Contract bridge, most often simply referred to as bridge, is a type of card game played by four people using an ordinary 52-card playing deck. The game is a measure of skill as well as chance. Contract bridge is quite similar to other trick-taking card games, with the most notable difference being that one player’s hand is displayed face up on the table to be used as the “dummy” for the game.
To play contract bridge, players must divide into two person partnerships. The four players then sit around the playing table, with partners directly opposite each other and often referred to as North, West, East, and South throughout the duration of the game. A game of bridge consists of several deals, with the goal of each being to achieve the highest possible score with the cards you are given. Scores are calculated based on the number of tricks bid in the auction as well as the number of tricks taken during the play. The dealer distributes the cards and bids first.
The exact rules and scoring system used for contract bridge are standardized by the international organization known as the World Bridge Federation. This organization regularly publishes a guidebook known as the Laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge. It’s a valuable reference guide for tournament directors as well as those who aspire to improve their mastery of the game.
Contract bridge is a game with a rich history. The name bridge is said to be an English pronunciation of a game called Biritch, also known as Russian Whist. The oldest known Biritch rule book dates back to 1886. Although the book does outline many of the rules used in contract bridge today, the scoring system used in modern play is the result of modifications made to the game by Harold Stirling Vanderbilt.
One of the reasons why contract bridge continues to remain a popular pastime is that the game can be played in tournaments with a very large number of players. There are competitions held in small local clubs, as well as large events like the Olympiads and the World Championships.
To some extent, the development of modern computer technology has influenced how players enjoy contract bridge. If you’re having trouble finding a suitable opponent locally, there are a number of resources available for playing bridge on the Internet. Some are free and cater to beginning level players, while the paid subscription bridge services usually attract a much more experienced clientèle.