Contract Bridge - instructions & conventions
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Contract Bridge

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Instructions, conventions and links to tables

Before starting


Bidding systems


Simple yet powerfull strong clubs system. Although its global popularity will never rival that of Standard American or 2-Over-1, it is generally reckoned to be more efficient that any of them and is the foremost Strong Club system in use today. Check the Quora opinions about the pros and cons, explaining why it's a superior system.
Many modern experts, including multiple World Champions Jeff Meckstroff and Eric Rodwell use it as the basis of their system (eg R-M Precision). The number of other Strong Club systems that have come into existence since 1970 and that use Precision as their basis are a further compliment to its power and effectiveness.

Precision gains its biggest advantage by restricting the range of its intermediate opening bids to 11-15 points and reserving the One Club opening for any hand containing 16 or more points. This contrasts with the huge range for opening bids found in most other systems of 11-20 points. The much smaller range of intermediate openings makes it much easier for Precision users to know immediately whether they are in part-score, game, or slam territory and reduces the strain on responder to keep the bidding alive in case partner has a rock-crushingly strong hand.


The most popular system for online games.

2/1 GF (game forcing)

SAYC system has weekness when playing scoring games. It has a number of gaps easily exploitable by advanced players. One of them is its difficulty of describing very strong hands that do not want to set trumps immediately.

2/1 GF system was develop from SAYC to overcome this weekness. A fundamental construct of the 2/1 system is the philosophy to quickly identify and communicate game-going partnership values without consuming excessive bidding space.

The 2/1 GF is recommended system on Bridge Base Online because it's a simple update over SAYC

Other systems


The suits are thought of as circle from ♣ to ♠. A low card in suggests a suit ‘below’, whilst a high card, suggests a suit above. You "skip" the lead suit (since you don't have any) and the discarded suit is discouraged. You can make a neutral discard by suggesting the trumps.
Like Revolving discard, you select higher or lower suite out from the remaining rather than revolving. So when discarding low ♣ to leading then in Lavintahl you signal but in Revolving you signal ♠.
UDCA (upside down count and attitude)
low encourages the suit and high discourages it.
Roman discard (Odd/Even)
2,4: discourage given and signal the lower suit (from 2 remaining)
6,8: discourage given and signal the higher suit
3,5,7: to signal the given suit

Popular conventions

Stopper cue bidding
After setting the suit S we can start bidding lowest control: A or K or singleton or void, to invite for the game. Partner must cue bid his lowest control (even when weak) or bid S. If one player has by passed a suit showing no control and his partner still cue bids a new suit, he promises control in the by passed suit.
After 1NT interruption (Y or *). Example for: 1NT-(2):
→ *=neg double; 2♠=nat, noF; 2NT=weak with 5#m or F with 4#♠; 3♣= nat F; 3= 3-#♠ ask for stopper; 3♠= nat F.
Bidding 2NT is the Lebensohl. Opener must relay 3♣. Then: → pas/3=week + 5♣/; 3=GF 4+#♠ no stop; 3♠= inv 5#♠; 3NT=nat + ♠stoppers.
Blackwood RKC (102 / 1430)
After 4NT we count the # of Aces + trump K. The responses are: 5♣=1|4, 5=0|3, 5=2|5 (without trump Q), 5♠=2|5 (with trump Q).
→ After 5♣ or 5 the next step (skipping trump suit) ask for trump Queen. If you don't have the queen - sign off (bid our suit at the cheapest level). Otherwise bid your cheapest king (not counting trump one) or 5NT
→ The next step (or next+1 after 5♣ or 5) asks for kings only when Grand Slam can be developed. Response: bid the cheapest king you have.
Negative double
After partner opening and opp. overcall ≤ 3♠. Requires 6+ HCP 4+# at level 1, and 8+ HCP 5+# at level 2. After 1/1♠ opening it usually invites for 3NT. Examples:
  • 1?-(1?)-*: no points to overcall, promises descend rebid and something else (eg 5#)
  • 1♣-(1)-*: 4-4 in majors
  • 1♣/1-(1)-*: 4# ♠
  • -(1♠)-*: 1 minor and descend rebid
Takeout double
After non-interrupted opp. bid ≤ 3♠. Promises: strong one suited hand (16+HCP 6# or 19+ HCP 5#) or balanced too strong (19+ HCP) to overcall 1NT or (std) 12+ HCP, short in opp suit, nothing good to open.

A1. Rubber scoring

Rubber consist of two games. To make a first game (be vulnerable) you need 100 points below the line. After that all points in that sector are undersocred and each team starts points below the line from 0.
Below the line, only for contract points - for each odd trick bid and made. Redouble doubles all doubled values. Undoubled Doubled
♣, / , ♠ 20 / 30 40 / 60
no trump (first / subsequents) 40 / 30 80 / 60
Above the line
Overtricks not vul. (before having first game) as for tricks 100
Overtricks vul. as for tricks 200
Penalties: (awarded by defending side)
* not vul. undertricks (first / subsequents) 50 100 / 200
* bulnerable undertricks (first / subsequents) 100 200 / 300
Bonuses all above the line. Values are not doubled by Double or Redouble Score
award for a doubled / redoubled contract made 50 / 100
successful small slam - contract to win 12 tricks (not vul. / vul.) 500 / 750
successful grand slam - contract to win 13 tricks (not vul. / vul.) 1000 / 1500
Rubber (opponents have / doesn't have a game) 300 / 500
For a non-sport game
Rubber (opponents have / doesn't have a game) 500 / 700
one hand holding any 4 of the 5 trump suit honors 100
one hand holding all 5 trump suit honors, or all 4 aces in a notrump contract 150

A2. IMP scoring

The table shows the expected score (divided by 10) based on HCP. Substract it from your score to get the diff and find IMP value (second table).
hcp v/nv hcp v/nv hcp v/nv hcp v/nv
21 5/5 25 30/40 29 49/69 33 99/144
22 9/9 26 40/60 30 52/72 34 125/180
23 13/13 27 43/63 31 70/100 35 140/210
24 22/26 28 46/66 32 90/135 36+ 150/220
IMP results:
diff imp diff imp diff imp diff imp
≤4 1 ≤31 7 ≤89 13 ≤224 19
≤8 2 ≤26 8 ≤109 14 ≤249 20
≤12 3 ≤42 9 ≤122 15 ≤299 21
≤16 4 ≤49 10 ≤149 16 ≤349 22
≤21 5 ≤59 11 ≤174 17 ≤399 23
≤26 6 ≤74 12 ≤199 18 ≥400 24

A2. Card distributions