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Why you should learn to score

Let's say that the opposition could make a contract of 2♠ on a particular hand. The score for that is 110, just trust me on that. Now, suppose instead of letting them play in their 2♠ contract, you bid on to 3 but, unfortunately, go down by 1 trick and we'll say this time you lose 50 points. Trust me again on the 50.

Is it better to give the opposition 110 points for letting them make their 2♠ contract or give them 50 points by going down 1 in your 3 contract? It's not a trick question. It's better to go down and give them 50 although it wouldn't have been so good if you'd been down by 3 tricks because that would cost you 150 points.

Deliberately bidding to a contract that goes down in order to rob the opposition of their contract is called a sacrifice. It's a hugely important part of the game and it's all quite sporting. It's an accepted tactic, so you don't have to feel bad about doing it. Actually, it's fun trying to work out whether or not it's worth sacrificing on a hand. But you'll need to know how to score.


On every hand you're either vulnerable or not vulnerable. Being vulnerable makes the scores bigger - you get extra points if you make a high level contract but you'll lose more points anytime you go down.

Vulnerability is dictated by the hand number and the same system is used worldwide. Hand 1, for example, has nil vulnerability in every bridge game.

Making Contracts

The score for making a contract in bridge is made up of two parts:
  • points for tricks won after the first 6 tricks
  • bonus depending bid depending on whether you are in a partscore, game or slam

'Partscores' are low level contracts. The bonus for making a contract is also low.

The 'game' bonus is much higher than the partscore bonus. Much higher. But you'll need to bid higher to get that bonus. In notrumps you need to bid 3NT or higher. For hearts and spades you need to bid to the 4 level, 4 or 4♠. For clubs and diamonds it's the 5 level, 5♣ or 5

what is a game in bridge

6-level contracts are called 'slams' and 7-level contracts are called 'grand slams'. Slams and grand slams score the game bonus plus the relevant slam bonus.

Trick Points ( after the first 6 tricks ) scoring trick points in bridge Bonus Points scoring bonus points in bridge

Defeated Contracts

For defeated contracts it doesn't matter how high you bid, you simply lose points for every trick you're short by. 7NT down 1 scores the same as 1♣ down 1.

Defeated Contracts scoring in bridge defeated contracts

Doubled Contracts

Making any doubled or redoubled contract wins your side extra points. Going down in any doubled or redoubled contract means you lose more points.


When you're looking at the scores at the end of a hand played at Sky Bridge Club you'll see a 'following' section. Players you are following will show up in that list. Watch this short video to see how to manage your following list:

Featured Players

The featured players are those who have been doing consistently well. Checking the featured players scores helps you to know if your strategy is in line with a winning one.

Looking at the results of featured players is more helpful than looking at the top scores for all players because there's often a little luck in achieving those tops! If the long term winning players are playing a certain way then we're wise to adopt their style of play.

It’s not about individual players, in fact that would be a distraction, so we will not be publishing the names of the featured players, and instead we’ll let our algorithm figure out who they are.

Related Lessons

How to play bridge - Learn how to play bridge with this short lesson and then play your first hand.
Bridge Scorer - An easy way to calculate the scores in bridge.

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