Unlike majority of card games played world over, contract bridge is perhaps the one that needs relatively more of brain power than chance, or luck. While the elements of chance, knowledge and skill may be basically required in different measures to find success in any type of card game, bridge undoubtedly calls for a preponderance of both knowledge as well as skill in a good player, rather than mere luck.
Bridge, unequivocally, is a partnership card game. Both the teams on the bridge table try their best to outsmart and outscore each other. While the primary aim of the partners is to score more points than the opponent, they are always in the lookout for making a game – a score of at least 100 points in contract bridge – or two, to win a rubber (as done in Rubber Bridge) and be eligible to earn bonus points.
History of Contract Bridge
Bridge is just a refined form of Whist, which is an 18th century card game that was extremely popular among trick-taking card game played around the world in one form or the other. Whist, even now favored by some diehard followers of the game (particularly in the United Kingdom, is believed to have been derived from Trump, a still older and fairly popular partnership card game.
As was later followed in bridge, Whist is played by four players divided into two partnerships. The game then carries on further following a specific set of rules. Whist came to be known as Bridge Whist/Bridge towards the end of 19th century with some variations in rules and enhanced features.
Sometime during the earliest part of 20th century (in1904, possibly), the concept of auction bridge came into being. Bridge, subsequently, took an awesome stride with the evolution of contract bridge in the year 1920 – the versatility of the game apparently catching the fancy of the bridge populace all over the world.
Auction Bridge vs. Contract Bridge
While the bidding and playing are identical in both these forms of bridge, the rule with regard to game-scoring is significantly different. The basic difference is:
Auction Bridge. In auction bridge, the end bid can stop short (of the number required to score a game), but all the overtricks made will count towards making a game. It is, therefore, desirable for the partnership to stop bidding higher than what is required to bag the contract.
Contract Bridge. Bidding accurately is of vital importance in this form of bridge. A partnership can score a game if they bid (as well as manage to win) the number of (or more) tricks required to make a game – i.e. score 100 points by making 9 tricks (out of 13) in No Trump, 10 in Spades/Hearts and 11 in Diamonds/Clubs.
This typicality notwithstanding, contract bridge continues to be the most popular form of modern bridge worldwide. Whether it is Rubber Bridge, duplicate bridge or team of four, contract bridge is increasingly being preferred over its predecessor universally.
Learning and Playing Contract Bridge Online
A plethora of bridge resources are available in the Internet either to learn or play bridge online. While the list could be quite large, leading websites offering the facility are bridgebase.com, yahoo.com and pogo.com. Bridgebase.com is exclusively devoted to Bridge and is extremely popular among the bridge players, whether one plays for fun or for money.
Trying to learn playing bridge could turn out to be a little tricky in the beginning and seem rather complicated at times. All the same, one can do the following to learn and play bridge online:
Learning the very basics.
- Watching the game (played by skilled players) consistently for some time.
- Starting to play in the beginners’ lounge/tables (and watching some games intermittently).
- Gaining adequate knowledge, practice and skill before trying to upgrade own rating/skill level.
- Last, but not the least, taking no offence to any kind of criticism (especially, from bullying types of partners!) while playing.
Learning bridge may not be a very difficult affair. Nonetheless, playing precisely on the bridge table – whether at home or online – needs a lot of practice and consistency. The learning process has to be continuous, even for an expert. In fact, there should be very few bridge players in the world who can claim to be the real master of the game.