Play of a Hand of Bridge
The course of play for a Bridge hand is a total of 13 tricks. The 13 tricks are broken up into 13 rounds where one card is played from each of the four hands.
The highest value cards in Bridge are the aces followed by kings, queens, jacks, tens, nines, eights, sevens, sixes, fives, fours, threes and lastly the lowly twos.
During each of the thirteen tricks, the first card played is known as the lead and each player plays one card in turn clockwise from the lead.
The lead may be any card in the player's hand but all other players must follow playing the same suit as the lead. If a player does not have any more cards from that suit the player may choose any other card in his or her hand.
The winner of the trick is the player who played the highest card from the suit of the card played by the lead. The exception is when a trump card or cards are played in which case the highest trump wins the trick.
The player who takes the trick is then responsible for the next lead on the following round. Play continues until all thirteen tricks have been played.
The Opening Lead is the first lead of the game and it is always made by the player to the left of the declarer. The defender to the left of the declarer plays the Opening Lead and then play pauses while the dummy hand is laid out.
The dummy hand is always the hand of the partner of the declarer and the declarer is responsible for playing the dummy hand in turn. The dummy hand is placed in four columns by suit and organized by rank and then the dummy player is supposed to refrain from any form of communication with the declarer.
The Opening Lead is always an important moment in the play of a Bridge hand because it has a great impact on the game. The difference between a correct Opening Lead over a poorer choice often means the difference between winning and losing the hand, the match or when played at the highest level a championship.
The play of the Bridge hand continues until all thirteen tricks are taken. The player who took the previous trick always leads on the next trick.
At the conclusion of the hand playing the score is calculated and compared to the contract to see if the team fulfilled the terms of the contract or not.