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For Beginners and Intermediates

Introduction

Bridge is a simple game with simple rules: contract for a certain number of tricks in a trump suit or no trumps; declarer’s left hand opponent leads, the dummy comes down, and then big cards win.

Bridge is a difficult game with all sorts of complicated regulations: bidding gobbles up all my memory capacity; and if my big cards are supposed to win, how come I keep going down? Never mind ethical obligations and director calls: slow passes, insta-bids, partnership disharmony.

So how can we go about improving our bridge? I will aim to write a series of articles focusing on some basic ways on how to get better. I will assume that you have played bridge before, enjoy the game, and seek to improve. There are many books and webpages devoted to helping you, so why bother reading my rants? I hope to provide a different perspective, and not focus purely on technical aspects. In particular, you are unlikely to catch me writing: “You must play convention XYZ”; or “The double squeeze is obvious on the lead”.

So, in no particular order, I will write about:

I strongly believe in holistic learning, and there are mutual synergies to improving all aspects of your play. For instance, if you improve your bidding, you can draw better inferences from auctions for your declarer play and your defense. If you improve your declarer play, then on defense you can better sniff out why the opposing declarer is going about his business in that manner. And so on. Bridge ethics is a different beast, which is not often written about for beginners and intermediates.

How to read these lectures: pick an area you’re interested in, and browse. Don’t feel the need to start in order, and read down. Sometimes I will provide an interesting hand; whilst at other times, I will write more about general principles.

For those who consider themselves out-of-range for these articles, in particular if you want to become an expert at bridge, I recommend a series of threads of advice from Fred Gitelman. I benefited greatly from reading the advice myself, and the follow up commentary. You can find the first of the series at:

Fred Gitelman advice

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