strength, and then as the situation and the hand warrant.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Declaring Diamonds

As there are two declarations of greater value than diamonds, there is often a question as to the advisability of passing the make with a fair diamond hand and of giving partner an opportunity to declare no-trump or hearts. The dealer should always make the trump diamonds holding four or five honours in his hand, irrespective of the state of the score; holding less than four honours the dealer must be influenced by the number of points that are necessary to win the game, and by the strength of his hand. Many players are prejudiced against an original diamond declaration when the score is love all; and, while the writer believes it safer at this score to declare diamonds with a fair hand than to chance the uncertainty of a passed make, yet the make SHOULD be passed:—

When behind on the first game—as 0-24.

Having lost the first and with nothing scored on the second game.

When nothing on the rubber game.

In each of these positions, as the adversaries have the next deal and may win the game, it is imperative that you score thirty points. To accomplish this with a diamond trump it is necessary to win eleven of the thirteen tricks; therefore, unless you hold a hand of more than the average strength, it is advisable to pass the make in hopes that partner can declare hearts or no-trump.

If there is a question between a diamond and no-trump declaration, the latter is usually preferable; for while the risk is greater the reward is double.

A diamond make is advisable whenever there is a fair chance to win the game, as when but two or three odd tricks are needed.

RULES FOR THE DIAMOND MAKE

The dealer should declare diamonds: Holding—
6 Diamonds, including 1 honour and some protection in other suits.
5 Diamonds, including 2 honours and some protection in other suits.
4 Diamonds, including 4 honours, with or without protection in other suits.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Non-Dealer's Play Against a Declared Trump

The principles of play adopted against a trump and against a no-trump declaration are entirely different; and it is for this reason that Bridge is confusing to the beginner. The important principles that govern the play against a trump declaration are:

  • To hold the lead in order to see the dummy hand.
  • To make high cards before they can be trumped.
  • To give your partner information.

The importance of first seeing the thirteen cards in the dummy is self-evident. The play of an entire hand is often influenced by the cards in the dummy; therefore, if you can win the first trick, you are in a better position on the second lead to play your own and your partner's hand to advantage.

These combinations should be selected in their order for the original lead without reference to the length of the suit.

A K Q
A K
Ace from any other combination except A Q with one or two more.
K Q J
K Q
Q J 10


As the maker, more especially if the trump is red, has shown strength, your first consideration should be to save the game. This is best done by leading your Aces and other high cards before the dealer has a chance to discard and to trump. This is particularly true when there is an established suit in the dummy hand; for then the dealer may be able to exhaust trumps and discard his own losing cards on this established suit.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Rule of Eleven

Deduct the size of the card led from eleven, and the difference will show how many cards HIGHER than the one led are held outside the leader's hand. If, for instance, your partner lead an eight spot, the dummy having the queen and you holding A 10 x of the suit, as you see three cards above the eight, you know the dealer cannot play higher and that your partner must have led from K J 9 8.
    Q 6 2 (11 - 8 = 3)
    Y    
8   A   B A 10 4
    Z    

This rule is especially important at "no-trump"; but players should not give it much attention unless the card originally led is higher than a five.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Declaring Hearts

In considering a heart make, the dealer should be influenced by the general strength of his hand and by the number of honours he holds in the trump suit. Hearts should always be declared with four or five honours in the hand irrespective of the strength of other suits; the honour score will probably more than compensate for a possible loss of trick points. A heart declaration with less than two honours is not advisable—unless the hand contain great length in the trump suit or great strength in the other suits—as the honour scores made against the hand will usually exceed its trick value.

As it requires three odd tricks to win a game of thirty points without a trump, and but one trick more to win a game with a heart trump, the dealer will often have occasion to choose between the two makes. With a strong heart hand and a doubtful "no-trumper," or if the hand contain one unguarded suit, hearts should always be given the preference. As the adversaries have the lead and the privilege of doubling, a weak suit exposes the hand to some danger at no-trump.

The dealer should declare hearts holding—

6 Hearts, including 1 honour and some protection in other suits.
5 Hearts, including 2 honours and some protection in other suits.
5 Hearts, including 1 honour with a good five-card plain suit, or with strong protection in other suits.
 4 Hearts, including 3 honours and some protection in other suits.
4 Hearts, including 4 honours, with or without protection in other suits.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Card Shuffling and Dealing in Bridge

The pack must neither be shuffled below the table nor so the face of any card be seen. The dealer's partner must collect the cards for the ensuing deal and he has the first right to shuffle the cards. Each player has the right to shuffle subsequently. The dealer has the right to shuffle last, but should a card or cards be seen during his shuffling, or whilst giving the pack to be cut, he must re-shuffle.

Each player, after shuffling, must place the cards properly collected and face downward to the left of the player next to deal.

Each player deals in his turn; the order of dealing goes to the left. The player on the dealer's right cuts the pack, and in dividing it he must not leave fewer than four cards in either packet; if in cutting or in replacing one of the two packets a card be exposed, or if there be any confusion of the cards or a doubt as to the exact place in which the pack was divided, there must be a fresh cut.

When the player whose duty it is to cut has once separated the pack he can neither re-shuffle nor re-cut the cards.

Should the dealer shuffle the cards, after the pack is cut, the pack must be cut again.

The fifty-two cards shall be dealt face downward. The deal is not completed until the last card has been dealt face downward.

There is no misdeal in Bridge.

There must be a new deal—
  • If the cards be not dealt into four packets, one at a time, and in regular rotation, beginning at the dealer's left.
  • If, during a deal, or during the play of a hand, the pack be proven incorrect or imperfect.
  • If any card be faced in the pack.
  • If any player have dealt to him a greater number of cards than thirteen.
  • If the dealer deal two cards at once and then deal a third before correcting the error.
  • If the dealer omit to have the pack cut and the adversaries call attention to the fact prior to the conclusion of the deal and before looking at their cards.
  • If the last card do not come in its regular order to the dealer.

There may be a new deal—
  • If the dealer or his partner expose a card. The eldest hand may claim a new deal.
  • If either adversary expose a card. The dealer or his partner may claim a new deal.
  • If, before fifty-one cards are dealt, the dealer should look at any card. His adversaries have the right to see it, and the eldest hand may exact a new deal.
  • If, in dealing, one of the last cards be exposed by the dealer or his partner, and the deal is completed before there is reasonable time for the eldest hand to decide as to a new deal. But in all other cases such penalties must be claimed prior to the completion of the deal.
The claim for a new deal by reason of a card exposed during the deal may not be made by a player who has looked at any of his cards. If a new deal does not take place, the card exposed during the deal cannot be called.

Should three players have their right number of cards, and should the fourth, not being dummy, have less than thirteen and not discover such deficiency until he has played any of his cards, the deal stands good; should he have played, he is answerable for any revoke he may have made as if the missing card or cards had been in his hand. The other pack may be searched for the missing card or cards.

If during the play of a deal a pack be proven incorrect or imperfect, such proof renders only the current deal void, and does not affect any prior score. The dealer must deal again.

Any one dealing with the adversaries' cards must be corrected before the play of the first card, otherwise the deal stands good. If any one deals when it is the turn of an adversary, such error must be corrected before the cards are dealt for the following deal.

A player can neither shuffle, cut, nor deal for his partner without the permission of his adversaries.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Example #2: Playing for the Longest Suit in the Two Hands

Trick 1.—A leads from his longest suit.
Trick 2.—B returns his partner's lead with his highest card, which the dealer refuses to take, as he wishes to wait until B has no more of the suit.
Trick 3.—A again leads a diamond, as he has the K of spades for re-entry and wishes to establish the diamond suit.
Trick 4.—The dealer plays for the clubs, his longest suit, and takes the first trick, as he holds J and 10 and can clear the suit in one more lead.
Trick 6.—B, having no diamonds, opens his heart suit, hoping to put his partner in the lead. The dealer applying the "Rule of Eleven," and finding that he holds the four cards above the seven, passes so as to take the lead in the dummy hand.
Trick 7.—Leading through.
Tricks 8 and 9.—Making the clubs and putting the dummy hand in the lead so as to come through the K and J of hearts.


The score is love-all, rubber game. The dealer, Z, makes it no-trump and A leads for the first trick.
  8 6 4
7 6 5 2
A 6 3
9 5 4
 
K J 10 2
9 8
Q J 7 5 4
6 3
    Y    Q 7 5
K Q 3
K 8 2
K J 8 7
A   B
    Z   
  A 9 3
A J 10 4
10 9
A Q 10 2
 
TRICKAYB Z
1   5   3   K   9
2   J   6   8   10
3   4   A   2   3
4 8   2   Q   A  
5 9   5   K   J  
6 3   9   7   2  
7 6   4   8   10  
8   2 6   3   10  
9   10 7     5 4  
10   7 5   J   Q  
11   Q   4 K   A  
12   J   6   7   A
13   K   8   Q   9
 
The dealer wins nine tricks.


Monday, September 24, 2012

Example Bridge Hand #1: Keeping Command of the Adversary's Suit

Trick 1.—The dealer refuses to give up the A of spades, as he wishes to exhaust the spades in one hand before he attempts to clear his club suit.
Trick 4.—B, hoping to take the last club from the dealer's hand, refuses to part with the A of clubs.
Trick 6.—B tries to put his partner in the lead so that he may make the spades.

The score is love-all, rubber game. The dealer, Z, makes it no-trump. A leads for the first trick. The underlined card wins the trick and the card under it is the one led for the next trick.
9
K Q J 5 4 2
Q 6 5
7 6 3
K Q J 8 6 2
9 8
9 4
10 8 2
  Y  10 7 5
A 7
J 10 8 7
A J 9 5
A   B
  Z 
A 4 3
10 6 3
A K 3 2
K Q 4
TRICKAYB Z
1 K 9 5 3
2 Q 3 7   4
3 2   2 6     10
4 8 2   7   10  
5 9 J   A   6  
6 2 7   5   K  
7 6 4   9 9  
8 8 5   J   4  
9 J Q     7 Q  
10 4 K     8   2
11 9   Q   10   3
12 8   6   J   K
13 10   5 A     A
 
The dealer wins ten tricks.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Making a Good Declaration

While a few tricks may be dropped in the play of a hand, an unsound make may result in the loss of several hundred points. The importance, both of making the trump to the score and of considering the probability of securing an honour score, cannot be too deeply impressed on the player's mind. This, more than any part of the game, requires the exercise of sound judgment. The good maker has an enormous advantage over the weak one.

Try to select the trump that will win the greatest number of points with a strong hand, and the one that will lose the fewest possible number with a weak hand. Be liberal and bold when behind in the game and conservative and timid when ahead.

In suggesting rules for the make this difficulty must be faced: the exercise of the best judgment in the world will not enable one to select the successful trump EVERY time; and players are apt to forget the many times a particular make has won, and to be impressed by the one time the rule failed them.

Follow consistently the laws for the make with a certainty that in the large majority of cases they will prove successful; and digress from these laws only when the score warrants.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Lead When Partner Has Doubled

When your partner has doubled, the opening lead must depend greatly on the scheme you adopt for the play of your hand. It is a mistake to suppose your partner wishes a trump led EVERY time he doubles. On the contrary, spades—when doubled—are seldom led by good players, unless with a strong hand, until they have gained information to justify the trump lead.

The majority of hands will be covered by the following rules:

If spades have been doubled and you hold four or more trumps you should usually lead trumps.

It is fair to assume that your partner has doubled with a good suit hand. Lead trumps if you are weak in spades, but hold a strong suit hand. Your partner has probably doubled with trump strength.

If hearts, diamonds, or clubs have been doubled and dummy is the "maker" it is usually good play to lead trumps; that is, when you have no short suit and so are unable to use your trumps for ruffing.

If possible lead to take the first trick. After you have seen the dummy you are in a position to judge as to the advisability of the trump lead.

When hearts, diamonds, or clubs have been doubled and the dealer is the maker, it is not sound play to lead trumps. You would place your partner in a bad position by leading up to the dealer's declared strength.

When leading trumps always lead the top of two or three and the lowest of four.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Rules for Doubling

To double spades, you should hold in your hand 4 tricks and a possible 5th.

To double hearts, diamonds, or clubs, you should hold five tricks and a possible 6th.

To double "no-trumps," you should hold 6 tricks and a possible 7th.

Be careful about doubling "no-trumps," unless you hold a long established suit. Your adversary may have seven tricks in his long suit, and it is hard to discard from a "good all-round hand."

Spades may be doubled when weak in trumps; but, to double hearts, diamonds, or clubs, you should have some trump strength.

When doubling remember:

That you show the dealer where the strength lies.

That you stand a better chance of winning the odd trick by not exposing your strength.

That when the "maker" is on your right, you have the advantage that your trumps are over his.

That when the "maker" is on your left you are at a disadvantage; his trumps are over yours.

That it is a good time to double when the odd trick wins the game for your adversaries, and does not win it for you.

That it is a poor time to double when the odd trick wins the game for you and does not win it for your adversaries.

That with a doubtful hand it is better to be satisfied with what you can make without doubling.

That if you double "no-trumps" your partner will lead you his best heart.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Estimating the Value of a Bridge Hand

To determine the probable trick-taking value of your hand, count each Ace and King as a trick, and add to these the number of tricks you can take in the trump suit. Queens count only as possible tricks, as the third round of a suit may be trumped.

In determining the number of tricks you can take in the trump suit you must remember that it makes a great difference on which side of you the trump strength lies. For instance, holding Ace, Queen, and ten of trumps, if you play after the maker, you will probably get three tricks; but if the maker plays after you, your trumps can be led through, and you may make but one trump trick.

If you play after the maker,

J x x xoftrumpsareworth1trick
Q x x""""1"
Q J x""""1"
Q J x x""""2"
K Q x""""2"
K J x""""2"
K Q 10 x""""3"
A Q 10""""3"
A 10 9 7 2""""3"

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Basics of Playing Bridge

Bridge is usually played by four persons. If there are more than four candidates, the prior right to play is decided by cutting the cards.

CUTTING

This is done from a full pack of fifty-two cards which have been shuffled and spread face downward on the table. Each player draws a card. The four cutting the lowest cards play the first rubber. In cutting ace is low. The cards are also cut to decide partners, the two highest playing against the two lowest. The dealer is the player cutting the lowest card of all, and he has the choice of the seats and of the cards. Should the two players who cut the lowest cards draw cards of equal value, they must cut again to decide which shall deal.

DEALING

Before being dealt, the cards must be shuffled by the dealer and then cut by the player at his right. It is customary to play with two packs of cards, the dealer's partner shuffling, or making up, for his right-hand adversary. The cards are dealt one at a time, from left to right, until all are exhausted, each player having thirteen cards. The last card should not be turned face up. There is no penalty for a misdeal.

THE OBJECT OF THE GAME

There are two separate scores to be played for—trick and honour scores. The trick score is credited to the side that wins more than six tricks; the honour score to the side that holds the majority of the trump honours. The object of the game is to score more points than your adversaries, tricks and honours included. This is best done by winning a rubber.

THE GAME

The game consists of thirty or more trick points. All points in excess of thirty are counted by the side winning them; but only one game can be won in a deal. Honours are a separate score and do not count toward winning the game.

THE RUBBER

The rubber is the best of three games. If the first two games are won by the same partners the third is not played. One hundred points are added to the total score of the side winning the rubber.

DECLARING THE TRUMP

The hand may be played either without a trump, or a trump suit may be selected.

The dealer has the option of making a declaration or of passing that privilege to his partner. If the dealer passes the make, his partner must announce the trump. A trump once made cannot be changed at any time during the deal.

TABLE OF TRICK VALUES

(For each trick over six.)

When are trumps each trick counts 2
When are trumps each trick counts 4
When are trumps each trick counts 6
When are trumps each trick counts 8
When
there
are
no trumps each trick counts 12

DOUBLING

After the trump has been declared each adversary, in turn, may increase the value of the tricks by doubling.

The leader—the player at the left of the dealer—has the first right to double. If the leader does not wish to double his partner may then do so.

REDOUBLING

If either the leader or his partner has doubled the trump, the dealer or his partner may re-double, the player who has made the trump having the first right. This process may continue indefinitely. Doubling or redoubling does not affect the value of the honours.

THE DUMMY

When the value of each trick has been determined, and after a card has been led, the dealer's partner places his hand face upward on the table—the trump suit at his right—and the dealer plays both hands. The dealer's partner—the dummy—is not allowed to suggest, to touch or to play a card except at the dealer's bidding. It is the dummy's right, should the dealer refuse to follow in any suit, to endeavour to prevent a revoke. (See Conversation of the Game.)

THE PLAY

In the play of the cards the ace is high and deuce low. You must follow suit, but if you have no card of the suit led, you may either trump or discard. At no-trump the best card of the suit led wins the trick.

THE CONVERSATION OF THE GAME

In order to avoid giving partner information as to the character of one's hand, both the conversation of the game and its order should be strictly adhered to. To find that the wrong person has announced the trump, or that a player has doubled out of turn, or that one has led without asking permission, is most irritating to the other players, and a severe penalty may often be exacted for such a mistake. The dealer may either declare the trump or say, "I pass." If the dealer passes, his partner must announce the trump. The leader may either double or say, "May I Lead, Partner?" this indicates that he does not want to double, but wishes to give his partner an opportunity to do so. The leader's partner either says "No, I double," or "lead, please."

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Discard

From "Bridge; its Principles and Rules of Play", by J.B.Elwell.

There is considerable discussion and a wide diversity of opinion among Bridge Players as to the best suit to throw away. You should, therefore, before playing, ask your partner which method he adopts. Some advantage may be claimed for each theory of discard; but the main object of them all is the same—to indicate to partner the suit you wish led and at the same time protect any honours you may hold in other suits.

The three different discards used by Bridge Players are:

Strength, both with a trump and at "no-trump."

Strength, with a trump and weakness at "no-trump."

Weakness, both with a trump and at "no-trump."

The discard of strength with a trump and weakness at "no-trump" is the one most commonly used. This discard of weakness at "no-trump," while it has the advantage of saving all the cards of the long suit, which you may make, has also several disadvantages.

To show your suit absolutely you need two discards.

In order not to deceive your partner it may be necessary to unguard honours, such as J x x x, 10 x x x, Q x x, or even K x.

By discarding weakness you show the dealer against which hand to finesse.

The writer, after the analysis of many thousand hands, believes that at "no-trump" the first discard from strength, i.e., the long suit or the suit you wish partner to lead, is the safest and best, both for protecting the hand and for showing the suit beyond possibility of mistake.

The main advantages of the strength discard are:

It takes but one discard positively to show the suit wanted.

You can protect the high cards in your weaker suits without deceiving your partner.

It does not show the dealer so clearly on which side to take a finesse.

By showing your suit earlier in the hand, you enable your partner to discard to better advantage.

There are but few "no-trump" hands in which it is possible to make all the small cards of one's suit against the dealer—unless it be the suit first opened. Occasionally the suit in which the dealer is weak in both hands will be made; but more often this suit is never brought in, because the adversaries do not know the cards they hold in the two hands.

For years whist authorities have agreed that with trump strength declared against you the first discard should be from strength. Why, then, when strength in all of the suits has been declared, should not the strength discard be the best defensive discard for the majority of bridge hands? In order not to lose an opportunity of making all of the long suit, players will continually unguard cards in the weak suits which, if properly protected, would win tricks; and when using the weak suit discard these cards must be unguarded in order to show partner your suit.

There may be an occasional trick lost by discarding from strength at "no-trump," but there are so many tricks thrown away by unguarding honours in weak suits, and so many games and rubbers lost by guessing the wrong suit, that Bridge Players will find the strength discard will save more and lose less than any other discard. You do not expect to win on your adversaries' make; you hope to prevent their winning a large score.

If you have once led, you have shown your strength, and may then discard from any suit you wish.

Discard only once from your strength, and then as the situation and the hand warrant.