Auction bridge

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Auction Bridge
Origin England
Type Trick-taking
Players 3-4
Skills required Tactics and Strategy
Cards 52-card
Deck Anglo-American
Play Clockwise
Card rank (highest to lowest) A K Q J 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2
Playing time 25 min.
Random chance Low to Moderate
Related games
Whist, Contract Bridge

The card game auction bridge, the third step in the evolution of the general game of bridge,[1] was developed from straight bridge (i.e. bridge whist) in 1904. The precursor to contract bridge,[2] its predecessors were whist and bridge whist.

The main difference between auction bridge and contract bridge is that in auction bridge a game is scored whenever the required number of tricks (nine in Notrump, ten in Hearts or Spades, eleven in Clubs or Diamonds) is scored, and in contract bridge the number of points from tricks taken past the bid do not count towards making a game. Because of this, accurate bidding becomes much more important in contract bridge: partners have to use the bidding to tell each other what their suits and strengths are, so a judgement can be made as to what the chances are of making a game.


It is not certain to whom auction bridge should be credited. A letter in The Times (London), January 16, 1905, signed by Oswald Crawford, describes auction bridge as first played in 1904, while a book by "John Doe" (F. Roe), published in Alláhábád, India, in 1889, puts forward auction bridge as an invention of three members of the Indian Civil Service stationed at an isolated community, designed a three-handed form of bridge to compensate the lack of a fourth player. Their key contribution was the concept of competitive bidding for the declaration.[3]


The bidding, play and laws are the same as contract bridge.


Auction bridge is scored according to the following rules.[4]

  • Odd-tricks score the following point values:
    • Notrumps: 10 points
    • Spades: 9 points
    • Hearts: 8 points
    • Diamonds: 7 points
    • Clubs: 6 points
  • Game is 30 points, and only odd-tricks count towards game. The first side to win two games wins the rubber and scores a 250-point bonus.
  • Each under-trick is worth 50 points to the opponents.
  • Small slam is worth 50 points; grand slam is worth 100 points.
  • Honours are scored as follows:
    • Four trump honours in one hand: 80
    • Five trump honours (or four aces in notrump) in one hand: 100
    • For an additional honour in partner's hand, or for three or more honours divided between both hands: 10 each
  • Contracts could be doubled and redoubled, which doubled or quadrupled the odd-trick and under-trick amounts. In addition there was a bonus of 50 points for making a doubled contract and for each over-trick, this was doubled if the contract was redoubled.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Manley, Brent, Editor; Horton, Mark, Co-Editor; Greenberg-Yarbro, Tracey, Co-Editor; Rigal, Barry, Co-Editor (2011). The Official Encyclopedia of Bridge (7th ed.). Horn Lake, MS: American Contract Bridge League. p. 8. ISBN 978-0-939460-99-1. 
  2. ^ Albert H. Morehead, Richard L. Frey, Geoffrey Mott-Smith The New Complete Hoyle pg. 118 Doubleday Garden City Books (1956) Garden City, New York
  3. ^ Richard A. Epstein The theory of gambling and statistical logic pg. 271 Academic Press, rev. ed. (1994) ISBN 0-12-240761-X
  4. ^ Official Rules of Card Games, 1973

External links[edit]

  1. ^