Fundamentals and preliminaries

Players In its most basic form, bridge is a game played by four people in two teams of competing partnerships. For purposes of scoring and reference, each player is identified by one of the points of the compass and thus North and South play against East and West.[7] More can participate, either as individuals or pairs or as teams of up to six, in formal tournaments or social gatherings where the governing rules of the event are prescribed by the sponsoring host. Contracts and objectives Contract bridge is a trick-taking card game where on each of several deals the opposing sides first compete in a bidding auction for the right to establish the contract for that deal, the side winning the auction being known as the declaring side. The contract is an exchange of the right to establish which suit, if any, is trumps for an undertaking to win (at least) the number of tricks specified by the highest bid. After the contract has been established, the play of the cards proceeds as in most trick-taking card games until all thirteen tricks have been played; at any time during the play, one side may claim a stated number of the remaining tricks and concede the balance, if any. Based on the actual number of tricks taken, the declaring side will have either succeeded or failed in fulfilling the contract; if successful (known as making or to have made), the declaring side scores points; if unsuccesssful (known as going down or being defeated), the defending side scores points. The overriding objective is to win the contest by accumulating more points than the opponents. Although each variant of bridge has its own particular scheme for awarding and accumulating points, all are based upon whether or not the contract for each de l was made or defeated and by how many tricks. It can sometimes be advantageous to bid a contract that one does not expect to make and to be defeated, thus losing some points, rather than allow the opposing side to bid and make a contract which would score them an even greater number of points. This is known as a sacrifice, and is not uncommon if both sides are contesting the final contract. Card, suit and bid rankings In the standard 52-card deck used in bridge, the ace is ranked highest followed by the king, queen, and jack and the spot-cards from ten down through to the two. Suit denominations also have a rank order with notrump being highest followed by spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs. The two lower-ranked suits (clubs and diamonds) are called the minor suits and the higher-ranked suits (hearts and spades) are called the major suits. Bidding is based on the premise that the lowest contract available to bidders starts with the proposition to take seven tricks, i.e. one cannot contract to make less than seven tricks. Given this, the bidding is said to start at the one-level when contracting for a total of seven tricks, at the two-level for eight tricks and so on to the seven-level to contract to take all thirteen tricks. The six tricks required as the base for any bid are referred to as the “book”. Within any level of bidding (i.e. from one to seven), suit rank establishes the bid’s rank, i.e. a bid of two diamonds outranks a bid of two clubs, a bid of three spades outranks a bid of three hearts, a bid of three notrump outranks a bid of three spades. Thus, there are 35 possible basic contracts (five at each of the seven levels); 1¦ being the lowest, followed by 1¦ etc., up to 7NT, the highest possible bid.