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Bingo Bridge

by Phil Hatton, Maidstone, England, UK


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Very interesting to see your "fun night" challenges. We too at the clubs in Maidstone have one of these nights each Christmas. Many people though are a bit fed up of playing the same old "fun" boards, there are some favourites though such as Dealer must bid 1NT, LHO must Double the 1NT partner must re-double, from there anything goes.

I was asked last year to come up with something different, which I did and it went rather well, I wondered if this should be advertised on the Web? The idea is Bingo Bridge.

I made up 40 sets of unique Bingo Cards containing 4 seperate cards, but instead of numbers they were contracts. Each player had a sheet with the set of 4 cards. If you managed to bid a contract on a card and made it then you can cross this off, failing to make the contract means your oponents can mark it it off their card (if they have it of course). Prizes for the first line, 2 lines and full-house of course.

The entertaining part is that as every card is unique, you do not tell even your partner what contract you need! So, if you have succesfully marked off 3NT for example and partner bids the next hand to this contract, you simply try and bid 4 of a suit you have not marked off as long as you have a chance. Of course, partner might have this, so they bid something they have not got. It gets to be fun! A sample card is below. Have you ever tried to actually play a 1 level contract that is not 1NT or ever persuaded a partner that 4NT is to play. Owing to the time constraint 6 and 7 level contract all count the same, though I am going to modify these for next year to have more "normal" contracts. The tactics of bidding wildly do not work, you give too much to the opponents.

Anyway, the rules I wrote for the game are below, but I intend making a few changes to it for the next time.





Welcome to the Maidstone Bridge Club Bingo night. For a change this year, something a little bit different, Bridge played as Bingo!

Each player has a sheet containing 4 separate bingo cards, each sheet is unique, each Card is unique.

The idea is that if you play in a successful contract then you can mark this contract off on each card containing it. (Note, some cards do have the same contract twice). If you are unsuccessful in your contract, then you cannot mark this off, but the opponents can! A successful contract is one that makes with or without overtricks, an unsuccessful has at least one undertrick. The quantity of undertricks or overtricks is not relevant. Do not show your card to your partner or opponents!

Note, if you play in a contract successfully and have already marked that contract off on your card then there is nothing you can do! Try and play in a contract you have not marked off!

There is no concept of vulnerability.

Contracts used on the cards are all 1 to 5 bids. Each card has in the right hand (purple) column one 7 contract, one 6 contract and one 5 level contract. The 5 level contract is specified, i.e., clubs, diamonds etc., you may mark off the 6 or 7 from any contract at that respective level.

Doubling has no effect on the Bingo sheet, it is recommended that the use of Double is limited to take-out if bid at the first opportunity, a Double at any other time is simply to tell partner this is probably going off, i.e., you have values. Do not try and complicate this!

The only conventions allowed are STAYMAN over 1 and 2 NT and BLACKWOOD. An opening 1 NT is weak (12-14 balanced), a response at the 2 level is weak, the 3 level strong. You may open a strong 2 or a weak 3, or a not so weak 4. Lead styles are 4th highest against NT, the lead of an Ace would indicate you have the King and so on. Thou shalt not play in the opponents suit!

Whilst you are playing with a partner you are trying to mark off particular contracts on your own card. Partner may well want to play in 4 Hearts, but if you do not have this contract on one or more of your cards (or have already marked it off) then you should outbid partner to play in a contract you need, such as 5 Hearts perhaps.

It will be difficult to play in a 1 level contract naturally, therefore it is suggested that if opponents bid at the one level and you need this on your card, then pass and hope to get them off! 1 Club from partner, you hold a 24 count, just pass!

Playing in 4NT will be difficult to bid as well, it is suggested that any sequence such as 1 of a suit, Stop 3NT, then 4NT by you is to play, so you can mark it off your card, of course, if partner has already marked this off then I think partner may well bid again!

It is not recommended that you outbid yourself in an effort to mark a contract off, as this will simply give the opponents that particular contract on their card, especially if trying a somewhat adventurous slam.

There will be prizes for the first line (horizontal, vertical or diagonal), the first four corners, the first person with 2 lines and of course a full house.

In order to have some other prize winners, complete a normal scoresheet as well so your normal contract scores can count, prizes for the highest, lowest, nearest zero etc.



Example Bingo Cards

To look at example bingo cards, download the Bingo Excel file. To do this, right-click on the link below, and then click on "Save Link As" or "Save Target As". Once you have downloaded it, unzip it and then look at it in Excel.

WinZip If you do not have a facility to unzip documents then you should download an evaluation copy of WinZip which is available at the WinZip site


Download Bingo Excel file

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