Sacrifice bids

A sacrifice bid is made knowing that the contract will probably fail yet the points lost by playing the hand, even doubled, will be fewer than the points lost by letting the opponents make their contract.

Going light can be a good result

Bidding to a contract in bridge that you know won’t make doesn’t seem sensible at first glance, but it’s a common, legitimate and effective tactic.

Sometimes the opposition get all the points and you have to accept that you will lose points on a hand. However, on some hands you can minimize your losses by playing the hand rather than defending.

Suppose the opposition can make 4 and that they are vulnerable. They will score 620 for game in a major suit.

Now suppose instead of letting the opponents play in 4, you bid 4. We’ll also say that you are vulnerable and that you get doubled.

One down, doubled and vulnerable is 200 points. That’s cheaper than the 620 you would have lost defending 4. Even two down would be a good sacrifice at 500 points.


Three down, doubled and vulnerable is 800 points. Too many! How can you tell when to sacrifice?

If your side has a good trump fit, then a sacrifice might work. The bigger the trump fit, the more you can safely bid, even without points. The hand above had only nine trumps which is not enough to bid at the 4-level without the requisite high card points.

Moreover, you were vulnerable and that is the time to be careful. It’s great if you are not vulnerable and your opponents are vulnerable. 3 down not vulnerable is 500, which is a good sacrifice if your opponents were likely to make 620.

But remember, you won’t necessarily make your contract. You’re just trying to minimize your losses.

1 Comment

  1. Profile photo of collar collar says:

    Thanks for that. Are there any practice hands ..

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    22 cat10 68
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    32 BobSky 64
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    33 craigbr 63
    33 rosepetal14 63
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    33 Spanner 63
    33 cinnamon 63
    33 lizzy 63
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    42 vicwaitt 62
    42 chalker546 62
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    42 beahessick 62
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    46 Taranaki2 61
    46 Tukurua 61
    46 newcastlewe 61
    46 vemsley 61
    46 jeffrey 61
    46 Sallyb 61
    46 jeffreyt 61
    46 GeorgMilos 61
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    46 sbc28900929 61
    46 JOHNkib 61
    46 bruce1 61
    46 sbc4453983 61
    46 Cape 61
    61 sbc7083662 60
    61 sbc9191490 60
    61 bevkaron 60
    61 donmather 60
    61 Mogsie 60
    61 sbc13928533 60
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    61 Rosie196 60
    61 Barbot 60
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    72 sbc12542868 59
    72 Mickey 59
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    83 sbc3122486 58
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    29 JackieSohn 15977
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    32 stecho 15814
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    34 Tentacoli 15573
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    36 Francees 15420
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