MiniBridge Part 1 - Learning to Play

Lesson 4 of 5.

Choosing the contract

Before discussing choosing the contract it is helpful to have an idea of approximately how many tricks we might expect to win with our combined High Card Point count.

There are two parts to this lesson:

  1. Estimating the likely number of tricks for our side.
  2. Guidelines for choosing the contract. 

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Key points:

  1. A game contract in no trumps, hearts or spades usually requires at least 25 points.
  2. A game contract in clubs or diamonds usually requires at least 27 points.
  3. We generally expect to make one more trick with the same number of points when we have an 8 card or longer suit and we choose that suit as trumps, rather than playing in no trumps.

Scroll down for some quick questions to practice the things we have just learned.


Question 1 of 3. #8

What is the minimum number of points we need in our own hand and partners hand to usually make 10 tricks with spades as trumps?


Question 2 of 3. #10

If our side has a combined point count of 25? How many tricks do we usually expect to make in No Trumps.


Question 3 of 3. #38

What is the minimum number of points we need in our own hand and partners hand to usually make 8 tricks with clubs as trumps?


Continue

Key points:

  1. When choosing a contact, the first thing to look for is whether we have 8 or more cards of the same suit between the two hands… this is called a 'fit’.
  2. A 'fit' means a total of 8 or more cards in suit in our hand and dummy.
  3. Having an 8 card (or longer) fit is a good indication that we should choose that suit as trumps.
  4. With a major suit fit we should choose that suit as trumps.
  5. If there is no fit we should choose a contract in no trumps.
  6. With a minor suit fit we choose the minor suit as trump for partscore contracts, but consider No Trumps for game contracts.
  7. With a minor suit fit we should check we have some high cards in every suit before choosing game in No Trumps.

 

You can print this information in the form of a flowchart from here

Choosing the contract flowchart

 

Scroll down for some quick questions to practice the things we have just learned.

Definition reminder:  Denomination means the proposed trump suit or No Trump. There are five denominations – No Trumps, Spades, Hearts, Diamonds and Clubs.  


Question 1 of 3. #123

We are declarer. Distribution of our hand and dummy is:

Which is the best denomination to choose?


Question 2 of 3. #136

We are declarer. Distribution of our hand and dummy is:

Which is the best denomination to choose?


Question 3 of 3. #139

We are declarer with 21 high card points between our hand and dummy. Distribution of our hand and dummy is:

Which is the best contract to choose?


We are the declaring partnership so we need to choose the contract. Dummy goes down:

J
9
6
Q
7
5
9
8
6
A
K
4
3
North
West
East
South
Q
10
8
4
3
A
K
J
2
A
Q
8
5

With so many high cards in hearts it may be tempting to want to have hearts as trumps but we only have 7 cards.

The spades seem weaker but we have 8 of them.

When looking at trumps we focus on length not strength.

Have a go at the following activity - we count and announce points and then get to choose the contract.

Try the hand twice.  First time with hearts as trumps and second time with spades as trumps (hint: keep playing spades until the defenders don't have any left).

In hearts we only make 8 or 9 tricks. In spades we make 11!

 


Play the hand with hearts as trumps


Play same hand with spades as trumps


The hand just played illustrated the importance of have an 8 card or longer suit between our hand and dummy when we choose a suit as trumps.


Here are some more hands to play.


Two more hands to play


Below is a end of lesson progress check. If you get 80% or more, then you will get a Progress Marker and a pointer to the next lesson.

If you get less than 80% we recommend you go through the lesson again.


Lesson Progress Check


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