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CONTRACT BRIDGE

Here's a mnemonic means of recalling the order of precedence of suits in a Bridge card game:

"B r i d g e   C o n t r a c t - W A S H I N G T O N   D. C."

(high): No-Trumps, Spades, Hearts, Diamonds, Clubs

Contract Bridge (like its companion Auction Bridge) is similar to Whist in its playing, as two pairs of partners seated opposite play hands of cards for tricks, but it differs in three crucial respects - in the choosing of trumps by "contract" bids, in the valuing of individual suits, and in the scoring system.

The bidding occurs immediately after the cards are dealt. A bid is an offer to win a certain number of tricks above 6, using either a particular suit as trumps (eg. One-Hearts), or without setting trumps at all (eg. One-No-Trumps). The dealer makes the first bid, whereupon each player in turn either "passes" or makes a further bid that must be higher than the last. Partners use the bidding process to indicate to each other the relative strengths of their hands.

The value of the succeeding bid depends not only on the number of tricks contracted but also on the ranking of the suit chosen as trumps. The order of precedence is No-Trumps, Spades, Hearts, Diamonds, Clubs, so that a bid of 1NT is higher than 1S but lower than 2C or 2D. The highest possible bid is 7NT whereby the bidder contracts to take all 13 tricks without using any suit as trumps.

Spades and Hearts are counted as major suits in Bridge, while Diamonds and Clubs are minor suits.

Finally, if the first mnemonic ("Contract, Washington DC") is too confusing to remember easily, the reverse order of precedence of the suits can always be recalled as straight alphabetical, ie:

(lowest) C--D--H--S--X(NT) (highest)

 

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