Different Types of Bridge
By Alex J. Coyne © 2017 Great Bridge Links
Bridge isn’t just bridge. There are many different forms of bridge, including duplicate bridge, rubber bridge, Chicago bridge and the aptly named Minibridge. We’ve collected some more info about each for you below. Which form does your favorite bridge game take?
Duplicate bridge is the most widely used variation of contract bridge in club and tournament play. It is called duplicate because the same bridge deal (i.e. the specific arrangement of the 52 cards into the four hands) is played at each table and scoring is based on how well you did on the hand as compared to everyone else who played it. According to the ACBL official website, duplicate bridge started gaining popularity amongst players in the 1930s.
Under the Duplicate Bridge umbrella you will find many organizational variations including Pairs, Teams, and Individuals, many event variations including Flighted, Stratifieded and Open events, and a few scoring variations including matchpoints, imps, and victorypoints.
When you play bridge online, you will be playing Duplicate Bridge of one kind or another.
Rubber bridge is one of the most popular forms of home bridge, and of money bridge. Rubber bridge didn’t arrive on the scene too long after the initial forms evolved from Whist. As Wikipedia describes it – Rubber bridge is a form of contract bridge played by two competing pairs using a particular method of scoring. A rubber is completed when one pair becomes first to win two games, each game presenting a score of 100 or more contract points; a new game ensues until one pair has won two games to conclude the rubber. Rubber bridge is an excellent for of the game for money players, with the payout typically set on a per-point scale. This results in the bidding and play of a hand being more focused on the resulting points rather than the potential of the cards.
Chicago bridge is also called Four-deal Bridge or Short Bridge, and is technically a spin on rubber bridge – with four hands played, making games quick and ideally suited to friends or clubs looking for a quick game. You might’ve guessed that Chicago bridge originated in Chicago – and you’d be right! Chicago bridge started in the Standard Club of Chicago in the 1960’s.
According to card rules website Pagat, “the term honeymoon bridge can be applied to any adaptation of Contract Bridge for two players.” The same guide notes that several versions of basic honeymoon bridge exist, with the game played between two players using one deck of cards. Honeymoon bridge is basically two-person whist, with a rotating trump and no bidding. Games of honeymoon bridge are generally shorter, and players don’t play as partners as they usually do in other games of bridge, but rather play one-on-one. We’re guessing that honeymoon bridge might have thusly also been a great way for players to test the strength of their newfound marriages way back when …
Minibridge is a form of bridge officially endorsed by the English Bridge Union. According to their website, it was first developed in France as a tool to teach the game of bridge to young students just getting started. As it so happens, minibridge remained popular even outside the classroom – and it’s played regularly by many as a quick introduction to the game. More complex nuances of bidding are omitted from the game of minibridge.
A few game designers have attempted to translate bridge, the card game, into a board game – in many cases in an effort to help people learn basic principles. One of these board games is Bidittle which you will find on the Baron Barclay Bridge Supplies website or elsewhere. It is described as: a game to enjoy with children, grandchildren, friends and neighbors to teach bidding and trick-taking concepts in a game that moves quickly. Not only is BIDittle fun… it’s a great way for you to introduce basic Bridge fundamentals.