All bridge played today is Contract Bridge – now referred to simply as bridge - which was invented in the 1920s.
Contract Bridge is played in two main forms:
Duplicate Bridge is a form of the game adapted for competition and is the most common variant of bridge played in clubs and tournaments.
It is called Duplicate because the same deal is played at multiple tables and the results of different partnerships playing the same hand are compared.
Duplicate bridge was devised in the 1930s and continues to grow in popularity worldwide probably because it largely eliminates the element of luck that is present in other types of bridge or card games in general.
Chicago Bridge is a form of bridge in which sets of only four deals are played and scored.
In Chicago the duration of the game is thus more controllable, making it a more attractive proposition when limited time is available (lunchbreaks/when the boss isn’t looking etc).
Legend has it that this form of the game gets its name from a group of Chicago commuters who invented it in the 1960s because of the limited time they had in which to play bridge during their train journeys to and from work!
Another form of bridge, minibridge, is now becoming popular.
As the name suggests, it is a simplified form of the game. Bidding is dispensed with making it useful for beginners as it allows players to focus on declarer play and defensive techniques.
It is especially well-suited to teaching children the basics of the game and has been introduced into some primary schools in the UK where it is thought to improve and develop pupils’ logical thinking, problem solving skills and mathematical performance.
Learning to play bridge involves learning a language.
This language is used to communicate with your partner during the auction part of the game and is known as a bidding system. There are several bidding systems in use nowadays, but the three main ones are Acol, Standard American and Precision.
Acol is used by many bridge players around the world, but predominantly in the United Kingdom, the countries of the British Commonwealth and Scandinavia.
The Acol bidding system was devised during the 1920s and 1930s by a group of distinguished bridge players who named it after the road in West Hampstead in which the club then resided, before its move to its current premises in West End Lane.
Read more about the history of the Acol club and its part in the development of the Acol bidding system.
The Acol system has continued to develop and evolve since those early days but it still retains the underlying principle of keeping the bidding as natural as possible, thus as uncomplicated as possible. This distinguishes it from other systems such as Precision.
At the club we teach Acol, though players may use any system they choose at most of our duplicate sessions.