Mastering Bridge: A Comprehensive Guide To The Bidding System

Mastering Bridge: A Comprehensive Guide To The Bidding System

Every partnership in bridge needs to have some prior agreements about the meaning of the bids they would make

Arvind VaidyaUpdated: Sunday, June 23, 2024, 12:33 AM IST
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Every partnership in bridge needs to have some prior agreements about the meaning of the bids they would make. A set of such prior agreements is called ‘Bidding System’. Its beyond the scope of a bridge column to teach any bidding system in details. However, let me present an overview of this aspect of the game.

Any partnership has got 35 legal bids at its disposal. A bidding system typically starts with ‘opening bids’. Say we consider the 1C bid. Now, the partners know that if one of them opens the bidding with 1C, what would it mean for the partner about 13 cards of 1C bidder. Not everything about the hand can be told in one bid but it gives some basic idea about the strength of the hand. As you know already, there are maximum 40 high card points (HCPs) in the pack, going by the 4-3-2-1-point scale which was explained a few weeks back. If the first bidder’s hand is 12 or more HCPs, it is considered worthy of an opening bid like 1C. Similarly, other bids like 1H, 1S, 1N can be used as opening bids and each one will carry some message for the partner.

Opening bidder’s partner is called ‘Responder’. Responder himself may have a good hand or he may have just enough to respond to the opening bid. Thus, one round of bidding gets done. Both partners may need more bids to further describe their own cards. In two or three rounds of bidding, the picture becomes clear and soon the bidding may end. Last bid made becomes the contract.

Bidding system and system bids are required to steer a partnership to reach a good contract. What bidders need to have been good system memory and understanding of the bids and a bidding sequence that develops. If either partner falters on this, bidding can go offtrack. Sometimes only one side may bid but it is possible that both sides do competitive bidding, trying to outbid opposition and bag the contract. The two opposing partnerships can have different bidding systems. But what is important, and bridge is very fair game, that no partnership can have any secret or private understanding. What your bids mean, your opponents are entitled to know, and vice versa.

Bidding system can be simple, rudimentary at an amateur level. It can become more elaborate at higher level. Serious partnerships can even have very detailed and complicated and advanced bidding system. The goal for all is to bid to a good contract.

There are a quite a few popular bidding systems. Some of them are well documented. The two most popular bidding systems worldwide are: (1) Precision Bidding System (2) Standard American Bidding System

Large amount of literature is available for both these systems. Though the basic ideas have remained same over the years, people have introduced variations and refinements over and above the basic framework.

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