Friday, 5 November 2010

Without doubt bridge needs to develop if it is to become a more challenging, demanding and exciting game, and what I am proposing here might well be the answer.
Rules for ultimate bridge :
  1. Each board will indicate which player from each direction is nominated to make his/her side's one and only bid.
  2. North/ south will first look at their own hand, before looking at their partner's ( east/west doing likewise ) within the permitted 2 minute time period.
  3. The nominated bidders must then place face down on the table their chosen bid, before the two bidding cards are turned over simultaneously.
  4. The side that wins the auction with the highest bid must then play in that designated contract.
  5. However, the nominated player of the defending side must now nominate which of them is to make the opening lead, meaning that it is the player in the 4th seat who gets to be declarer.
  6. In the rare event that both sides bid the same contract, the cards are returned to the board as " not played " , which results in a pass-out score.
  7. Defenders are not obliged to reveal their signalling methods.

The beauty therefore about ultimate bridge is that there is no need whatsoever for system cards and/or convoluted bidding sequences. Bidding conventions are redundant. Moreover, it is the primary function of the nominated bidders to assess what bid to volunteer, given their recall of the 26 cards previously on view. The gambling element is also present if, say, the side with little in the way of high card points, clearly aware that a small slam in no trumps is on for the opponents, take the dangerous step of bidding that contract for themselves...... hoping of course for a " scrubbed " board. Because if they win the auction, the inevitable double will be very costly indeed. The nominated player for the defence is now well placed with his knowledge of the two hands to seize the initiative, chosing where the opening lead is to come from, and both defenders might well know when and where to switch in order to mazimise their trick potential. Accurate recall of key cards, shape and distribution is of paramount importance.

  • Once the opening lead has been made, the onus immediately switches to the other defender to use this one and only opportunity to double the contract for penalties.
  • If the contract has been doubled at trick one, then declarer has the option at any time during the play to redouble, if fortune looks to be turning back in his/her favour.

Players who decide to take on ultimate bridge will need to assimulate more information in less time. Bidding needs to be done with pin point accuracy, taking into account the defenders greatly improved knowledge of their combined assets and strengths. Sacrifice bidding might well be a tactic regularly employed, but the risks are that much greater with regards to confident doubles, and the likelihood of accurate and sharp defence.

This is bridge at the cutting edge, requiring players to develop their memory and analytical skills to even higher levels. Speed of thought is essential along with real tactcal nous.

This is Bigot-Johnson's Brave New Bizarre World of Bridge. So please give it a try and publish your comments, adding any refinements and/or changes where appropriate.

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