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Basic Tips for Playing of the cards

The game of contract bridge which will exercise your brain. It offers a social forum, team building, problem solving and general fun.

See basics to check any of the following

Suits and rank Tricks and scores

Evaluating a hand

Planning the play Types of Bridge

There are several tips which may seem obvious but, because your concentration may be elsewhere, beginners forget.

Below Declarer and Defenders

Declarer

  1. Know how many tricks are required
  2. Count your top tricks (Aces, Kings etc)
    These give you control and in a No Trump (NT) contract they will still make even if you have to give the opponents the lead.
  3. It is sometimes useful to identify certain losers particularly when you only have 2 or 3 to lose.
  4. Identify where you can make extra tricks and how you can establish them
  5. Look for potential problems and try and tackle these as soon as possible
  6. Look at the cards before you play. It is all too easy to anticipate a card and play before you see it using a high card which you could keep for later.
  7. When winning a trick use the cheapest card. If the top card on the table is the ten and you have Ace and Jack use the Jack.
  8. Do not let the opponents rush you. You are entitled to see their cards and can ask to see a card again as long as you have not turned your own over.
    This means only the current trick.
  9. Practice counting the cards even when you are dummy.
    Try memorising the shape of your hand.
    If you have 5 cards in a suit at the begriming then when you only have 2 left it is probable that there have been 3 rounds.
  10. In general you need to remember the honours played not all the little cards. So memorise you holding at the begriming if you can.
  11. You can not see through the back of the cards but neither can your opponents.
    This means you can play low with the 2nd hand when it is dummy because the opponents do not know what you have and will have to play a high card.
  12. When you get the lead avoid leading the opponents suit, the one they led, unless you can establish a trick.

Defenders

  1. On the initial lead do not lead the declarers suits, this you know from the bidding.
    Unless you have a guarantee to establish a trick for yourself.
  2. Lead the top of a run, K Q J lead the King. This does two things:
    it will establish the next card in your hand,
    and secondly you are giving your partner the information that you have the card below the lead.
    Q J 10 will take a bit longer to establish but Q J does not have the same potential.
    10 9 8 6 5 leading the top card says you have nothing better in the suit.
  3. If you do not have a run then lead the 4th highest ( K 10 6 5 2 lead the 5). This will help your partner to count the cards.
  4. Failing that look at the middle card from three (9 7 2 lead the 7)
  5. In No Trump contracts you are looking to establish tricks later.
  6. In a trump contract do not lead a small card when you have the Ace. You are now looking for quick tricks before the suit is trumped.
    Choose a different suit if you can.

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© Mary Vale 2009
Learn to play bridge