CCA Preview ’15: Bridge Club

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Welcome to the world of contract bridge, one in which you can bid farewell to all the random-partner-calling, less-than-4-points-washing, gambling-style, luck-based card game that you have been used to all this while. Be ready to face the real deal when you join Bridge Club, where what you once knew as bridge will suddenly start to seem so foreign. Declarer? Dummy? Double? Redouble? Slam? Grand slam? Don’t worry, these terms will soon be part and parcel of your vocabulary within a few weeks of joining us!

Every bridge hand consists of two parts, the bidding and the play. The bidding is where you and your (yes, fixed) partner relay information about your hands to each other through the bids you make, in order to arrive at the optimum contract (e.g. 4❤ or 6♠). Since verbal communication is not allowed at the table during competitions, you have to learn the language of bidding well. For example, a one heart or one spade opening promises 5+ hearts or spades respectively and 12+ HCP (HCP refers to high card points, where Ace- 4pts, King- 3pts, Queen- 2 pts, Jack- 1pt). After bidding, the play involves the declarer (from the partnership that wins the bidding) trying to take enough tricks to make his contract (the final bid- e.g. 10 tricks in 4♠, and all 13 tricks in 7NT). The defenders (the opposing partnership) will try to set the contract by preventing the declarer from doing so.

Although probability is involved, luck is actually negligible in contract bridge! In competitions, there are different boards, which hold 4 sets of cards, one for each player, in a fixed arrangement, and these are passed around the room such that the same board is played by everyone, and scores are compared to those playing in the same seats as your pair.

Trainings are held on Wednesdays and Fridays, from 2:30-6:30 p.m. Members have the choice of attending either session, but are highly encouraged to come for both, especially if they are interested in joining the school team. Members who want even more practice can go to the SCBA (Singapore Contract Bridge Association), where games are held several times a week, as well as on holidays. SCBA is conveniently located close to school, at Bishan Community Centre. There are many competitions available for our members to join, such as the Hwa Chong Cup, Catholic Junior College Cup, and the National Inter-Schools Bridge Competition. Our bridge club also organises its own competition, Raffles Pairs, at the start of the June holidays!

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Trainings usually include a lesson on bidding or card play, followed by a team match or duplicate pairs games that are just like actual competitions. Training sessions are light-hearted and centered around having fun while trying to improve your game.

Bridge is both a partnership and a team game. Everyone in the team is important – a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. As such, you should be willing to put in the time and effort to train, in and out of CCA hours, in order to improve. Training sessions are limited, hence learning is often self-directed. This allows pairs to learn at their own pace, and develop their own strategies. Many resources are available online, as well as at the Shaw Foundation Library, so you can start reading up if you’re interested!

There is only one pre-requisite: interest. As long as you are enthusiastic and diligent, we want you to be part of us, so just sign up! Prior experience with contract bridge is not needed, and you do not have to sign up with a partner; passion and commitment will be more than enough.

Once you learn the game, we assure you that you will never see cards the same way again. This is a one-way journey of no return but one that is guaranteed to be fruitful and rewarding.

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