There are four suits. From left to right: spades, hearts, clubs, and diamonds. We can also play with no suit as trump, which we refer to as "no trump".
For the purposes of bidding, the suits are given a rank that assigns them a value (so that each bid has greater value than the one before it). In order of highest value bid to lowest the rank is: no trump, spades, hearts, diamonds, and lastly clubs.
In the articles, auctions that are noncompetitive (where only one partnership is bidding) will only have two bids per line:
Auctions where both partnerships are bidding will have four bids per line:
The special symbols are:
x = double
xx = redouble
ap = all pass (meaning that everyone passes)
! = alert (signifies an unusal or artifical bid)
Hands are typically displayed in order of suit rank:
Bridge hands are always represented by the four compass directions: North, South, East, and West. We use these directions to identify which hand we are talking about. Special lingo that you might see along these lines are:
RHO (right-hand opponent - the opponent sitting on your right)
LHO (left-hand opponent - the opponent sitting on your left)
When all four hands are displayed, it will look like this:
In almost 15 years of teaching bridge, I've learned that breaking a concept down into simple steps is not enough.
When you are learning bridge, you need to hear something over and over. You need to do each technique, experience each situation, and hear each explanation again and again and again.
With repetition and only with repetition, do we build the skills we need to excel at this game.
No one picks this game up on their first try. The single most important traits you must develop as a student of this game is the willingness and patience to work through each problem at least 50 times.
My books will help you understand how to think bridge: what the logic behind each bid and play is. But as comprehensive as they are, they cannot cover every situation. Beyond which, I've find it's sometimes very helpful to hear the same thing said differently.
With this in mind, I've decided to write a Spade (beginner's) and Diamond (intermediate) article bimonthly. These will cover hands that come up as my students and I play, questions that arise from those same situations, as well as issues that I cover in my books that I feel deserve more time and attention.
If you'd like to ask a question or submit a hand, click on the Contacts page and send it to me. If your question or hand is a great fit for the Spade or Diamond articles, I will put them in.
The articles will cover all aspects of bridge. You will need to have a basic understanding of the mechanics of bridge to read the articles. If you are brand new to the game, please download and read my free pamphlet on bridge in the books tab.
For a quick primer or review, please continue reading.