Wednesday, 3 August 2016


If you are playing contract bridge you will find that in 50% of the hands your partnership is vulnerable.  This isn't a reflection on your skill as a player, it is a bridge convention.

Tell Me About Duplicate Bridge Vulnerability?

Vulnerability is a convention that affects the scoring at the end of each game.  When a partnership is vulnerable there are positive and/or negative effects on the score.  If you bid for and make your contract, then the bonus you receive increases.  You also receive a greater bonus for bidding and making a small slam or  grand slam.

If you fail to make your contract when  your partnership is vulnerable then the penalty for losing increases.

Conversely a pair will lose extra points if they fail to make a contract when vulnerable.

In duplicate bridge, which partnership(s) is vulnerable is predetermined by the director when the boards are dealt.  The vulnerability will rotate and there are four combinations.

Both sides can be vulnerable.  Neither side can be vulnerable. E/W can be vulnerable.  N/S can be vulnerable.

Bridge vulnerability
Rotating vulnerability in contract bridge
Here is an example of how vulnerability may rotate around the 16 boards usually dealt at a contract bridge club. (This picture is courtesy of Leigh Harding who runs No Fear Bridge)

Whether or not you are vulnerable may affect how you bid.  Mostly the bidding will proceed as normal, especially in an uncontested auction, but there may be situations when you think twice about your bid.

For example: Be mindful that if you fail to achieve your contract when vulnerable the other partnership will gain extra point.

Remember that the other side will gain extra points if they are vulnerable.  There may be situations where you feel  you should outbid them when otherwise you wouldn't if you believe that the your penalty for losing would be less than their bonus if they won the contract whilst vulnerable.

If you'd like to learn more about vulnerability and how it effects scoring, head over to No Fear Bridge.  The vulnerability handout is in the membership area and you can join for a two week free trial  (There is no obligation and no forced continuity. No credit card or other financial details are required unless you decide to become a full member.  You can also read how being vulnerable might affect your bidding strategy.

Potential UK/Ireland/NZ members can sigh up  HERE
Potential US and Rest of the World members sign up HERE

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