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The A-Z Glossary of Bridge terms

There is also a shorter glossary for beginners

AcolA bridge bidding system that is widely used in the UK, Australia, Canada, and various other commonwealth countries, certain European countries and other parts of the world. It is rarely used in the USA, where a similar but different system is used. The Acol system is continually evolving, but the underlying principle is to keep the bidding as natural as possible. For many people, this is one of its major attractions. Many aspects of the system are very similar to Standard American Yellow Card, SAYC; the most obvious differences are (i) the use of the opening weak 1NT, and (ii) being able to open the bidding in a 4-card Major suit.
0314, or 3014Memory aid for the response structure in the Roman Key Card Blackwood convention. It represents "3 or 0" and "1 or 4", meaning that the lowest response (5♣) to the 4NT key card asking bid shows that responder has three or zero keycards, and the next step (5♦) shows one or four of the 5 possible keycards.
1430Memory aid for the response structure in the Roman Key Card Blackwood convention. It represents "1 or 4" and "3 or 0", meaning that the lowest response (5♣) to the 4NT key card asking bid shows that responder has one or four keycards, and the next step (5♦) shows three or zero of the 5 possible keycards.
8-card fitA total of 8 or more cards in a given suit, between you and your partner. You'll hope to find one of these "fits" during the auction, and will often choose them as "trumps". If you're very lucky you might have a double 8-card fit.
advancerThe partner of the overcaller
advance sacrificeA sacrifice bid made before the opponents have had an opportunity to determine their optimum contract. For example: 1♦ - (1♠) - Dbl - (5♠).
attacking leadA lead that initiates an active defence; for example, the lead of an honour from a sequence, or a forcing defence.
attitudeA defender's desire (or lack of) for his side to continue playing a suit. By means of signals, defender encourages or discourages the continuation of the suit.
auctionThe stage in bridge when the players bid for a contract, the highest bid securing the contract and winning the auction.
balancedCrudely: no suit or pair of suits dominates your hand, therefore it often makes sense to play in No Trumps (NT). Specifically, balanced means: (1) no more than one 5-card suit (2) no singletons or voids, (3) maximum of one doubleton.

All players allow 5-card minor suits club, diamond, because a long minor suit can be very useful in NT. So, my advice: If you're playing "weak no trump", then with 12-14 HCP’s and a 5-card minor always open 1 NT, provided you satisfy the other conditions, of course.

On the other hand if you have a 5-card Major suit which is strong enough to be rebid without having the expected 6 cards, then it's probably best to bid a suit rather than NT. See "unbalanced".

Finally, if you want to play in NT, it's wise to add a condition: stoppers in at least 3 suits.
barrierThe 'barrier' imposes a kind of limit to the acceptable re-bidding level for weaker hands. If the opener's rebid exceeds the 'barrier', he promises his partner a stronger hand. The barrier is always defined very simply: it's one bid level higher, in the same suit as the opener's first bid. For example, an opening bid of 1 diamond sets the barrier of 2 diamonds: thus in this 1 diamond opening case, a rebid of 1 spade does NOT go through the opener's barrier, but a rebid of 2 Hearts DOES go through the opener's barrier. It's often connected to "reverse" bidding.
bidWhen a player announces how many tricks he believes his partnership can make in a particular denomination and in a certain quantity (e.g. a bid of 2 Diamonds, when player believes that 8 tricks can be made. It's "2" because 2 + 6 = 8).
bid and madeWhen you successfully make the number of tricks that you contracted to bid in the auction. You can look smug, and add some points to your score sheet.
biddingWhen a player announces how many tricks he believes his partnership can make in a particular denomination and in a certain quantity (e.g. a bid of 2 Diamonds, when player believes that 8 tricks can be made. It's "2" because 2 + 6 = 8).
bidding systemIndex of bid techniques
BlackwoodA convention which is used to find out how many Aces and Kinds your partner holds, with a view to bidding for a Slam.
boardThe table, where dummy's cards are laid down. If the lead is "from the board" or "from the table", it means that dummy won the last trick, and the lead must now come from dummy.
breakWhat you take when you are dummy.
cashTo make certain winners with high cards., e.g. "Cash the King of Clubs" means play the King of Clubs and win the trick with it.
ChicagoA variant of rubber bridge whereby a rubber consists of four deals with vulnerability predetermined for each deal. Chicago Scoring changes the emphasis of the game somewhat, with a greater premium on pushing the bidding within a single contract up to game. There are no rubber bonuses: instead there are bonus points for reaching game within a single contract (300, or 500 if vulnerable), and for a part score (50). All points are written down together, there being no distinction between above and below the line.
claimIf declarer reaches a stage in the play when he believes he will win all the tricks, whatever the opposition play, he can lay down his cards for all to see and check, and claim victory. He can also claim 4 out of 5 remaining for example.
concessionWhen your partner, often married to you, agrees to (or with) something you suggested or said. Sometimes called a Major concession.
contractWhen the bidding stops (after 3 players in succession have passed), the highest bid is the contract which must now be played.
controlA control card is an Ace, because you can take control of matters if that suit is led. In a suit contract, you can also control a suit with a void, because if the enemy lead that suit you can use a trump to win the trick. A second round control card is a King, assuming that it is not a singleton - it can be used to gain control of the suit after the first round during which the Ace controls the suit. In a similar vein, a singleton can act as a second round control in a suit contract.
conventionA well documented way of bidding that is not natural, but where the implicit meaning of the bids is understood. An example is Stayman.
correcttypically, to choose partner's first bid suit. In the typical case it's equivalent to a "preference".
cross-ruffWhen Declarer has a short suit in hand, suit A, and a second different short suit in dummy, suit B, he can lead one suit from the long hand, and trump it the other. The lead having passed to the other hand, he can now lead the other suit. See also "Ruff".
cue bidBidding a side suit to show that the bidder has either first or second round control in that suit. A first round control would be an Ace or a void. Second round would be a singleton or a protected King. See "control".
cutBefore dealing, the Deck of cards is placed face down and cut in two, and the lower portion placed on top. It's a way of ensuring that the dealer doesn't cheat!
dealWhen 52 cards have been dealt out to the players, the exact configuration of the cards is known as a Deal.
deckThe pack of 52 cards that you play with. You generally play with two decks, to speed things up. While one person is dealing, the person opposite can be shuffling for the next round. By convention, the shuffler places the cards on his or her right when he's finished. It makes is easier to remember who's the dealer next time.
declarerWhen the bidding stops, the player who first mentioned the contracted suit or denomination is the Declarer. He must now play both his own hand and Dummy's hand.
defenderThe two players who did not win the auction are the defenders.
denominationThe suit (or no-trump) identified in the contract.
discardWhen a player cannot follow suit, he must select a card from another suit, known as a discard.
distribution pointsDistribution Points. For shortage: 5 for a void, 3 for a singleton, 1 for a doubleton. Points for shortage are not counted until trumps have been agreed, and obviously not at all for No Trumps. For length: 1 for a 5-card suit, 2 for a 6-card suit (can be counted before suit agreement).
doubleLiterally, when you bid "Doubled", it means that if your opponents don't make the contract just bid, then you will get approximately double the number of "penalty" bonus points, and that if they DO make the contract, then the number of tricks they are credited with (and some related points) is also doubled. So it's worth thinking carefully before doubling a contract such as 2 or 3 Hearts, since you might double your opponents into a "game" score which they would not otherwise have made. Bridge bidding has evolved so that sometimes "doubled" has quite a different meaning, especially in the earlier rounds of bidding. An example is "doubled for takeout", which is a cunning way of showing strength, and in more than one suit.
doubletonWhen your hand contains only two cards from the suit in question.
droppable honourDroppable Honours' count as losers (i.e. singleton King, or doubleton Queen)
drawing trumpsDeclarer often (but not always) leads trumps as soon as he can. Since the opponents have fewer trumps than the Declarer and dummy, at least we hope so, the danger of an unpleasant and sometimes unexpected ruff from the opponents can be eliminated, simply by leading trumps until the opponents have none left. If the trumps are evenly split between the LHO and RHO, then this won't take too long. So that Declarer still has plenty left. But if the opponents split is uneven, it could be that drawing trumps may not be the best tactic. Also, if dummy has shortages in one of the suits that is not trumps, it might be best to use dummy's trumps for ruffing this suit before the trumps are all used up.
dummyThe hand opposite the declarer is known as dummy. (No, the hand, not the person). After the first card is played by Declarer's Left Hand Opponent (LHO), all dummy's cards are laid down for all to see, and for Declarer to play. For the rest of this hand, dummy does something useful, like pour the drinks. It's not generally considered a "good thing" for dummy to offer unrequested advice to his partner.
duplicate bridgeA cunning method of taking chance almost entirely out of the game. Several tables, minimum 2, all play the same cards. The Chicago scoring system is used. When all the deals have been played, each partnership's scores are added up, resulting in one North-South champion who has played the N-S hands better than all other N-S partnerships in the room, and likewise one East-West champion partnership.
endplayAs soon as you have got rid of the enemy's high cards in a suit where you have a lot of cards, the suit is "established". You can then win every trick in that suit, no matter how small the cards are. This is a particularly important aspect of playing in No Trumps, but can be useful in a trump contract too when the enemy's trumps have been cleared out.
establishA play which forces a particular opponent to win a trick, so that the opponent must then make a favourable lead. That player is said to be "endplayed". Normally, the player who is endplayed is a defender. Although the word implies that the play occurs toward the end of a hand, it often occurs earlier, and in exceptional cases the opening leader can be said to be "endplayed at Trick One."
exploratory bidA bid, typically early in the bidding, which does not precisely define the bidder's strength, or the limit of the number of tricks he believes can be made, but rather gives general information about the shape / distribution / quality of the hand
false-cardA card played deliberately to mislead other players regarding the content of the player's hand. Perfectly legal. Remember you can also mislead your partner, which may not be a good idea.
finesseIf Declarer lacks the King for example, and the AQ are both in the dummy, then unless Declarer plays a finesse, he will generally lose a trick to that King. However, Declarer has a 50% chance of beating the King with the Ace, and letting the Queen become a master-card by playing a finesse. Leading a small card from hand, and seeing another small card from LHO, he then plays the Queen. Seeing the King from LHO he plays the Ace. 50% of the time the King will held by LHO, and the trick will be won by declarer. If it's held by RHO, the only chance of beating it is if it's a singleton.
first round controlA first round control would be an Ace or a void. In a suit auction, it means that the player cannot lose the first round in this suit (provided he has some trumps)
fitA fit means that you have found a suit where you have 8-cards between you. If your partner's opening bid promises 4-cards, and you have 4-cards in the same suit, then you have a fit. This is most useful when you have a fit in a Major suit (heart or spade)
follow suitWhen it's your turn to play, you must select a card from the same suit as the first card played in this trick, assuming you have one.
forcingAny bid which obliges your partner to bid again. It could be forcing for one round. Or it could be forcing to Game, meaning that the bidding must not stop before it reaches either 3NT, 4 in a Major suit, of potentially 5 in a minor! There are even Slam forcing bids.
forcing to gameSee Forcing.
fourth suit forcingWhen no suit can be bid, a player can choose the 4th un-bid suit to keep the bidding going. It does not mean the player is strong in this suit, in fact it is often an enquiry to discover if partner has some strength in this suit, which can lead to a NT contract.
gameIf you bid AND make a contract that earns 100 points or more from the tricks that you bid, then you have won what in bridge is called a "Game", and you will be awarded hundreds of extra bonus points!

Note that you DO have to bid the tricks first. Just making them alone is not enough.

(How to earn this vital 100? You earn 20 for each minor trick that you bid and make, 30 for each Major or No Trump trick, but 40 for the very first one in No Trumps).

In the "Chicago" scoring system, which is what almost everyone plays these days, the bonus given is 300 points, or 500 if you are Vulnerable.

In "Rubber" bridge, which is still played, you are allowed to play for several rounds to reach the "Game" level of 100 trick points mentioned above. (In "Chicago" bridge the "Game" qualifying level of 100 earned trick points has to be reached in one round only). In Rubber bridge a bonus is given to the first team that reaches 2 games, and the bonus awarded is bigger when the score is 2-0 as opposed to 2-1.
game forcingSee Forcing.
going downWhen you fail to make the number of tricks that you contracted to bid in the auction. "Going off" or "going down" by one trick is no disgrace. It means you were close, and at least you were having a tilt at a higher contract. Some people say "down one is good bridge". Experts will frequently go down one trick, and sometimes many more than that.
going down one is good bridgeThis means more than one thing: 1. only going down by one trick means you were close and are at least trying! 2. going down by only one trick means your enemy wins some penalty points - but if that's fewer than the points they'd have made by winning the auction and making the contract, then it's to your benefit.
goulashAfter a poor deal where all players pass, you can get some very interesting hands if you decide to re-deal WITHOUT shuffling the deck, and to deal the cards out in "packets" of 3 or 4 at a time. The dealer (e.g. South), hands each player 3 cards at a time. After 4 rounds every player would therefore have 12 cards. To make up the extra card, the dealer adds one extra card at each round. On the first round West would receive 4 instead of 3, on the second round North would receive 4 instead of 3, and so on. The result very often is some very unbalanced hands, amazing pre-empts, unusual Slams and so on, which otherwise only rarely come up. Good fun, good practice, but probably not fair to score it ! If you are playing social bridge with the Chicago scoring system, you might want to consider goulashing when the contract ends up at the relatively uninteresting 1 level un-doubled.
grand slamSee Slam.
handA player's collection of 13 dealt cards. The four hands are known as North, East, South, West, for obvious reasons.
HighWhen signaling to partner during play, techniques such as kicking your partner's left or right foot are generally frowned upon. At the bridge club you are likely to be banned. At international events you are likely to be mentioned in dispatches. There is a legal way: rather like morse code 'dots and dashes', it is common for defenders to put down unimportant spot cards in the 2 to 9 range to codify their signals using two types, Low and High. Using the 2 to 9 range avoids having to waste honours (AKQJ10) for signaling. Low cards are generally agreed to be 2, 3 or 4, and High cards are generally agreed to be 7, 8 and 9. The 5 and 6 can be used intelligently to be either High or Low, depending on what's left on the dummy table.
high-card pointsHCPHigh Card Points (HCP) excludes "Distribution Point". 4 points for an Ace, 3 for a King, 2 for a Queen, 1 for a Jack. You should treat singleton High Cards with caution, because apart from an Ace, they MIGHT be worthless.
HCPSee "High-Card Points".
honoursYour top 5 high cards in a suit, from Ace down to 10.
interior sequence AQJ-KJ10-Q109-J98one Honour card, then a gap before 2 touching cards
interrupted sequence AKJ-KQ10-QJ9-J1082 touching cards then a single gap before the next card, with at least the top card being an Honour
invitational bidA bid which invites partner to raise the bidding to game if he is at the top end off the range of strength previously indicated.
jump overcallLike an overcall, but at one higher level. E.g. if a player overcalls 1H by bidding 1S (a simple overcall), then a bid of 2S would be a jump overcall.
jump-shiftWhen your partner changes suit and raises the bidding to a level one higher than the minimum needed to mention this new suit. In more modern bridge it's usually an indication of BOTH strength and length.
key-cardThere are 5 Keycards to worry about in an auction that is exploring a Slam bid in one of the 4 suits, namely the 4 Aces and the King of trumps.
leadA card led by the player who won the previous trick. Other players must now follow suit if they have any cards remaining in this suit.
levelThe number of tricks to be made in the contract
LHOLeft Hand Opponent. So, the enemy player who is sitting on your left. There's an RHO too, surprise surprise.
limit bidA bid that defines the strength of player's hand to within one trick, or to within 4 points. A limit bid can be passed, if the suit is acceptable, assuming the passer doesn't have enough strength to try for a contract that would win lots of bonus points.
losersAny card in a suit in your hand that is likely to lose, unless your partner can fill the gap.

The "Losing Trick Count" method, see below, uses the following definition of "losers". The full definition has more angles to it, but these are the basics:

Only the highest three cards in each suit can be losers. Only the Ace, King, and Queen are winners. 'Droppable Honours' count as losers (i.e. singleton King, or doubleton Queen).

(1) a void = 0 losing tricks;
(2) a singleton: = 1 losing trick (unless it's an Ace);
(3) doubletons: xx = 2 losing tricks, but AK = 0, Ax, Kx or KQ = 1;
(4) three card suits: xxx = 3 losing tricks, but AKQ = 0, AKx, AQx or KQx = 1, Axx or Kxx = 2, and Qxx = 2.5. And the AJ10 is considered by some to have fewer than 2 losers;
(5) suits longer than three cards are judged according to the three highest cards, since no suit can be defined (by this system) to have more than 3 losing tricks.
Losing Trick CountLTCA method for working out how high to bid, when you and partner have already established which suit you want to play in. See above in "losers"
LowWhen signaling to partner during play, techniques such as kicking your partner's left or right foot are generally frowned upon. At the bridge club you are likely to be banned. At international events you are likely to be mentioned in dispatches. There is a legal way: rather like morse code 'dots and dashes', it is common for defenders to put down unimportant spot cards in the 2 to 9 range to codify their signals using two types, Low and High. Using the 2 to 9 range avoids having to waste honours (AKQJ10) for signaling. Low cards are generally agreed to be 2, 3 or 4, and High cards are generally agreed to be 7, 8 and 9. The 5 and 6 can be used intelligently to be either High or Low, depending on what's left on the dummy table.
majorheartspadeHearts and Spades. They are worth 30 points per trick, so that a game (requiring 100) is scored by bidding and making 4 hearts or spades. This is easier than reaching game in a minor suit, where a bid of 5 is needed. For this reason, players prefer to bid in a Major suit, rather than a minor, wherever possible. A bid of a Spade is higher than a bid of a Heart, and both are higher than either minor. The complete bidding order of the suits, in ascending order of power, is club, diamond, heart, spade, NT.
matchsuit matchWhen you and your partner discover that you have 8 cards or more between you in a particular suit. This could be 4-4, or 5-3, or 6-2. Generally it is better to have more trumps in one hand than in the other, because they will last longer. Small trumps in the shorter hand can be used for ruffing, where possible.
minorclubdiamondClubs and Diamonds. They are worth 20 points per trick, so that a game (requiring 100) is scored by bidding 5 and making. This is harder than reaching game in a Major suit, where a bid of only 4 is needed. For this reason, players who don't have a Major "match" will try to play in NT if at all possible, where a bid of only 3 is needed for game.
No TrumpsNTA contract can be played without any trumps. No-trumps requires a slightly different approach to assessing your hands for bidding, and a different way of playing the cards. No-trumps are the most valuable bids, requiring only 3 to reach a "game" score, compared with 4 for a "Major" suit, or 5 for a "minor" suit. (That's because NT tricks score 30 points each, with an extra bonus of 10 for the first one). Thus it is generally better to play in NT rather than trying to play a game in a minor suit. It is important to have stoppers in all suits when playing in NT, to preventing the opposition from running away in your weak suit.
no-trumpsA contract without trumps is played in "No-trumps"
non-vulnerableNot vulnerable
opening bidThe first bid made that was not a pass.
opening leadThe first lead for the first trick in a contract, always made by the defender sitting to the left of the declarer.
opponentThe two players, one to your left, the other to your right. Think of them as the enemy, but in a nice way. The person opposite is not your enemy, though some people think so sometimes. That's your charming partner opposite, who you should constantly encourage.
overcallThe first bid made by a partnership when their opponents have already started to bid.
overtakePlay a higher card than the one already played by your partner, in order to get the lead.
overtrickAny trick which is in excess of the number required in the contract you bid for in the auction. A small number of extra points are awarded for overtricks, but they do not count towards "game". Points for overtricks may be small, but in a competition they can make all the difference. The number of points awarded for overtricks can get quite large if you are doubled and or vulnerable.
overtrumpWhen a player lays down a higher trump, after a previous player has already played a trump in an attempt to win the trick.
part-scoreA score which is less than a "Game" score.
partnerThe charming person opposite you. You play together as a team. You encourage each other. You never lose your patience, and always smile at each other, and thank them for their bids, however incomprehensible they may seem to you.
pinTo play a high card, causing opponent's lower-ranking card to drop underneath, and therefore pinning it. (Patrick Jourdain says "Playing a card that is not the highest out to prevent an opponent from winning a trick with a lower card that he must play due to shortness in the suit". All clear ?).
playing tricksHow many tricks you can win on your own, based on discarding your losers. E.g.. AKQ is 3.  AKJ is 2.  AKJ9 is 3, because after three rounds, you assume opponents are out of cards. Counting winners and losers:  In summary, look at the top three cards in each suit and see which will definitely win (“winners”), and count all others that you have in the suit as winners.  It’s a tiny bit more complicated, since the queen alone can be only half, and the jack needs adjacent support.
pointsPoints:  There are three kinds of points used to assess the power of your hand. High Card Points, Points for shortage, and points for length. Points for shortage (5 for a void, 3 for a singleton, 1 for a doubleton) are only counted after trumps have been agreed, but not at all for NT where shortage is a problem. Points for length can be added before trumps have been agreed, and retained if the contract ends up in No Trumps.
points for winning tricks20 points are awarded for tricks won when the trumps areclub or diamond, called the minor suits, 30 points for heart or spade, called the Major suits, and 30 for each No-Trump trick apart from the first trick which earns 40 points. But remember, this is nothing compared to the bonuses you can earn.
precision biddingA bridge bidding system popular among some experts. Beware: this system is far from natural, requires an outstanding memory for large numbers of arbitrary conventions, which - if misinterpreted or forgotten, can lead to some terrible contracts and huge penalties, and even the odd raised voice !
preferenceSelecting partner's first-bid suit. E.g. 1♥ - 1♠; 2♦ - 2♥. 2♥ is a preference. It's a return to partner's presumed longer suit (which in this example had not been bid in reverse order).
psycheWhen bidding, a deliberate misrepresentation of strength or shape, in order to deceive.
ranksuit rankThe suits each have a rank. The Lowest ranking suit is Clubs, the highest is Spades. The rank increase by Alphabetical order - CDHS Clubs, Diamonds, Hearts, Spades. A bid of a Heart is higher than a bid of a Club, for example. No Trumps is higher ranking than any of the suits.
rebidThe second bid that a person makes in an auction is known as their "rebid". The third bid is therefore known as the second rebid.
redoubleBonuses and penalties awarded for doubling are increased by a factor of 2.
reverseA reverse is when you open your bidding with a lower-ranking suit (say clubs), followed in your next bid by a higher-ranking suit (say spades). Why such a funny name? It's because normally, when you have two equal length 5-card suits (e.g. clubs & hearts), you would open the bidding first with the higher-ranking suit (hearts in this example) before rebidding the lower-ranking suit (clubs). That's so that if your partner prefers your first suit she can go back to it without raising the level. (The technique of "reversing" is sometimes also referred to as "going through your 'barrier'"). You can bid the 'normal' (non-reversing) way round EITHER with 2 suits of equal length, OR when the higher-ranking suit is longer. But if you bid the other way around, starting with the lower-ranking suit (clubs in this example), it's known, guess what, as a 'reverse'. And you would ONLY do this when the lower-ranking suit is longer.
responderAfter the first player in a partnership makes bid (other than pass), his partner is known as the responder.
retain trump controlA play technique where declarer holds back at least one trump that is powerful enough to regain the lead.
RHORight Hand Opponent. The enemy player sitting opposite the LHO, of course.
rubber bridgeAll contracts "bid and made" score points "below the line". Small contracts score a small number of points, less than 100, known as "part scores"...but it all counts towards game. When a team reaches 100 points below the line, a game is reached, and a new lines is drawn, for a new game to start at 0-0. The first team to score 2 games wins a rubber, and scores a bonus of 750 (2-0 rubber), or 500 (2-1). After reaching one game, a team becomes "vulnerable". Only tricks bid and made count towards game (written down below the line). The score for extra trick, penalties and bonuses are all written down above the line.
ruffTo deliberately play a suit which you know your partner does not have, to allow partner to play a trump and thus win the trick (unless "over trumped" by the opponents, who might also be short in the suit that was led).
ruffingSee "ruff".
SAYCStandard AmericanA bridge bidding system widely used in the US and other countries, standing for "Standard American Yellow Card". Many aspects of the system are very similar to ACOL; Most beginners in the US use SAYC; other popular systems include "two-over-one" and "precision".
sacrificeAn intelligent bid made in the knowledge that you'll probably fail to make the contract. You'll have also calculated that the penalty points will be less than the points the enemy will be awarded for making the contact they had already bid.
setan American term, not used in English spoken in Britain, used to describe failure or defeat. It refers to a contract that was bid, but NOT made. The English think that "set" is a tennis term. In bridge they might say "down one", or worse still, "down two or three!" if a contract should fail.
shapeThe shape of a hand refers to the distribution of the length and strength among the suits. For example AK65432-KQ4-xx-x has beautiful shape. Even if it only has 12 high card points (HCP), it is likely to win many tricks, because low value trumps can be used to kill high-value enemy cards in the short suits.
sign-offA bid which says to partner to bid no further, we've gone far enough. When investigating Slam for example, it is often appropriate to "sign-off" at a lower level if the investigation shows a lack of strength.
signalsThe defensive signaling used by a partnership, i.e. the meanings of card plays made by the defenders, in order to exchange information. Also called carding.
singletonWhen your hand contains only one card from the suit in question.
slamA bid to win at least 12 of the 13 available tricks. A Grand Slam means all 13, a Small Slam means 12. You get a 500 point bonus for a Small Slam, and a 750 point bonus for a Grand Slam. These bonuses are doubled if you are vulnerable. The bonuses are on top of your trick points and on top of the bonus points for game.
solid sequence AKQ-KQJ-QJ10-J109-10983 or more cards in sequence, with at least the top card being an Honour
splinterA jump bid showing a singleton or void in the suit
staymanA bidding convention designed to find an 4-4-card Major match after a 1NT opening.
stopperTo stop opponents running away in one of the suits, you need a high card to stop them, if you don't have any trumps available.  This is clearly extremely important when playing in No Trumps! In descending order of power, your stoppers could be:  An ace; or a King plus at least one card (Kx); or Qxx.  Jxxx might do, but you may have to sit out 3 losing tricks.
strengthTrick winning power, derived from a combination of raw power (HCP), suit length and overall shape.
suitEach card has a suit, of which there are 4: Clubs, Diamonds, Hearts and Spades.
systemSee "bidding system"
tenace AQ-KJ-Q10-J9-1082 cards separated by a single card gap. In other words, a broken sequence of (often) honour cards, such as ♠ A Q or ♦ K J. Declarer may lead toward his or dummy's tenace, preparing to finesse for a missing card. A defender may lead through declarer's or dummy's tenace to help his partner score cards behind the tenace.
top of nothingA lead technique, where a player leads the highest of his cards in a suit, where the highest card is itself no use, implying that the others are just as powerless.
top of sequenceA lead technique, where a player leads the highest card from a continuous high sequence. For example leading the King, when possessing KQJ74. The lead signals to partner that you possess the lower cards, and also flushes out the Ace, thereby establishing the QJ. Very useful in no-trumps.
touching Honours AK- KQ-QJ-J10 2 touching Honour cards
trickWhen 4 cards are played, one from each player. The first player chooses a suit, and plays a card from that suit. The others follow suit where they can, and provided nobody is void and uses a trump, the player with the highest card wins the trick.
trumpThe master suit, selected in the auction by the highest bid. To "trump" during a trick is to play a trump card after a non-trump lead, when permitted, and therefore to take the trick irrespective of how small your trump card might be. There are no "trumps" in a no-trump contract. See "overtrump".
two-over-oneA bridge bidding system. "Two-over-one game forcing" is a common system used by advanced players in the US and elsewhere.
unbalancedNot "Balanced".
underleadWhen a low card is led from a hand which contains a high card in that suit. For example, with A63, leading the 3 is known as "underleading the Ace", or "leading away from the Ace". Often a bad thing, because it can might convert the opponent's covered King into a winner, and can even waste the Ace entirely if the opposition have a singleton.
unfavourable vulnerabilityVulnerable against non-vulnerable opponents. Also called "adverse vulnerability".
voidWhen your hand contains no cards at all, from the suit in question.
vulnerableBasically, a state of danger, so be more careful. In Rubber Bridge, where two "Games" are needed to win a Rubber, a team is considered to be vulnerable when they have won their first Game towards Rubber. From this point on, until the end of the Rubber, any penalty points incurred are approximately doubled. The bonuses for winning a Slam are also increased. In Chicago scoring, the bonus points for winning game are increased considerably if a pair are vulnerable. In general, it is wise to bid more cautiously when you are Vulnerable, especially if you think your opponents might double you. However, it's probably worth risking going down up to two tricks if the chances of getting to game are equal, since the 600+ point bonus for winning outweighs the 500 point penalty for going down 2 tricks doubled and vulnerable. With Chicago scoring, pairs take it in turns to be Vulnerable over a 4-deal cycle: first nobody is vulnerable, then the dealer, then the dealer, then both pairs.
whistHow to play Whist: One person chooses one card to play, called a " lead card". Then everyone else plays a card, in turn, going round the table clockwise until everyone has played a card. Others must “follow suit, that is they must choose a card of the same suit as the lead card, provided they have one. The highest card wins the "trick". If a player can’t follow suit, they play a card from a different suit. Trump suit cards (nominated beforehand) beat everything when played. The winner of the trick chooses the lead card for the next trick. The game ends when all the cards are all played, and the winner is the lucky / skillful one who has won the greatest number of tricks.


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