By Justin Cheong (Vice-Chairperson)
When you hear “Bridge”, you may think of the simpler version played amongst family and friends, where confusion exists aplenty through the frantic bidding and chaotic gameplay as one tries to uncover who one’s partner is. However, here at Bridge Club, we do not play Floating Bridge; instead, we play something much, much different—Contract Bridge. But what exactly does that entail?
Each round of Contract Bridge pits two partnerships against each other, North-South and East-West. Play involves 2 stages—bidding followed by cardplay. In the bidding phase, each player bids strategically to convey information about their hand strength and find the optimal contract to play or defend. Indeed, half the battle is won at this stage: making a wrong bid can (and probably will) end up being extremely costly to you and your partner! The subsequent cardplay phase is where players demonstrate their playing skills, employing various Bridge techniques and tricks to maximise the odds of defeating their opponents’ contract or making their own.
One common question asked about Contract Bridge is, of course, about its inherent luck factor: how can any card game not include any aspect of luck? In a Contract Bridge tournament, every table plays a set of identical hands, negating the possibility of one drawing bad hands. Then, each game result is compared with the results of other players who played the same hand, giving an excellent measure of how well you actually played. Therefore, you can still net the top score with expert defence even with a bad hand, as other players will also be faced with the similar problem of a bad hand.
You may be interested to indulge yourself in the skill-intensive game of Contract Bridge, but don’t know where to start. Our club welcomes anyone to join, whether you have experience or not! If you’ve done a quick search on Google, and want to understand just what mystifying terms like “endplay”, “finesse”, or “dummy” mean, or just want to get into the game of Bridge with no stakes involved, our club is the place for you! The abundance of notes and resources prepared by CCA members, alongside the experience of our coach, will help to ensure that you have no dearth of people to turn to for help.
Our CCA is held every Wednesday, from 8-11am, and there is an additional session on Friday afternoons for Y6s (timing TBC). During CCA sessions, we attend lessons by our coach, listen to sharings by fellow club members, as well as play in friendly mini-tournaments. During this time, we focus on picking up new bidding and cardplay strategies from more knowledgeable club members and our coach, and get a chance to put whatever we learn to good use in actual play.
To those who want to immerse yourself in the world of Bridge, there are quite a few competitions our club participates in, such as the National Schools Teams, Matchpoint Teams, Hwa Chong Cup, and of course Raffles Pairs, organised by the club itself. At these competitions, one can expect to challenge themselves against the best of the best from other schools in Singapore, and see just how skilled one truly is.
If all this excites you, why not take the first step and join Bridge Club? A whole new fascinating world awaits!