High-level Competitive Bidding

It is very exciting when both sides bid to game level or beyond - and also somewhat daunting. One poor judgment can see a "top" disappear into an embarrassment, sometimes too embarrassing even for a "one that got away" story later. However there are a few tools that can help improve the good to bad story ratio.

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What suit to lead?

In the game of Duplicate Bridge the defence's leads, particularly the opening lead of a hand, are often critical. Here we explore some guidelines as to what suit to lead. Separately we explore the more straight-forward question: the choice of card once the suit has been chosen - see What card to lead.

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Basic Defender Communication in Play


  • Defender communication helps you avoid embarrassment by knowing what to lead and what not to throw away
  • Worth the learning - you defend about 50% of the time
  • Much more satisfying (and legal) than relying on sighs and facial expressions

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What card to lead?

In the game of Duplicate Bridge the defence's first lead of a suit, particularly the opening lead of a hand, is often critical. Below we explore some guidelines that help the defence maximise their chances and avoid the worst mistakes. You can try this quiz before or after you read below.

Read more: What card to lead?

Bridge Services and Resources

Austega's David Farmer offers a range duplicate bridge related services in Sydney's north east, including:

  • beachbridge1Teaching beginner and/or improver players in groups or on a private basis (generally using the Standard American bidding system common to Australia)
  • Directing bridge tournaments (including teams and Swiss Pairs) or regular club sessions (David has C2 "congress" accreditation and is experienced with Bridgepads and Bridgemate devices)
  • Advising or assisting with club management issues such as bridge technology, masterpoints, marketing etc 

Austega has also made available a small number of bridge learning resources on this site:

Card play tips

This article covers a range of important tips on card play in Bridge. Initially it relied heavily on Card Play Technique by Victor Mollo and Nico Gardener. I recommend this book for any aspiring bridge player even though it was first published in 1955, and some of its jargon is a little dated. In time I expect this page will evolve to be less reliant on this first source.

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