Once you have some confidence with the first five lessons, here are a few more to improve your knowledge and increase your understanding. As in Step 1, these lessons are simplified for a beginner to prevent confusion as much as possible, build confidence, and give a solid grounding on which to base your future progression in bridge. Good luck!
Before you consider bidding to slam, you should know how to respond to a 1NT or 2NT opening bid using “StayJac” (Stayman and Jacoby Transfer). See Lesson 2. At this level of bidding, it is very helpful to have some solid playing experience and be able to make sound judgments based on the bidding and the information being shared between you and your partner, always considering how your partner may interpret your bid.
These may be all the lessons you’ll ever need to be a successful and happy bridge player. You can buy many books on bridge, but there is enough information on this website to give you all the basics you need. Many social bridge players play for years and never learn anything more than these basic bids. Experience playing bridge will teach you what many printed lessons cannot. The more practice you have playing the game, the more you will improve. Once you gain confidence using these basic bids, you can always add more conventions and techniques later. Besides the bidding process, there is so much to learn about strategy — how to play the hand, when you should/should not compete for the contract, when to pull trump, etc.
If you found these beginner lessons to be useful and helpful, you may also find this booklet, “Pocket Guide for Beginner Bridge” to be valuable as well. For more information, click on the link below:
My beginner group also found the placemats to be helpful, especially at the very beginning when they were unsure of the bids and needed a very quick and handy reference. See link on right-hand side.
Put your Bidding Into Action — Try these practice games and test your bidding and playing skills.
More Quizzes — For anyone who would like more quizzes to test and review bidding, new ones are posted about once a week on Facebook. Click here: A Teacher First Facebook Page. Discussing the bidding can help you and your partner communicate better, so that you understand each other’s bids with confidence and trust. If you don’t have Facebook and would like to receive these quizzes by email, contact me at email@example.com.
Do expect to make mistakes — often you will learn more from your errors than from anything else. Here are some self-evaluating questions that may help you to identify the problems and solutions.
1) Was the bidding incorrect? (Perhaps the bidding was very difficult and it was almost impossible to reach the best contract and level.)
2) Did I play the hand as best I could? Could I have planned out the sequence better?
3) Did the lead card make a difference?
4) Was there anything else that I could have done differently?
5) Was everything done to the best of my knowledge, but the game was just not makeable?
(E.g. no finesses worked, the hands were skewed, one opponent held all the trump, etc.).
If you bid a contract and made over-tricks, it’s also a good idea to consider these questions:
1) Could I have bid higher? Would it have made a difference?
2) Did I miss out on bidding to game or a slam? If so, was there a way I could have changed my bidding?
3) Did the opponents make mistakes which allowed me to get more tricks than I deserve?
And finally, about the rules. I have always emphasized to my students that they must know the rules before they can break them, or bend them, shall we say. Sometimes there is no bid that is absolutely correct. One time I overcalled the opponent’s 1 Spade bid having only 4 hearts (but they were the top 4!) and we got the top score because of it. I knew I was misleading my partner, but I felt it was worth it as there was no bid which could describe my hand accurately and this was the best alternative to passing. Occasionally, it may be necessary to break the rules to stay in the bidding, but you should know what the rule is and why you are breaking it. If your partner is a stickler for the rules, then you may have a problem. Having a respectful, compatible and understanding partner certainly helps.