gamerfreak
gamerfreak
Joined: Dec 28, 2014
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October 19th, 2020 at 12:18:41 PM permalink
Any bridge players on the forum?

It was something I always saw old women playing at the local country club, and the complexity of it always intrigued me. I made a few half hearted attempts to learn, but the rules make very little sense on paper.

Recently I was on vacation and had some time to devote to learning Bridge, and I found this fantastic app called Tricky Bridge https://www.trickybridge.com/

Unfortunately I think it is iOS only, but I am sure there is something similar for android. It took me about 2 hours to go through the tutorials and get to a point where I think I could play the game at a novice level.

It's fascinating the amount of depth and complexity achieved by a game with a simple deck of cards. The actual card play of trick taking is not super hard, and I may be wrong but I would say about 90% of decisions are fairly obvious. Contract bidding is a whole other part of the game that is probably the most difficult, hundreds of books have been written on that subject alone. And keeping score is an entirely different matter, the rules for scoring are not straightforward.

Some interesting facts about bridge....

Bridge is categorized in the family of Trick Taking games, and is a variation of a trick taking game called Whist, which dates back to the mid 1700's.

Harold Stirling Vanderbilt is credited with creating the rules in 1925 for the modern variation of bridge played today.

The number of people playing contract bridge has declined since its peak in the 1940s, when a survey found it was played in 44% of US households. The game is still widely played, especially amongst retirees, and in 2005 the ACBL estimated there were 25 million players in the US.

Bridge and chess are the only "mind sports" recognized by the International Olympic Committee
AZDuffman
AZDuffman
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October 19th, 2020 at 12:48:17 PM permalink
As a kid I saw it played on TV shows which means I heard the name and nothing else. One year I got a "50 card games for kids" book that had how to play and I could not follow it not that it mattered as there would be nobody to play with.

At this point my main chance of learning is if I end up in Club Fed and have hours a day to kill.
All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others
ThatDonGuy
ThatDonGuy
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October 19th, 2020 at 12:53:45 PM permalink
In my opinion, the "secret" to contract bridge is having a partner and working out details on what bids mean what. Most bids are meant to be signals. For example, Three No Trump is usually a request for your partner to tell you how many aces they have (IIRC, 4 clubs = none, 4 diamonds = 1, 4 hearts = 2, 4 spades = 3, and 4NT = 4).
gamerfreak
gamerfreak
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October 19th, 2020 at 12:58:38 PM permalink
Quote: ThatDonGuy

In my opinion, the "secret" to contract bridge is having a partner and working out details on what bids mean what. Most bids are meant to be signals. For example, Three No Trump is usually a request for your partner to tell you how many aces they have (IIRC, 4 clubs = none, 4 diamonds = 1, 4 hearts = 2, 4 spades = 3, and 4NT = 4).


Yes, I believe SAYC is the defacto standard bidding system

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standard_American
charliepatrick
charliepatrick
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gamerfreak
October 19th, 2020 at 1:30:42 PM permalink
I started playing bridge at school many years ago. Initially I should recommend reading a few books to understand the basics of bidding and some on card play (defence and declarer). In normal times you'd then try a bridge club and find a partner or go to evening classes.

In the UK most people use Acol but some strong club systems are also used. Online and in the US there is a thing called SAYC (Standard American Yellow Card). I play on BBO ( https://www.bridgebase.com/v3/ ) and you can join for free and have a look around - even watch other tables. When you're ready there are free competitions, note robots play SAYC. (SAYC is slightly more complicated so don't worry about learning it all - I haven't bothered as you can click on a robot's bid to understand it and your own to understand what the robot understands by your bid!)

There are various levels you can play at so start out aiming towards club standard. This means you get to know the basics and only add a few bells and whistles.

One lesson I recently learnt is as opener your hand can either be flat (you tend to bid NT) or distributional. Your job is to convey that to your partner. With a flat hand you either open NT (1NT: 15-17 points etc.) or with 12-14 your second bid is in NT and 18+ you jump in NT.
e.g. 1 major - 5-card suit (your second bid is NT with 12-14 flat hand 5332).
1 minor - either 4+ cards or 2/3 if 4-card majors (your second bid is 1NT with 12-14 flat hand unless you can bid 1 major).

With a distributional hand either you have one or two suits (or sometimes three), so open one of the suits and then either bid one of the others or rebid your long suit. This is more complicated than NT hands, so I'll leave the book to descibe your options.

Then you get to what the responder does - fun fun fun!!
gamerfreak
gamerfreak
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October 19th, 2020 at 1:34:54 PM permalink
Quote: charliepatrick

I started playing bridge at school many years ago. Initially I should recommend reading a few books to understand the basics of bidding and some on card play (defence and declarer). In normal times you'd then try a bridge club and find a partner or go to evening classes.

In the UK most people use Acol but some strong club systems are also used. Online and in the US there is a thing called SAYC (Standard American Yellow Card). I play on BBO ( https://www.bridgebase.com/v3/ ) and you can join for free and have a look around - even watch other tables. When you're ready there are free competitions, note robots play SAYC. (SAYC is slightly more complicated so don't worry about learning it all - I haven't bothered as you can click on a robot's bid to understand it and your own to understand what the robot understands by your bid!)

There are various levels you can play at so start out aiming towards club standard. This means you get to know the basics and only add a few bells and whistles.

One lesson I recently learnt is as opener your hand can either be flat (you tend to bid NT) or distributional. Your job is to convey that to your partner. With a flat hand you either open NT (1NT: 15-17 points etc.) or with 12-14 your second bid is in NT and 18+ you jump in NT.
e.g. 1 major - 5-card suit (your second bid is NT with 12-14 flat hand 5332).
1 minor - either 4+ cards or 2/3 if 4-card majors (your second bid is 1NT with 12-14 flat hand unless you can bid 1 major).

With a distributional hand either you have one or two suits (or sometimes three), so open one of the suits and then either bid one of the others or rebid your long suit. This is more complicated than NT hands, so I'll leave the book to descibe your options.

Then you get to what the responder does - fun fun fun!!


Is it considering cheating to have some kind of reference card for bidding conventions when playing online?

I think this is the “official” reference
http://web2.acbl.org/documentlibrary/play/sayc_card.pdf
billryan
billryan 
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October 19th, 2020 at 1:50:08 PM permalink
My parents taught me as a teenager and I played quite a bit. It took awhile to get the bidding down, and it seemed to me you pretty much need a steady partner in order to bid properly. One thing I never got down was how to score. It seemed to me that the scoring was overly complicated and I never put much time into it. I played some in college and in the Army but mostly I switched over to Hearts as it was easier to get up a game.
I enjoyed bridge and wouldn't mind taking it up again, although I'm sure I've forgotten more than I knew.
Mosca
Mosca
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unJon
October 19th, 2020 at 1:51:43 PM permalink
I used to play, but back in the '70s there was this thing about criticizing peoples' play during the game. It wasn't fun, so I stopped. My dad said I was pretty good.

My father was a Gold Life Master, he and his friend Stan played against some of the all time greats and held their own. They were playing in the ACBL Nationals, some time around 1970 or so, and if Stan would have led the 3s they would have advanced to the finals. He didn't, and they didn't. For years afterward, my father would give him the 3s: closed in a book he loaned to him, or in a Christmas card, or he'd make a deck out of all 3spades and the first hand Stan would get thirteen 3s of spades. They were lifelong friends, Stan died last year at 95, and my dad died a couple months ago at 92. Playing cards kept him pretty vibrant, he played bridge until he had a stroke in '19.

They used to have bridge problems in the newspaper. I could solve about half of them, as long as they were play related rather than bidding, even though I didn't play. It was fun to trap people who had better cards, but couldn't use the advantage.
Last edited by: Mosca on Oct 19, 2020
NO KILL I
billryan
billryan 
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Mosca
October 19th, 2020 at 2:03:00 PM permalink
Goren on bridge was required reading in my house and my parents often quizzed us on the column. I was mildly disappointed to find out it had been ghostwritten for many years.
gordonm888
gordonm888
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October 19th, 2020 at 5:01:23 PM permalink
I have played bridge and decades ago I even played in a tournament. However, it was always (for me) a game that was easier to read about than to find a foursome to play.

Strangely enough, I believe its the one common card game that our Wizard has never learned.
So many better men, a few of them friends, were dead. And a thousand thousand slimy things lived on, and so did I.

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