The Game of Bridge


You’ve heard about my love of the card game, bridge. Now I’ll share a bit about what it is.


To play, you need two pairs of people. Each pair is considered a “partnership” – that is, a team unto themselves. A deck of cards is shuffled, and each player gets 13 cards.


The goal of the game is for your partnership to take as many tricks as you can each time the cards are dealt. First, however, you go through a process called “bidding.” What is bidding?


Every partnership has a language where they communicate with bids descriptions of their cards. You language is called your “system” – an agreement as to what each of the bids means. Some people have very simple systems. Some have systems where they need literally hundreds of pages to document all their agreements and meanings!


Once the bidding is completed, one pair or the other “wins” the contract. That is, they have promised to take a certain number of tricks on that hand. That pair tries to achieve that goal – or do even better. The other side (now known as “the defense”) does their best to take as many tricks as they can – and perhaps foil the offensive side from reaching their goal.


This occurs hand after hand, until the game completes.


There are a number of forms of the game. You can play with four people anywhere you like; this is generally referred to as “contract bridge.” You can play what is called “duplicate bridge”. In this form, you have multiple people who play the same hands throughout a session. This form of bridge takes away much more of the “luck” as to whether you get good or bad cards. Since everyone has the same cards, you compare what each pair does to the other, rather than only one result. You also can have team games. In this format, your pair joins with another pair to form a team. Your team plays another team – and, let the best team win!


Bridge is not an easy game to learn – yet it is not extremely difficult. That being said, it is absolutely fascinating, and to learn to play at a high level can take time and effort. Best of all, however, it is so deep and complex, you can spend a lifetime learning and being intrigued.


I know that I have!


Peg Kaplan