Bridge Scoring Explained (because, you oughta know)

Author: Larry Cohen
Date of publish: 07/14/2018
Level: Beginner to Intermediate

Before the advent of computers in bridge, it was more common to learn/understand bridge scoring. Now with so much online bridge (or only online bridge during a pandemic) even fewer people learn it. 

As a result, this topic is often glossed over as newbies learn the game.  The computer (or "Bridgemates") do all the work.

However, a basic understanding of scoring is important to the strategy of bidding.

Sure, most readers of this article know that there is a bonus for game or slam. But, understanding how much successful contracts pay, and equally important, how much failing contracts cost, is crucial.

Especially at Matchpoints/Duplicate, it is a big deal to be -100 if everyone else with your cards is -110. It is a big deal to be +140 if everyone else with your cards is +120 or +100. It is a top board if you are -300 and everyone else your way is -420.

The vulnerability plays a huge part in all of this. Almost all strategy decisions (when both sides are in the auction) need to be based on who is vulnerable (RED).

I know this isn't the most exciting topic, but it is worth learning the basics.

Let's break the scoring down into 3 mini-lessons for your study.

1) Penalty for being defeated (undoubled)

2) Score for making contracts (undoubled)

3) Doubled and redoubled contracts

Explanation of scoring and types Matchpoints/IMPS  Pairs/Teams (From ACBL Bulletin, April/2020)

Updated: April, 2021