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 the Stayman convention and Jacoby transfers. 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.
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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, how much you should compete for the contract, when to pull trump, etc.
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.
- Was the bidding incorrect? Perhaps the bidding was very difficult and it was almost impossible to reach the best contract and level.
- Did I play the hand as best I could? Could I have planned out the sequence of playing in a different way?
- Did the lead card make a difference?
- Was there anything else that I could have done differently?
- Did my partner and I do everything right, but the game was just not makeable?
(E.g. no finesses were successful, 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:
- Could I have bid higher? Would it have made a difference? (For example, a 2S contract takes 9 tricks so it does not matter whether the contract was 2S or 3S as it results in the same score.)
- Did I miss out on bidding to game or a slam? If so, was there a way I could have changed my bidding?
- 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 can convey the contents of your hand perfectly. Use your best judgment. For example, once you have more experience and confidence, you may open with a Weak Two or pre-emptive bid with only one of the top cards in the suit. Consider vulnerability, also. 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 want to adhere to standard rules and not bend them at all. Having a respectful, compatible, and understanding partner certainly helps.