Chicago Bridge



NUMBER OF CARDS: standard 52 card deck

RANK OF CARDS:  A (high), K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2

RANK OF SUITS: Spades (High), Hearts, Diamonds, Clubs.

TYPE OF GAME: Trick-Taking

AUDIENCE: Teen and Adult


Chicago Bridge is a variant of Contract Bridge and is also known as Four Deal Bridge. And, as he name suggests, there are four total deals in the game. This is quite different from how bridge variant Rubber Bridge is played, for example, in which the rubber has infinite length.

This variation of Bridge is much more predictable than other versions of the game which may have contributed to it’s success in American bridge clubs where Rubber Bridge previously reigned.

Most simply, Chicago Bridge is a version of Bridge which is played strictly with four people.


Bridge is a card game consisting of 4 players with 2 opposing pairs. Each player is referred to by a cardinal point of the compass – North, East, South and West. North and South are teammates as are East and West. Teammates sit opposite each other at the table. Each player is dealt 13 cards from a deck of 52 cards, dealt in a clockwise rotation, where the hand starts to the left of the dealer, making the deal equal. Players should sort their cards by suit; spades (highest), hearts, diamonds and clubs (lowest) and rank; A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2. Please note, in terms of suits, the ranking is present in bidding only, where in play all of the suits are equal.


The aim of the game, and method to win, is by making winning tricks. Each player is required to play a card, where the highest card, taking into account suit and rank, wins the trick. As each player has 13 cards, there are 13 tricks to be won in each deal. Players must follow the same suit in play as the ‘lead’ (person who plays first) has played. So, if the lead has placed a heart, and your hand contains hearts, you must place one down. If, however, you don’t have any hearts, you may play any other suit.

Another method to winning tricks is to win with a trump suit, so when you have no cards remaining in the suit that’s played, you may play the trump and win the trick. The trump suit ‘trumps’ all of the other suits, meaning it cannot be outranked. For example, if clubs are the trumps, three players place down a heart, and one places a club, the one who places a club has one the trick. If multiple players play a trump, the winning trick is determined by the player with the highest rank.

A game of bridge is won by the first team/pair to reach a score of 100 or more points for successful contracts. Generally, the score is kept on a piece of paper which is split into two columns titled ‘WE’ and ‘THEY’, with a horizontal line placed halfway down the page. Successful contract scores are written below the line and totaled towards winning the game, whereas trick bonuses (overtricks) or penalties (undertricks) are written above the line and don’t count towards the total score. 


The Dealer must start the bidding, opting to bid or pass. A bid is made up of 2 parts, the number of tricks you think you’ll make and the trump suit you’d do it in. For instance, 2 Spades means I will make 8 tricks with Spades as trumps (the first 6 tricks are taken for granted in the bid, so a bid of 2 mean 6+2 = 8.) whereas a bid of 4 Hearts means you think you’ll make 10 (6+4) tricks with Hearts as trumps. Finally, 3 No Trumps means you’ll make 9 (6+3) tricks with no trump suit at all. Once the dealer has bid or passed, the person to his/her left can then bid or pass and so on. Every player at the table is entitled to bid in turn until a bid is followed by 3 passes; the hand will then be played in the last-mentioned suit, or NoTrumps, this is called the contract.

The two pairs at the table will compete to determine the contract. The highest bidder will get the contract e.g. player one bids 2 spades, player two bids 3 hearts, player three bids 4 spades, and there are then 3 passes. Player three gets the contract with the highest bid (4 spades). The final bid locks the partnership into winning a particular number of tricks. For example, 4 spades is equal to 10 tricks (out of 13) where spades is the trump card.


Hand 1: The dealer is North, no vulnerable side

Hand 2: Dealer is East, N-S is vulnerable

Hand 3: Dealer is South, E-W is vulnerable

Hand 4: Dealer is West, both sides are vulnerable

If all four of the players pass, the cards are re-shuffled and the hand is redealt by the same dealer. The bonuses are 500 when vulnerable and 300 when not. Scores are carried on to subsequent deals until one team wins.

Nakoa Davis

2 thoughts on “Chicago Bridge”

    • Hi Phyllis, Chicago Bridge is meant to be played with four players forming 2 teams of two. There would not be an easy way to convert this to a 5 player game unfortunately.

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