History of contract bridge
The history of contract bridge, one of the world's most popular partnership card games, may be dated from the early 16th-century invention of trick-taking games such as whist. Bridge departed from whist with the creation of Biritch in the 19th century, evolved through the late 19th and early 20th centuries to form the present game. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word bridge is the English pronunciation of the game called "biritch", it followed on from whist, the dominant trick-playing game and enjoyed a loyal following for centuries. The oldest known reference to the rules of the game dates from 1886 and calls it "Biritch, or Russian Whist"; the game featured several significant developments from whist: dealer chose the trump suit, or nominated his partner to do so. There were other similarities to bridge: points were scored above and below the line. Despite the popularity of whist, this game, variants of it, bridge and bridge-whist, became popular in the United States and the UK in the 1890s.
In 1904 auction bridge, known for a time as royal auction bridge, was developed where the players bid in a competitive auction to decide the contract and declarer. The object became to make at least as many tricks as were contracted for and penalties were introduced for failing to do so; the modern game of contract bridge was the result of innovations to the scoring of auction bridge made by Harold Stirling Vanderbilt and others. The most significant change was that only the tricks contracted for were counted below the line towards game and slam; that made bidding interesting. Another innovation was the concept of vulnerability, a difference in the sizes of penalties incurred by partnerships that have or have not won one game; that discouraged sacrifice bidding to protect the lead in a rubber. Some other scores were adjusted to produce a more balanced game. Vanderbilt set out his rules in 1925, within a few years contract bridge had so supplanted other forms of the game that "bridge" became synonymous with "contract bridge."
Led by Ely Culbertson, contract bridge enjoyed a boom in popularity in the US and the UK in the 1930s. In the US and Australia today, bridge is duplicate bridge played at clubs, at tournaments, online. In the UK, bridge is still played in private homes as well as at clubs and tournaments. "Biritch, or Russian Whist" by John Collinson, internet edition by John MacLeod. — This provides useful detail not in wikisource:Biritch, or Russian Whist and it appears to be a more faithful reproduction. "History of Bridge". Singapore Contract Bridge Association reprint from The Official Encyclopedia of Bridge. Brief history of contract bridge
Duplicate bridge is the most used variation of contract bridge in club and tournament play. It is called duplicate because the same bridge deal is played at each table and scoring is based on relative performance. In this way, every hand, whether strong or weak, is played in competition with others playing identical cards, the element of skill is heightened while that of chance is reduced. Duplicate bridge stands in contrast to rubber bridge where each hand is freshly dealt and where scores may be more affected by chance in the short run. Bridge boards, simple four-way card holders, are used to enable each player's hand to be passed intact to the next table that must play the deal, final scores are calculated by comparing each pair's result with others who played the same hand. Bidding boxes are used to facilitate the mechanics of bidding, prevent inadvertent passing of information, minimize the noise level. Screens are used in higher levels of competition and were introduced to reduce the chance of passing unauthorised information to one's partner.
In duplicate bridge, a player plays with the same partner throughout an event. The two are known as a "pair". There are two exceptions: in team events with up to six members swapping partners for portions of the event, in individual tournaments, in which players change partners for each round; the origins of duplicate bridge are based on the emergence of duplicate whist in the game of whist. In the introduction to his book Duplicate Whist, the author comments on the early emergence of duplicate whist: The writer has it on good authority that it was played in Berlin and Paris as far back as 1840, in Philadelphia and New York... Mitchell recounts the Cavendish experiment of 1857 to demonstrate the merits of duplicate whist in reducing the element of luck and to distinguish between the skill levels of better and poorer players. Cavendish concludes:...that this experiment does not altogether eliminate luck, as bad play sometimes succeeds. But by far the greater part of luck, that due to the superiority of winning cards, is by the plan described quite got rid of.
Owing to the early clumsy mechanics of card resorting to reconstruct the hands of a just played deal, the problems resulting from errors made in the transferring of cards between tables, the unaccustomed movement of players between tables and the resultant slower pace of play, duplicate whist did not gain instant popularity. The evolution of duplicate whist continued and the procedures and apparatus for more conveniently maintaining and transferring the cards of each deal for replay had been improved so that by the 1890s duplicate's popularity had become widespread. In turn, as the game of whist was superseded by contract bridge, so was duplicate whist by duplicate bridge. In a pairs tournament, each deal is played a number of times by different players, after which all the scores are compared; the tournament consists of a number of rounds. A session consists of between 24 and 28 boards in total, but this can vary. Around eight boards are played per hour, so a typical session will last 3 hours or more.
If there is an odd number of pairs, one pair will have to sit out in each round. Most events are single-session. After a board is played, the North player writes the result of that board on the travelling sheet, the East player checks it; the information recorded includes at least the numbers of the North-South and East-West pairs and the score achieved. The contract and the number of tricks won are recorded, sometimes the opening lead. Sometimes the cards in each hand are written on the traveller, useful in case the cards are inadvertently mixed up; the traveller travels with the board. This means; this might be regarded as an advantage or as a disadvantage: information about their relative standing in the field might induce a pair to change their strategy on the remaining hands. Alternatively, the scores for each round may be recorded on pickup slips collected during the event to enable the scorer to start to process the results before the end of the session, so that the results can be announced soon after the end of the session.
A modern development is an electronic data-entry device on each table that transmits the results wirelessly to the director's computer. This allows results to be posted at a club or on a website quickly after the end of play; the usual form of overall scoring for a pairs tournament is Matchpoint scoring. Every pair plays against a different opposing pair in each successive round, depending on the size of the field. After each round, some or all of the players reseat themselves according to a prescribed "movement", so that each pair opposes a different pair in each round; the movement must be set up so that each pair does not play more than one round against the same opponents. The tournament director will select the movement depending on the number of pairs playing, to allow them to play the desired number of boards each, without repetition. Tournaments with up to about a dozen tables are played either as a Mitchell movement or a Howell movement
Playing card suit
In playing cards, a suit is one of the categories into which the cards of a deck are divided. Most each card bears one of several pips showing to which suit it belongs; the rank for each card is determined by the number of pips except on face cards. Ranking indicates which cards within a suit are better, higher or more valuable than others, whereas there is no order between the suits unless defined in the rules of a specific card game. In a single deck, there is one card of any given rank in any given suit. A deck may include special cards that belong to no suit called jokers. Various languages have different terminology for suits such as signs, or seeds. Modern Western playing cards are divided into two or three general suit-systems; the older Latin suits are subdivided into the Spanish suit-systems. The younger Germanic suits are subdivided into the Swiss suit-systems; the French suits are a derivative of the German suits but are considered a separate system on its own. The card suits originated in China.
The earliest card games were trick-taking games and the invention of suits increased the level of strategy and depth in these games. A card of one suit cannot beat a card from another regardless of its rank; the concept of suits predate playing cards and can be found in Chinese dice and domino games such as Tien Gow. Chinese money-suited cards are believed to be the oldest ancestor to the Latin suit-system; the money-suit system is based on denominations of currency: Coins, Strings of Coins, Myriads of Strings, Tens of Myriads. Old Chinese coins had holes in the middle to allow them to be strung together. A string of coins could be misinterpreted as a stick to those unfamiliar with them. By the Islamic world had spread into Central Asia and had contacted China, had adopted playing cards; the Muslims renamed the suit of myriads as cups. The Chinese numeral character for Ten on the Tens of Myriads suit may have inspired the Muslim suit of swords. Another clue linking these Chinese and European cards are the ranking of certain suits.
In many early Chinese games like Madiao, the suit of coins was in reverse order so that the lower ones beat the higher ones. In the Indo-Persian game of Ganjifa, half the suits were inverted, including a suit of coins; this was true for the European games of Tarot and Ombre. The inverting of suits had no purpose in regards to gameplay but was an artifact from the earliest games; these Turko-Arabic cards, called Kanjifa, used the suits coins, clubs and swords, but the clubs represented polo sticks. The Latin suits are coins, clubs and swords, they are the earliest suit-system in Europe, were adopted from the cards imported from Mamluk Egypt and Moorish Granada in the 1370s. There are four types of Latin suits: Italian, Portuguese, an extinct archaic type; the systems can be distinguished by the pips of their long suits: clubs. Northern Italian swords are curved outward and the clubs appear to be batons, they intersect one another. Southern Italian and Spanish swords are straight, the clubs appear to be knobbly cudgels.
They do not cross each other. Portuguese pips are like the Spanish, they sometimes have dragons on the aces. This system lingers on only in the Unsun Karuta of Japan; the archaic system is like the Northern Italian one, but the swords are curved inward so they touch each other without intersecting. Minchiate used a mixed system of Portuguese swords. Despite a long history of trade with China, Japan was introduced to playing cards with the arrival of the Portuguese in the 1540s. Early locally made cards, were similar to Portuguese decks. Increasing restrictions by the Tokugawa shogunate on gambling, card playing, general foreign influence, resulted in the Hanafuda card deck that today is used most for fishing-type games; the role of rank and suit in organizing cards became switched, so the hanafuda deck has 12 suits, each representing a month of the year, each suit has 4 cards, most two normal, one Ribbon and one Special. During the 15th-century, manufacturers in German speaking lands experimented with various new suit systems to replace the Latin suits.
One early deck had the Latin ones with an extra suit of shields. The Swiss-Germans developed their own suits of shields, roses and bells around 1450. Instead of roses and shields, the Germans settled with hearts and leaves around 1460; the French derived their suits of trèfles, carreaux, cœurs, piques from the German suits around 1480. French suits correspond with German suits with the exception of the tiles with the bells but there is one early French deck that had crescents instead of tiles; the English names for the French suits of clubs and spades may have been carried over from the older Latin suits. Beginning around 1440 in northern Italy, some decks started to include of an extra suit of 21 numbered cards known as trionfi or trumps, to play tarot card games. Always included in tarot decks is one card, the Fool or Excuse, which may be part of the trump suit depending on the game or region; these cards do not have pips or f
Glossary of contract bridge terms
These terms are used in contract bridge, using duplicate or rubber scoring. Some of them are used in whist, bid whist, the obsolete game auction bridge, other trick-taking games; this glossary supplements the Glossary of card game terms. In the following entries, boldface links are external to the glossary and plain links reference other glossary entries. 3014 or 3014 RKCB A mnemonic for the original response structure to the Roman Key Card Blackwood convention. It represents "3 or 0" and "1 or 4", meaning that the lowest step response to the 4NT key card asking bid shows responder has three or zero keycards and the next step shows one or four. 1430 or 1430 RKCB A mnemonic for a variant response structure to the Roman Key Card Blackwood convention. It represents "1 or 4" and "3 or 0", meaning that the lowest step response to the 4NT key card asking bid shows responder has one or four keycards and the next step shows three or zero. 1RF One round force. 2-under preempts A 2 or 3-level conventional opening bid made two steps below the opener's suit: for example, 2♦ to show a weak two bid in spades or 3♣ to show a three-level preempt in hearts.
If 2♣ is a strong, artificial force, 2♥ is natural. 4SF Fourth suit forcing. Above the line In rubber bridge, the location on the scorepad above the main horizontal line where extra points are entered. Points awarded for contract odd tricks bid and made are entered below the line. See Bridge scoring. ACBL American Contract Bridge League, the sport governing body for bridge in North America – defined as Bermuda, Canada and the United States – and the sponsoring organization of North American Bridge Championships, its members are players, grouped in local units for some purposes. Contrast USBF. Acol An approach–forcing, natural bidding system, based on a weak NT and 4-card majors, popular in the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. Active An approach to defending a hand that emphasizes setting up winners and taking tricks. Contrast Passive. An approach to competitive bidding that emphasizes frequent interference with opponents' bidding sequences. Adjusted score In duplicate bridge, a score awarded by the Director in order to redress damage to a non-offending side and to take away any advantage gained by an offending side through an infraction.
It may be "assigned" or "artificial". The scores awarded to the two sides need not balance. Advance cue bid The cue bid of a first round control that occurs before a partnership has agreed on a strain. Advance sacrifice A sacrifice bid made before the opponents have had an opportunity to determine their optimum contract. For example: 1♦ - - Dbl -. Advancer Overcaller's partner one who bids following the overcall. Adverse vulnerability Vulnerable against non-vulnerable opponents. Called "unfavorable vulnerability". Aggregate scoring Deciding the outcome of a contest by totaling the raw points gained or lost on each deal. Called "total point scoring". Agree For a partnership to come to a decision, conventionally or by implication, on the denomination in which to play a hand. Agreement An understanding between partners as to the meaning of a particular call or defensive play. There are two types of call agreements: when the call is natural, the agreement is said to be a treatment, when the call is artificial, the agreement is said to be a convention.
Air, as "on air" To win a trick with a high card while capturing only small cards said of a defensive play. In the example at right, when South leads the ♥8, West must take the ♥A on air, or risk making no heart tricks. Best defense on a given hand may call either for ducking the winner or for playing it on air. Alcatraz coup Declarer's unethical attempt to locate a finessable card by revoking. If the play is unintentional, it is subject to score adjustment. Alert A method of informing the opponents that partner's call carries a meaning they might not expect. Sponsoring organizations set rules how. Regardless whether a call is alerted, either opponent may ask its meaning, either at his/her turn or after the end of the auction; the player who made the call may contribute to its explanation only after the auction and only if he/she is declarer or dummy. Different rules apply when screens are in use. Announcement A method of promptly informing the opponents that partner's call has a particular meaning.
The purposes of announcements and alerts are similar, but an announcement gives the meaning where an alert may prompt the opponents to ask the meaning. Sponsoring organizations set rules; the ACBL specifies announcements including "Transfer" for some transfer replies to notrump bids, the point range such as "15 to 17" for an opening bid of one notrump, "Forcing" or "Semi-forcing" for a 1NT response to a major suit opening bid. Antipositional A call is antipositional. If West opens the bidding, it may be best for South to declare a North-South contract, so that West will have to play from his high cards on opening lead; this positioning may protect South's tenaces. In that case, a call that will make North declarer is antipositional. Se
In contract bridge, a single suiter is a hand containing at least six cards in one suit and with all other suits being at least two cards shorter than this longest suit. Many hand patterns can be classified as single suiters. Typical examples are 6-3-3-1 and 7-3-2-1 distribution. Single-suiters form the cornerstone of preemptive bidding. Weak single-suiters with six card length are traditionally opened preemptively at the two level, whilst seven carders are used to preempt at the three level; the modern trend is to lower these minimum length requirements when non-vulnerable. Conventional preemptive openings used to introduce a weak single-suited hand include the multi 2 diamonds and the gambling 3NT conventions. Over an opposing opening, single suiters are introduced via a natural overcall, but see list of defenses to 1NT. Two suiter Three suiter Balanced hand Preempt
A screen is a device used in some tournaments in duplicate bridge that visually separates partners at the table from each other, in order to reduce the exchange of unauthorized information and prevent some forms of cheating. It is a panel made of plywood, spanned canvas or similar material, placed vertically, diagonally across the playing table, with a small door in the center and a slit beneath it; the door is closed during the bidding stage, the players place their calls using bidding cards on a movable tray, which slides under the door. After the opening lead, the door is opened, but its size allows the players only to see the hands and cards played from the opposite side of the screen, not their partner's face. Screens are used on high-level competitions, such as World Bridge Olympiads, national teams championships and similar, they are always accompanied with a tray for moving the bids across. Screens were first introduced in Bermuda Bowl competition at the home venue in Bermuda. Following that event, screens used in high-level events extend under the table to the floor forming a barrier running diagonally between two table legs.
Laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge state that "Players are authorized to base their calls and plays on information from legal calls and plays and from mannerisms of opponents. To base a call or play on other extraneous information may be an infraction of law.". "After a player makes available to his partner extraneous information that may suggest a call or play, as by means of a remark, a question, a reply to a question, or by unmistakable hesitation, unwonted speed, special emphasis, gesture, mannerism or the like, the partner may not choose from among logical alternative actions one that could demonstrably have been suggested over another by the extraneous information." In other words, if a player receives such an unauthorized information from the partner, he may not act according to its consequences. The most frequent means for transmitting the unauthorized information are: Hesitation during bidding and play. Players are supposed to make their bids and plays in a tempo as as possible. However, when a player has a bidding or play problem, his hesitation tells much about his holding.
For example, a long contemplation over a double of opponents' contract indicates uncertainty whether the contract would be beaten, "invites" the partner to bid on without defensive values. Questions asked by the partner to the opponents; the players are entitled to know the meanings of opponents' bids, they may ask them whenever it's their turn to bid or play. However, if a player has a habit to skip the question with a worthless hand and pass, asks with some values, his partner can draw conclusions about his holding. Questions asked by the opponents to the partner. If opponents ask the partner about the meaning of a bid or play, his answer may reveal a previous misunderstanding in the partnership; the partner's alert of a bid he shouldn't have alerted, vice versa, may indicate that someone has forgotten the agreement. Partner's gestures and facial expressions can be telling if inadvertent. Outright cheating by transmitting information by gestures, finger play, pencil play and similar methods agreed in advance is prohibited, violators can be banned from duplicate play for several years or forever.
Screens are supposed to remove all issues except changes in tempo altogether: partners don't see each other, since the screenmates are required to communicate only by writing, the partner cannot hear the explanation. Each player alerts both his own and his partner's bids and explains the meaning only to his screenmate, so if a misunderstanding occurs, the partners will not become aware of it; as for the hesitation, the players cannot tell who of the players from the opposite screen side hesitated if the tempo break occurs. In practice, it is not a panacea—for example, after two players produce a long constructive slam-seeking auction with opponents passing throughout, a break in tempo indicates partner's problem and not his screenmate's. However, players are encouraged to vary the tempo in which the tray is passed across in order to reduce the effects of hesitation. In addition, the presence of the screen affects some of the rules of other irregularities. Namely, an illegal, inadmissible or inadvertent call may be replaced without penalty as long as the tray wasn't passed to the opposite side.
A call out of turn can be withdrawn without penalty if the tray did not change sides. The procedure of bidding and play with screens is as follows:The screen is placed diagonally across the table in such fashion that North and East and West are screenmates; the board is placed in the middle of a movable tray. The screen is closed, it is North's responsibility to place the board on, to remove the board from the bidding tray. It is West's responsibility to adjust the screen aperture.
Contract bridge, or bridge, is a trick-taking card game using a standard 52-card deck. In its basic format, it is played by four players in two competing partnerships, with partners sitting opposite each other around a table. Millions of people play bridge worldwide in clubs, tournaments and with friends at home, making it one of the world's most popular card games among seniors; the World Bridge Federation is the governing body for international competitive bridge, with numerous other bodies governing bridge at the regional level. The game consists of several deals; the cards are dealt to the players, the players auction or bid to take the contract, specifying how many tricks the partnership receiving the contract needs to take to receive points for the deal. During the auction, partners communicate information about their hand, including its overall strength and the length of its suits, although conventions for use during play exist; the cards are played, the declaring side trying to fulfill the contract, the defenders trying to stop the declaring side from achieving its goal.
The deal is scored based on the number of tricks taken, the contract, various other factors which depend to some extent on the variation of the game being played. Rubber bridge is the most popular variation for casual play, but most club and tournament play involves some variant of duplicate bridge, in which the cards are not re-dealt on each occasion, but the same deal is played by two or more sets of players to enable comparative scoring. For competition level, so called IMP score is of high significance. One theory is. Bridge departed from whist with the creation of Biritch in the 19th century, evolved through the late 19th and early 20th centuries to form the present game; the word biritch itself is a spelling of the Russian word Бирюч, an occupation of a diplomatic clerk or an announcer. However some experts think. Another theory is; the game "got its name from the Galata Bridge, a bridge spanning the Golden Horn and linking the old and new parts of European Istanbul, where they crossed every day to go to a coffeehouse to play cards."
Bridge is a four-player partnership trick-taking game with thirteen tricks per deal. The dominant variations of the game are rubber bridge; each player is dealt thirteen cards from a standard 52-card deck. A trick starts when a player leads, i.e. plays the first card. The leader to the first trick is determined by the auction; each player, in a clockwise order, plays one card on the trick. Players must play a card of the same suit as the original card led, unless they have none, in which case they may play any card; the player who played the highest-ranked card wins the trick. Within a suit, the ace is ranked highest followed by the king and jack and the ten through to the two. In a deal where the auction has determined that there is no trump suit, the trick must be won by a card of the suit led. However, in a deal where there is a trump suit, cards of that suit are superior in rank to any of the cards of any other suit. If one or more players plays a trump to a trick when void in the suit led, the highest trump wins.
For example, if the trump suit is spades and a player is void in the suit led and plays a spade card, he wins the trick if no other player plays a higher spade. If a trump suit is led, the usual rule for trick-taking applies. Unlike its predecessor Whist, the goal of bridge is not to take the most tricks in a deal. Instead, the goal is to estimate how many tricks one's partnership can take. To illustrate this, the simpler partnership trick-taking game of Spades has a similar mechanism: the usual trick-taking rules apply with the trump suit being spades, but in the beginning of the game, players bid or estimate how many tricks they can win, the number of tricks bid by both players in a partnership are added. If a partnership takes at least that many number of tricks, they receive points for the round. Bridge extends the concept of bidding into an auction, where partnerships compete to take a contract, specifying how many tricks they will need to take in order to receive points, specifying the trump suit.
Players take turns to call in a clockwise order: each player in turn either passes, doubles—which increases the penalties for not making the contract specified by the opposing partnership's last bid, but increases the reward for making it—or redoubles, or states a contract that their partnership will adopt, which must be higher than the previous highest bid. The player who bid the highest contract—which is determined by the contract's level as well as the trump suit or no trump—wins the contract for their partnership. In the example auction on the right, the East-West pair secures the contract of 6♠. Note that six tricks are added to contract values, so the six-level contract would be a contract of twelve tricks. In practice, establishing a contract without enough information on the other partner's hand is difficult, so there exist many bidding systems assigning meanings to bids, with common ones including Standard American, 2/1 game forcing. Con