A quick look at bridge

Blog

Bridge enthusiasts are likely to tell you it’s the best card game ever created – and it’s certainly attracted some notable players over the years, including Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Winston Churchill, Martina Navratilova and Charles M. Schulz. A rich, complex and rewarding game, bridge is well worth the time and energy investment. If you haven’t played before but have always wanted to try, here’s a very brief look at how it works.

THE BASICS

Bridge is a four-player game in which two sets of partners compete against each other. It uses a standard 52-card deck, and at the beginning of each hand each player is dealt 13 cards. Partners sit opposite each other.

The game has two main parts: the bidding and the play. Once the cards have been dealt, the bidding takes place. This is where the partnerships bid on how many tricks they think they’ll win in the hand. The winning bid is called ‘the contract’.

There are 13 tricks in a hand of bridge. Each player plays a card in turn in a clockwise direction, and whoever plays the highest card wins the trick. Players must follow suit if possible. If they can’t follow suit, they may play a card from any suit but this card can’t win the trick.

Note: The above changes depending on whether you’re playing in a trump or no-trump contract, which you’ll discover as you learn more about the game.

Cards are ranked from Ace, King, Queen and Jack down to two. The player that wins the trick plays the first card of the following trick.

Scoring happens once the hand is complete and is based on how many tricks each partnership has won. Points are also allocated or taken away depending on whether the relevant partnership made their contract or not.

THE BENEFITS

Bridge is social and fun – particularly if you set up a regular game with friends or join your local bridge club.

It’s also good for your health – the American Contract Bridge League (ACBL) cites a University of California-Berkeley study which indicated that playing bridge can “provide a boost to your immune system.”

And it’s mentally stimulatingresearch suggests that brain games like bridge may have a positive impact on “certain thinking skills” like short-term memory, reaction time and decision-making.

Keen to know more? The ACBL website is a great place to start. This online resource offers introductory videos, tutorials, and an “interactive learn-as-you-play” program. And if you’re really ready to dive into the game, why not contact your local bridge club to find a teacher?

Ready to play? Don’t be discouraged if you don’t have a regular partner to play with – there are a number of websites and apps that allow you to practise your skills and play against other players online. Good options include bridgebase.com and funbridge.com.

Each Evergreen Lifestyle Centre includes a games room and entertainment area where residents meet for regular bridge and other card games.