• Rabbi Jeff Glickman

Playing Bridge With Family


The goal isn’t to score the most points. The goal is to have an enjoyable time working cooperatively in a challenge. Conversations arise from the casual contact. Interesting situations come up which tickle your brain.

It is not a time to prove your prowess. People aren’t signed up for a class – they are here to play and to be together.

It is not a time to get back at your opponents – or your sister for that time she really embarrassed you. It is a time to build trust and friendships.

The way to win is to enjoy the interaction.

Qualities of a winner:

  1. Complement your partner and your opponents on well played hands.

  2. Focus on the people on the table and task at hand – not checking a cell phone or the television.

  3. People want to play again.

The surest way to lose at Family Bridge is to criticize your opponent. This is not an educational seminar on the finer points of bridge. It is an opportunity to make family memories.

There is probably a player whose abilities aren’t what they used to be. It can be a treasured moment playing with them. Set them up for success by keeping the bidding low.

When playing family bridge, try to arrive at contracts which can be made. It might be shrewd to make nuisance bids – knowing that you will go down, but the penalty won’t be as much as if your opponents made the contract. This environment doesn’t value shrewdness, it values wisdom, listening, support and company.

Today, families can be spread out. Times of sitting around and having casual conversation can be few. Bridge is a great activity for this.

Family Bridge Bidding Guidelines

If you have 13 or more high card points, open.

Open with either a 5+ card major suit or your best minor. If you have 16 to 18 points, and no five card major, open 1 Notrump. If you have an outstanding hand – approaching 20 points – open two of your best suit.

If you have seven or more of a suit, opening or jumping to 3 of that suit pretty much stops the bidding.

The ideal contracts are one or two of a suit, three Notrump or 4 of a major.

If you and partner both have opening hands, and stoppers in all four suits, 3 Notrump is for you. You can be happy – even if you make 12 tricks.

The secret to happiness is underbidding.

This gives weaker players a feeling of success.

Tips for playing:

When both players understand each other, they can work in better partnership.

Here are some tips for defense:

  1. Lead something you would want lead back to you.

  2. Return what your partner has led.

Here are some tips for declarer:

  1. Figure out which tricks you will make, which you will lose, and what your strategy will be before you play anything.

  2. If you are not playing trump, you are playing with fire.

  3. After trump worries are removed, from the top down, play the next longest suit thoroughly..