Glossary of contract bridge terms

Glossary of contract bridge terms

These terms are used in Contract bridge[1][2] , or the earlier game Auction bridge, using duplicate or rubber scoring. Some of them are also used in Whist, Bid whist, and other trick-taking games. This glossary supplements the Glossary of card terms.

Contents: Top · 0–9 · A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Below this line, boldface links should be external to the glossary; plain links should be cross-references to other glossary entries.


0-4, or Blackwood
A way to express a player is using plain Blackwood anwers to a Gerber or Blackwood ace asking bid.
2-under Preempts
A 2 or 3-level conventional opening bid made two steps below the opener's suit. Then, the intermediate suit is used as a game try. 2 and 2 openings remain its natural artificial meaning, strong and weak respectively, while 3 is used as a gambling 3NT equivalent, with a solid minor.
1430, or 1430 RKCB
A mnemonic for a variant response structure to the Roman Key Card Blackwood convention. It represents "1 or 4" and "3 or 0", meaning that the lowest step response (5) to the 4NT key card asking bid shows responder has one or four keycards and the next step (5) shows three or zero. 1430 is the amount of points won in a major suit slam made.
3014, or 3014 RKCB
A mnemonic for the original (Roman) response structure to the Roman Key Card Blackwood convention. It represents "3 or 0" and "1 or 4", meaning that the lowest step response (5) to the 4NT key card asking bid shows responder has three or zero keycards and the next step (5) shows one or four.


Rubber Bridge Scoring
Above the line
In rubber bridge, points recorded above a horizontal line on the scorepad are extra points, beyond those for tricks bid and made, awarded for holding honor cards in trumps, bonuses for scoring game or slam, for winning a rubber, for overtricks on the declaring side and for undertricks on the defending side, and for fulfilling doubled or redoubled contracts. See Below the line.
American Contract Bridge League
An approach-forcing, natural bidding system, based on a weak NT and 4 card majors, popular in the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth.
1) An approach to defending a hand that emphasizes quickly setting up winners and taking tricks. Contrast passive.
2) An approach to competitive bidding that emphasizes frequent interference with opponents' bidding sequences.
Adjusted score
In duplicate bridge, a score that penalizes a pair or team that has committed an irregularity, and/or compensates a pair or team that has been damaged by an irregularity. The penalty and the compensation need not be commensurate.
Advance cue bid
The cue bid of a first round control that occurs before a partnership has agreed on a strain.
Advance sacrifice
A sacrifice bid made before the opponents have had an opportunity to determine their optimum contract. For example: 1 - (1) - Dbl - (5).
Overcaller's partner, especially one who bids following the overcall.
Adverse vulnerability
Vulnerable vs. non-vulnerable. Also called "unfavorable vulnerability."
Aggregate scoring
Deciding the outcome of a contest by totaling the raw points gained or lost on each deal. Also called "total point scoring."
To decide, explicitly, conventionally or by implication, in which denomination to play a hand.
An understanding between partners as to the meaning of a particular call or defensive play. There are two types of call agreements; (1) when the call is natural, the agreement is said to be a treatment, and (2) when the call is artificial, the agreement is said to be a convention.
Air, on
A762 J1093

To play to a trick, and normally win, over a small one lead, without capturing any opponent high one. Here, when South leads the 8, West must take the A on air, or risk making no heart trick.

Alcatraz coup
Declarer's intentional and unethical attempt to locate a finessable card by revoking. If the play is unintentional, it is nevertheless subject to score adjustment.

A method of informing the opponents that partner's bid carries a meaning that they might not expect; alerts are regulated by sponsoring organizations such as the ACBL and the EBU, and by individual clubs or organisers of events. Any method of alerting may be authorised including saying "Alert", displaying an Alert card from a bidding box or 'knocking' on the table.
An explanatory statement made by the partner of the player who has just made a call that is based on a partnership understanding. The purpose of an announcement is similar to that of an Alert. It is made following calls whose meanings are not unusual, but which different partnerships treat differently. In the ACBL, common announcements include "Transfer" for a direct transfer bid, the point range for an opening bid of one notrump, and "Forcing" or "Semi-forcing" for a 1NT response to a major suit opening bid. The sponsoring organization specifies which calls should be announced.
A call is antipositional if it tends to make the "wrong" partner the declarer. If West opens the bidding, it may be best for South to declare a North-South contract, so that West will have to play from his high cards on opening lead. This positioning may protect South's tenaces. In that case, a call that will make North declarer is antipositional. See wrongside.
In tournaments, to appeal is to request that a committee review a ruling made by a director.
A principle, first used in the Culbertson system, that has survived in modern bidding. The original idea was to abandon the indiscriminate notrump bids that characterized auction bridge in favor of a slower exchange of information via suit bidding.
A marker, usually a large card with an arrow on it, that shows which direction is treated as North at a table in a duplicate event.
Arrow switch
The action of changing the North direction during an event, typically for the last round of a Mitchell movement, so that the pairs who were North-South become East-West and vice versa. This allows a single winning pair to be determined.
1) A call that is not natural which by agreement carries a coded meaning not necessarily related to the call's (or to the prior call's) denomination.
2) A bidding system that contains many such calls.
Asking bid
A bid that, by prior agreement, requests information about a feature of partner's hand: for example, number of controls, suit length, or control of a particular suit.
Attacking lead
A lead that instigates an active defense; often, the lead of an honor from a sequence, or a forcing defense.
A defender's desire, or lack thereof, for his side to continue playing a suit. By means of signals, defender encourages or discourages the continuation of the suit.
Autobridge, a device for learning bridge
1) See bidding.
2) Auction bridge, an older form of bridge, replaced by Contract bridge.
A mechanical game device consisting of a set of printed deal sheets and a viewing template used to learn bridge by oneself. (see image).
Automatic squeeze
A squeeze position that succeeds against either opponent. Contrast with positional squeeze.
1) In matchpoint scoring, one-half the matchpoints available on a given deal.
2) An average score is sometimes awarded to both pairs when for some reason they cannot complete the board. If neither pair is at fault or both pairs are at fault, the director may decide to award average to each side. Law 12.C.2 of the Laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge states that if one pair is at fault, it receives an average-minus (at most, 40% of the available matchpoints on the board). A pair not at all at fault receives average-plus: 60% of the available matchpoints on the board, or, if greater, the average of the matchpoints the pair earned on other boards played during the session. The assigned scores need not sum to the total available matchpoints.
3) Also see IMP pairs, where "average" refers to the datum used in scoring.
Avoidance play
A play designed to keep a particular defender off lead, often to prevent the lead of a suit through a tenace position in either declarer's hand or dummy.


Back in
To make a partnership's first bid, having previously passed. For example, in 1 - (P) - 1NT - (P); 2 - (Dbl), the doubler has backed into the bidding.
Backward finesse
A combination of two finesses in a suit such that the first finesse is "backward" (that is, the reverse of the normal direction). For instance, playing the Jack from AJ92 and K84, expecting to find the Q over the Jack ant the 10 under it.
To keep the bidding open when it is about to be passed out at a low level. For example, if the bidding goes 1 - (P) - P - (1NT), the 1NT bid is a balancing action. The balancing bid is often made with a hand of substandard strength, to prevent the opponents from buying the hand too cheaply.
Balanced distribution
1) Narrowly, balanced distribution of a hand or suit is 4-3-3-3, 4-4-3-2 or 5-3-3-2. Equivalently, there are no voids, no singletons, and at most one doubleton.
2) Balanced is commonly used in a broad sense that includes semi-balanced. Broadly, balanced distribution permits no void, singleton, or 7-card suit.
Balanced hand
A 13-card hand with balanced distribution in the narrow or wide sense just above. On the first round of bidding, natural notrump bids generally denote balanced hands.
Board-a-match, one method of scoring a duplicate bridge session or tournament.
To prevent a player from making a bid, either by a penalty caused by an irregularity, or because partnership agreement requires a pass in a given situation. In either case, the player is said to be "barred."
Barometer scoring
In a duplicate event, the posting of contestants' running scores after each round. Knowledge of the current standings often adds excitement to the contest, and can affect the strategies adopted by those in a position to win the event.
Bath coup
A holdup by declarer, to prevent an opponent from continuing a suit. In the classic position, declarer holds AJ2 and West leads K from KQ1098. By playing the 2 on West's K, South makes it impossible for West to continue spades without giving South a free finesse.
Beer Card
The 7.
Below the line
In rubber bridge, points awarded for a successful contract, i.e. tricks bid for and taken exclusive of bonus points, are recorded below a horizontal line on the scorepad. These are the points counted towards game. See Above the line.
Bermuda Bowl
The cup awarded to the winner of the international team championship, the most prestigious award in bridge. Also, the championship contest itself.
A specification of both level and denomination or strain, such as three notrump or four hearts. While any legal bid constitutes a potential contract, some bids carry special coded meanings when used by the partnership as a conventional bid and as such are not normally intended as a potential contract.
Bid out of turn
A bid erroneously made when it was another player's turn to bid. Subject to penalty.
Biddable suit
A suit that a partnership regards as long and strong enough to be bid. Partnerships often employ different standards of length and strength for suits named in opening bids, in responses, in rebids and in overcalls.
The first stage of a deal, when players jointly determine the final contract. Having examined their own cards, they make a series of calls in rotation, which is called the auction or the bidding.
Bidding box
A box, placed on the table, that contains cards with calls printed on them. By selecting and displaying a card, a player can make a call without speaking. Silent bidding removes one source of unauthorized information from the game.
Bidding space
The number of steps available in an auction (see Useful space principle), or the number of steps consumed by a bid. The sequence 1 - 1 consumes only one step, whereas 1 - 2 consumes four steps. Because alternative bids are skipped, it often happens that the more steps a bid takes up, the more specific meaning it carries.
Bidding system
The complete set of agreements and understandings assigned to calls and sequences of calls used by a partnership, including a full description of the meaning of each treatment and convention.
Blackwood convention
Popular bidding convention in contract bridge, used to determine number of partner's aces/kings to evaluate for slam bids.
1) (Adjective) Unprotected by other, usually lower cards in the same suit: "I held the blank king of spades."
2) (Verb) To discard in such a way as to leave a card unprotected: "She blanked the king of spades."
(Slang) A win by the widest possible margin.
(Adjective) If a suit is divided between partners in such a way that the hand with the shorter holding has only high cards, the suit cannot be run without an entry to the longer holding in another suit; it is then said to be blocked. If North holds AK and South holds QJ10, South cannot cash a third diamond trick without an entry in another suit. The diamonds are blocked until North is able to unblock by playing the ace and king.
1) One particular allocation of 52 cards to the four players including the bidding, the play of the cards and the scoring based on those cards. Also called deal or hand.
2) A device that keeps each player's cards separate for duplicate bridge.
3) The dummy's hand. For example, "You're on the board," means "The lead is in the dummy."
A form of scoring for teams, analogous to matchpoint scoring for pairs. A team earns 1 point if its pairs score higher than the opposing pairs (with the same cards at the other table), 1/2 for equal scores, and 0 for lower scores. Board-a-match scoring is now less common than IMP scoring, or IMPs victory points in a Swiss tournament.
Intermediate cards such as the 9, 8 and 7, that contribute to a suit's trick-taking potential.
In bridge scoring, beyond points for bid tricks taken, which are awarded for making a contract, the additional points awarded for making a doubled contract, or for making doubled or redoubled overtricks. There are different bonus amounts at the partscore, game, small slam, and grand slam levels. The size of most bonuses depends on the vulnerability. Bonus amounts are different in rubber bridge and duplicate bridge. See Bridge scoring.
1) (Noun) The basic six tricks that must be taken by the declaring side. The first six "book" tricks are always assumed and are not taken into account in bidding or scoring. Thus, a contract at the 1-level commits declarer to take at least 7 (that is, 6 + 1) tricks, and provides trick points only for the trick above book. The term apparently originated from the whist practice of arranging the first six tricks into a stack called a "book."
2) (Noun) The number of tricks that the defensive side must take so as to hold declarer to his contract. If the contract is 4, defenders' book is 3.
3) (Verb, usually passive) Slang. As declarer, to have lost the maximum number of tricks without being set. At 4, declarer is "booked" when he has lost three tricks.
At matchpoint scoring, the lowest possible score on a board. Also, zero.
A group of entries in a tournament that will eventually have one winner. The grouping is often done on the basis of masterpoints.
1) (Noun) The distribution of cards in a suit between two (often unseen) hands: "I got a 4-1 spade break." An even break occurs when the cards are distributed evenly or nearly so, such as 3-3 or 4-2. A bad break, connoting a distribution that is difficult to handle, suggests an unexpectedly uneven distribution, such as 5-1 or 6-0. See distribution.
2) (Verb) To be divided between two hands. "The spades broke 3-2."
3) (Verb) To lead a particular suit for the first time during a particular deal.
4) (Verb) Slang. To play for and find a particular distribution, usually the most favorable. "I broke the spades."
Bridge maxims
A compilation of short "laws", "rules" and rules-of-thumb advice; often, not always, valid.
Bridge World, The (TBW)
A monthly magazine based in New York City, the oldest continuously published periodical concerning contract bridge, and the game's most prestigious technical journal.
Broken sequence
A sequence of honor cards, one or more of which is missing, for example AQJ.
(slang) An ace.
Business double
A penalty double. Contrast with various competitive and informatory doubles such as takeout double and negative double.
(Slang) A very weak hand. Sometimes paired with the name of a long suit: for example, "club bust" to denote a hand with long clubs and very little high card strength. See also Yarborough.
A card that is needed for some purpose is said to be busy. For example, cards that a defender is trying to preserve while declarer executes a squeeze are "busy." Contrast with idle.
A method of overall scoring in duplicate bridge where every result is subtracted from a datum (average or median) score and converted to IMPs using a table defined by the WBF.
1) A round of an event during which a team or pair is not scheduled to play.
2) A location, such as a chair or stand, where boards are kept when not in use during an event.


A non-playing person designated to move boards between tables during a tournament, collect score slips, etc.
1) See Cross-IMP scoring
2) A tournament in which bettors bid on participating pairs or teams. The proceeds from the auction are distributed partly as prizes to the top finishers, partly to the bettors who successfully bid on them. A pair or team can typically buy an interest in itself.
Any bid, pass, double, or redouble in the bidding stage.
An approach to bidding in which a player bids his shorter suit prior to his longer suit. A feature of the Blue Team Club and the Roman Club.
1) The partner who makes the decision for a partnership in certain bidding situations, such as ace-asking sequences.
2) The person who represents a team, and who might also act as its coach, is the team's captain. A playing captain also participates at the table; a non-playing captain (NPC) does not.
Card reading
The act of determining the distribution of cards in unseen hands, and the location of high cards therein, by analyzing the bidding, play and other clues.
The defensive signaling used by a partnership.
In team events, a portion of a score from an earlier session between two teams that is applied to a subsequent match between the same teams.
To take a trick with a card that is currently the highest in the suit, thought certain to succeed, or to take all available winners in a suit.
Cavendish variation
A version of Chicago, with dealer's side not vulnerable on the second and third hands, as in the standard version.
Canadian Bridge Federation.
Change of suit
A bid in a new suit, as 1 in the sequence 1 - 1; 1.
A form of bridge in which a rubber is completed every four deals, and the vulnerability is different in each of those deals (dealer's side is vulnerable on the second and third deals). The scoring and sequence of dealer and vulnerability used in duplicate bridge are derived from those used in Chicago bridge. Chicago is said to have been devised by commuters who played bridge on daily train journeys, where the time available for play was limited by the length of the trip.
A hand without any trumps.
Chinese finesse
An attack with an honor making believe you have also the next lower honor. Next hand plays low, expecting to cover the lower card, but declarer will never finesse the suit again, as the tenance is Axx and Qx.
Centre-hand opponent (slang), a derogatory or facetious term for one's partner, or partners generally. Compare LHO and RHO, left- and right-hand opponents.
A suit with enough honor strength to play well unaided by partner's cards (but not solid) is chunky. Normally said of four-card suits. AQJ10 is a chunky suit; AQ96 is not chunky.
A statement by declarer about how the remaining unplayed tricks will be won or lost. Normally the claiming player exposes his hand and describes the sequence of play for the remaining tricks (but such plays as finesses, unless already proven, are disallowed). A claim is best made only when the play of the rest of the hand is obvious. Claims are often unadvisable: apart from the possibility of a mistaken analysis, it can take longer to explain the line of play than to play it. See also concession.
Clear a suit
Knock out an opponent's high-card control of a suit, or unblock one's own high cards.
Closed hand
Declarer's hand (as distinct from the dummy, which is faced or open).
Closed room
In a team match, a room where two of the pairs compete, and in which spectators are not allowed.
Making improper remarks to mislead the opponents, or asking improper questions designed to suggest a defensive play.
Acronym for Choice of Games. An artificial or natural bid made under or at game level asking partner to pick up the best game contract to be played.
Acronym for Choice of Grand Slams. An artificial or natural bid made at the 6 or 7 level asking partner to pick up a strain from several options available to play a grand slam.
A contract that a player cannot fail to make, even against the best defense, is cold.
1) See suit combination.
2) finesse: See double finesse in finesse.
Combination play
A line of play that offers more than one chance to take additional tricks: for example, playing to drop an honor in a longer suit and then finessing for an honor in a shorter suit.
A defensive signal that encourages partner to continue a suit, usually by means of the rank of the card used to follow suit.
Comic notrump
A notrump overcall that shows a weak hand with a long suit, to which the overcaller can escape if doubled. Also known as Gardener 1NT.
1) The placement of the lead in one or the other of the two partnership hands, so as to make a subsequent lead from the more advantageous hand, specifically the ability to place the lead in such hand.
2) The means of conveying a message to partner via the bidding and by the card played to a trick. The only legal means of communication is through the calls and plays themselves, rather than through mannerisms such as tone of voice and hesitations. Often generalized as communications in both senses.
Comparative scoring
The method of scoring used in matchpoint or Board-a-Match events. The metric used is not the number of points earned on a particular deal, as it is when using quantitative scoring, but the number of pairs that have been out-scored.
Competitive auction
A bidding sequence which involves both partnerships. Also, competitive bidding.
A statement by a player as to the number of remaining tricks that he must lose. (See claim.)
To act after an opponent's irregularity without arranging for the penalty specified in the Laws to be applied.
Congratulatory jack
The unnecessary play (by follow-suit or by discard) of a jack following partner's exceptionally successful action. More often used by the defense, but possible as a play from dummy.
1) Bidding that is aimed at reaching a side's optimum contract, as distinct from calls intended to interfere with the opponents' bidding.
2) Constructive raise: by partnership agreement, a single raise of a major suit opening that shows more strength than usual.
1) The statement of the pair who has won the bidding, that they will take at least the given number of tricks. The contract consists of two components: the level, stating the number of tricks to be taken (in addition to the book tricks), and the denomination, denoting the trump suit (or its absence in a notrump bid). The last bid in the bidding phase denotes the final contract.
2) Short for Contract bridge in contrast to Auction bridge (auction) and other card games in the family.
1) A feature of a hand which prevents the defenders from taking sufficient immediate tricks in a specific suit so as to set the contract or make the setting of the contract unavoidable. Aces are termed "first-round" controls and kings are termed "second-round" controls. In trump contracts, voids are also considered first-round controls and singletons second-round controls.
2) (Said of trump contracts) Declarer's ability to manage the trump suit successfully. To lose control usually means being forced to shorten one's trumps so much that the opponents can subsequently control the play of the hand.
An equivalent or similar term is stoppers.
A bid that shows control of a particular suit. Often a cue bid, but not all cue bids are control-bids.
Convenient club
See Short club.
1) An agreement between partners on the meaning of a call or sequence of calls, such that the meaning is not necessarily related to the length and strength of bid suits or of willingness to play in notrump. Many bidding conventions are artificial; see, for example, Slam-seeking conventions.
2) An agreement that a particular defensive play has a special meaning.
Compare with Treatment.
Convention card
A form filled out by a partnership that shows the bidding and play conventions being used. Normally used during tournaments.
To change the effect of a call. For example, passing partner's overcall of 2 when playing Michaels cue bids converts the overcall from a request to bid a major suit to a contract of 2. There are many other applications: for example, to pass partner's takeout double is to convert it to a penalty double.
In the bidding, to choose (usually) partner's first bid suit; in that case, a correction is equivalent to a preference.
Acronym for Choice of Slams. An artificial or natural bid made to ask partner to select a strain from several choices where the slam might be played.
1) (Noun) The number of cards held in a suit or suits, usually said of an opponent's hand.
2) (Verb) To determine, by inference or by follow-suit, the number of cards held in a suit by an opponent.
3) (Noun) In squeeze play, the number of tricks that declarer must lose before the squeeze can function.
Count signal
A defensive card play that shows whether the player has an even or odd number of cards in a suit.
1) Any extremely skillful play.
2) Any of several specific play techniques, such as the Scissors coup, Trump coup or Devil's coup.
Coup en passant
The lead of a side suit through an opponent who holds a higher trump so as to score a lower trump in the third hand.
Coup without a name
See Scissors coup. "Coup without a name" is an earlier term for the coup, conferred by Ely Culbertson.
Cover card
A card (honor or extra trump) which is known to compensate one of partner's losers; for example, a king in trumps covers partner's trump loser.
(Slang) To make a penalty double.
1. An acronym for Color, RAnk and SHape, a convention used to show a 2-suited hand, as an overcall of opponents' strong 1  or 2 opening. The two suits share the same color (red or black), rank (majors or minors) or shape (rounded or pointed). The type of pairing is shown by the number of steps above the opening bid that are taken up by the overcall.
2. The play of two winners by a pair on a single trick: for example, the ace and king of trumps. The term is usually employed to describe declarer's use of a deceptive play to cause a defender to follow suit with one high card (for example, the K from Kx) when the other defender holds the singleton ace.
Crocodile coup
On defense, second hand's play of a higher card than apparently necessary, so as to obtain the lead. The play is intended to prevent fourth hand from being forced into the lead to make a return favorable to declarer. The name suggests a crocodile opening its maw to swallow up partner's winning card.
To enter the opposite hand. Normally used of dummy or declarer's hand: "He crossed to dummy in diamonds."
A playing technique in trump contracts, where extra tricks are gained by ruffing in both hands alternately.
Cross-IMP scoring
A form of IMP scoring in pairs tournaments, where each pair's score is determined as an (averaged) sum of differences to all other scores (rather than to a single datum score). Also known as X-Imps or Calcutta.
Cuebid (also, cue bid or cue-bid)
1) A bid of the opponents' suit in a competitive auction. Usually a conventional, forcing bid that shows strength or an unusual hand, or a particular distribution.
2) A bid that shows a control in a suit (usually with an ace or king, sometimes with a void), but does not indicate length or strength in the suit otherwise. See control bid. Partnership agreements indicate when in an uncontested auction a bid is considered a cue bid. Usually used in exploring for a slam contract (see Bridge conventions (slam seeking)), or for showing stoppers needed for a notrump game.
Culbertson system
The earliest dominant bidding system, developed by Ely and Josephine Culbertson. Its principal features were an approach-forcing bidding style, four-card majors, strong two-bids and the use of an honor trick table to evaluate hand strength.
The curse of Scotland
The 9. The origin of the term is not known with certainty.
Cutthroat bridge
A form of three-handed bridge.


Danger hand
(Usually in reference to the defenders.) An opponent who, if he obtains the lead, can damage declarer's prospects.
The mean or median of raw scores on a deal. The datum is used as a basis for calculating IMPs for the participating teams or pairs. The datum may be trimmed by removing extreme scores at either end of the distribution, a procedure whose effect on a mean or on a median depends on the degree of skewness in the raw scores.
(Usually in reference to the dummy.) A hand that has no card of entry.
1) One particular allocation of 52 cards to the four players including the bidding, the play of the cards and the scoring based on those cards. Also called board or hand.
2) (Verb) To allocate the 52 cards to the four players or hands, 13 each.
The player who deals the cards and makes the first call in the auction. In rubber bridge, the first dealer is usually decided by a cut for the highest card. In duplicate bridge, cards are dealt only at the outset of the session and the deal is preserved during the session by the use of boards. The "dealer" who will make the first call is identified by a mark on the physical board, commonly the word "dealer".
The 52 cards used in bridge.
The contract in which a hand is played.
See D-I.
Of the partnership that makes the final bid in the auction, declarer is the partner who first names the denomination or strain of the final bid, thus the strain of the contract. During the play, declarer sits across from the dummy and calls for cards from the dummy's hand, or "plays the dummy."
Declaring side
The side that wins the auction.
Deep finesse
A finesse against two or more cards.
(Said of the contract). To prevent declarer from taking the number of tricks called for by his contract. Also, set.
The pair that tries to defeat the contract.
Declarer's opponents or their line of play.
Defensive bidding
1) A bid or sequence of bids designed to hinder the opponents' bidding, including sacrifices.
2) All bidding by the partnership which does not open, which necessarily begins with a double or overcall (intervention).
Postponed, as the jump preference in the auction 1 - 1; 2 - 3. Many bids have a different meaning depending on whether or not they are made at the first opportunity.
Denomination (also 'strain')
Component of a bid that denotes the proposed trump suit or notrump. Thus, there are five denominations - notrump, spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs. The Laws of Contract Bridge[3] and of Duplicate Bridge refer to the term denomination exclusively but the Official Encyclopedia of Bridge states[4] that "the modern term is strain"; strain is generally used in bridge literature.
Acronym for Double Even, Pass Odd. Conventional method for bidding over interference with Blackwood.
Deschapelles coup
On defense, the lead of an unsupported honor so as to create an entry for partner.
To establish tricks in a suit, usually by forcing out the opponents' stoppers.
Devil's coup
In the endgame, the play of a side suit through a defender to create an overruff and a subsequent trump finesse.
(Abbreviation of Declarative-Interrogative.) 4NT as a general slam try that asks partner to show features. D-I is incorporated in several bidding systems, including Neapolitan, Blue Team Club and Kaplan-Sheinwold. 4NT D-I is distinguished from Blackwood by means of the bidding context.
A player's position at the bridge table (North, East, South or West).
Direct position
Usually said of a bid that is made immediately following RHO's bid. Contrast with balance.
Referee (in duplicate bridge). The director enforces the rules, assigns penalties for violations, and oversees the progress of the game. The director is also responsible for the final scoring. At a tournament there may be several directors, reporting to a Head Director. In ACBL-sponsored events, a director's ruling as to bridge fact may be appealed; a ruling as to discipline, so as to maintain an orderly event, may not.
1) (Verb) To play a card that is neither of the suit led, nor trump, and that therefore cannot win the trick.
2) (Noun) The card so played.
Discouraging card
A carding signal that discourages partner from leading a particular suit. Contrast with come-on.
Discovery play
A play, either by declarer or by the defense, intended to obtain information about the location of other cards.
1) (Suit distribution) Of one suit on a deal, the numbers of cards or lengths in the four hands. Sometimes the length of a suit in one or two hands is known or presumed and its "distribution" covers only three or two hands, as "opposing distribution" said of the other pair from the perspective of one pair or player.
2) (Hand distribution, also shape or pattern) Of one 13-card hand on a deal, the numbers of cards or lengths in the four suits. Sometimes the length of one or two suits is known or presumed and "distribution" covers only three or two suits, as "distribution in the minors" said of one hand whose major-suit distribution is known.
General. The degree to which four suits in one hand, one suit in four hands, or all of the hands and suits are dealt in long and short holdings. Long and short holdings constitute "lots of distribution" and three-card holdings in particular constitute "no distribution".
Specific. Either way, four whole numbers that sum to 13 are commonly used to denote a distribution briefly, such as 4333 or 4-3-3-3 for a hand comprising one four-card suit and three three-card suits; or for a suit with one four-card holding and three three-card holdings in the four hands. Also 22 or 2-2 for the opposing distribution of spades when one pair holds nine of them; or for one hand's distribution in the minors when it holds nine in the Majors.
Fully specified. Conventionally neither 4333 nor 4-3-3-3 indicates which is the four-card suit in a hand while 4=3=3=3 means four spades, represented first, and three each in hearts, diamonds, and clubs. Thus 4=6=2=1 means 4 spades, 6 hearts, 2 diamonds, and 1 club.
Distribution point
A measure of one hand's strength due to the length or shortness of suits. See Hand evaluation.
Acronym for Disturb Opponents NoTrump. A conventional defense to notrump opening bids.
Acronym for Double Odd, Pass Even. A conventional method for bidding over interference with Blackwood.
Acroynm for Double 0, Pass 1. A conventional method for bidding over interference with Blackwood. Pronounced "dopey."
A call that increases penalties if the opponents fail to make their contract, but that increases the bonuses if they make it. A player can double only a contract bid by the opposition. Often used conventionally for purposes other than to increase the penalties.
Double dummy
(Adjective or adverb.) Said of a play or line of play that seems to be made with knowledge of all four hands, as if there were at least two dummies visible. Compare with single dummy.
When said of the defenders jointly, "double dummy defense" suggests that that pair knows all four hands and agrees on both goals and tactics such as falsecards, as if the cards were visible and they discussed those points.
Double dummy problem
A bridge problem presented for entertainment, in which the solver is presented with all four hands and is asked to determine the course of play that will achieve or defeat a particular contract.
Double finesse
A finesse for two missing cards.
Double into game
To double a part score such that, if the contract is fulfilled, the total of the doubled trick scores will exceed 100 points.
Double knockout
A team event that requires two losses for elimination.
Double negative
An agreement regarding a second negative bid by a player who has already made one. Normally used regarding sequences that follow strong, forcing opening bids.
Double raise
A raise of two levels, such as 1 - 3.
Double squeeze
A squeeze in which each opponent must guard a different suit, and both opponents must guard a third suit.
A holding of exactly two cards in a suit.
1) A contract that is defeated is said to be down.
2) (Followed by a number) The number of tricks by which a contract fails: for example, "Down two."
Down the line
To bid the higher of two adjacent suits before the lower. For example, of two five-card majors, the spade suit is normally bid before the heart suit. Contrast with Up the line.
To extract, usually trumps. To remove the opponents' trump cards is to "draw trumps."
Drive out
To force a stopper from an opponent's hand, usually by repeatedly leading the suit.
1) (Verb) To fall under a higher card: "The Q dropped under the K."
2) (Noun) That occurrence itself: "He played for the drop instead of finessing."
A play technique in which a player does not immediately play a card that might take a trick, but plays a small card instead.
1) The partner of the declarer. Dummy's cards are placed face up on the table and played by the declarer. Dummy has few rights and may not participate in choices concerning the play of the hand.
2) The dummy's hand as exposed on the table.
Dummy play
The play of the hand by declarer. The apparent contradiction is due to the fact that declarer plays both declarer's cards and the dummy's.
Dummy reversal
A playing technique in trump contracts that gains extra tricks by ruffing in the hand that began with the longer trumps.
To lose a match deliberately, usually so as to assist another team or pair in the event. A subject of considerable controversy in the 1990s and beyond.
Duplicate bridge
A form of bridge where every deal is played at several tables, by several pairs, and their scores on each deal are subsequently compared. At minimum, two tables (four pairs) are required for a duplicate bridge match. Each entry might be a pair, or a team consisting of two or more pairs; the type of scoring varies accordingly. The hands of each deal are kept in metal or plastic containers called boards that are passed between tables.
Duplication of values
The possession of values in a single suit, in both partners' hands. Usually said of high card values in one hand paired with a singleton or void in partner's hand. Such a holding is normally undesirable: KJ9 facing a void is much less useful than KJ9 facing Q4.


Eastern Scientific
A bidding style that developed in the Eastern United States, particularly the New York region. It is characterized by five-card majors with a forcing one notrump response and limit raises, strong notrump with Jacoby transfers, and strong (but not game forcing) two-over-one responses.
European Bridge League, the official organising body of bridge in Europe.
English Bridge Union, the official organising body of bridge in England.
The play of first the higher, then the lower of two cards of the same suit on separate tricks to encourage or, by prior agreement, to discourage (see upside-down signals) partner's continuation of a suit; or to signal possession of (normally) an even number of cards in the suit at the time the higher card is played.
Acronym for Every Hand An Adventure, a bidding style that emphasizes very weak notrump opening bids (often 10-12 HCP), four-card majors, and undisciplined weak-two bids.
Eight ever, nine never
A Bridge maxim that advises players when to finesse for a missing queen. With eight cards in the suit, always ("ever") finesse; but with nine cards, never finesse, rather play for the queen to drop under the play of the ace and king. Experienced players often ignore this advice in favor of considerations such as the danger hand, combination play, and the known or inferred distribution of other suits.
Acronym for Exclusion Keycard Blackwood, a variant of the Roman Keycard Blackwood, which shows a void in the bid suit and asks partner to exclude the named suit ace if held.
The removal, by playing a suit or suits, of safe exit cards from defenders' hands, normally in preparation for an endplay. The classic (but not the only) example is to leave an endplayed defender with the choice of conceding a ruff and discard or giving declarer a free finesse.
To win a trick by ruffing with a trump lower in rank than an opponent's trump. The Coup en passant is an example of an elopement.
An agreement that the meaning of bids or card signals may change as more information about a deal becomes available. For example, when declarer shows out of a suit, the defenders can tell whether the rank of West's lowest remaining card in the suit is even or odd (and declarer probably does not have that information). The defenders might have agreed that if West's lowest remaining card is even, normal attitude signals will be in effect, but if it is odd, upside-down signals will be used. In such a case, the defenders' agreement is encrypted.
The layout of the cards when just a few tricks remain to be played. In a "four-card ending," each player has four cards left. Such positions can be of special interest because squeezes and other endplays tend to occur near the end of the play.
A play which forces a particular opponent to win a trick, so that that opponent must then make a favorable 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."
1) To win a trick in the opposite hand, thereby giving it the right to lead to the next trick.
2) To make the first call for a partnership after the opponents have bid.
3) To join a bridge competition.
1) A card that allows a particular hand to win a trick that partner or an opponent has led to. Entries are vital to communication.
2) A seating assignment in a bridge competition. Entries designate the participants' initial table number, direction at that table, and (if applicable) section.
Entry-shifting squeeze
A squeeze in which the declarer decides whether to overtake the squeeze card or to let it hold the trick, depending on the play of the intervening opponent.
Entry squeeze
A squeeze that puts pressure on a holding that interferes with declarer's entries.
Equal level conversion
An agreement concerning rebids after take-out doubles. Traditionally, the bid of a new suit by the player who has made a take-out double is considered forcing. Under the equal level conversion agreement, the bid of a new suit by the doubler is not forcing if it is at the same level as advancer's bid. So, equal level conversion means that in the sequence 1 - (Dbl) - P - (2); P - (2), 2 is considered non-forcing.
Cards in one hand that are adjacent in rank and thus have equal trick-taking power.
Escape suit
A long suit to which a bidder can escape if necessary or desirable. The bidder of a comic notrump might run to his long suit if doubled.
To make winners of the remaining cards in a suit by playing or forcing out higher cards.
1) A split with the same number of cards in each hand. A 2-2 split is an even split.
2) Of the number of cards in a suit found in a hand: two cards, four cards, and so on.
A duplicate bridge contest.
Exclusion bid
A bid, such as 2 in the Roman Club system, that shows length in all suits except the one named.
Exclusion Blackwood
An agreement that responder to a Blackwood bid will show the number of aces held outside a particular suit.
Exit card
A card that is used to put a different hand on lead, normally to avoid making a self-destructive lead in another suit.
A term used to describe someone who plays bridge better than the person using the term.
Exposed card
A card whose suit and rank become known through an irregularity. An exposed card may be subject to penalty.
Extra values
Values (in the form of High card points, shortage or cover cards), which are in addition to the values that a player has promised so far in the bidding.


Acronym for Forcing bid
Acronym for one round Forcing bid
1) (Noun) The front of a card; the side that displays its suit and rank.
2) (Verb) To turn a card so that its face is visible to other players.
Face card
A king, queen, or jack. (Compare with honor.)
The adjustment of matchpoint scores to correct for dissimilar conditions. For example, a game played with a Mitchell movement might have an extra N-S pair, causing a bye round for N-S. The top is therefore lower for N-S pairs than for E-W pairs, and the N-S scores are multiplied by a fraction (or "factor") to make them commensurate with the E-W scores.
To be captured by a higher card. See drop.
False preference
A return to partner's first-bid suit despite a longer holding in the second suit. Usually intended to give partner an opportunity for another bid.
False sacrifice
See Phantom sacrifice.
A card played with the intention of deceiving an opponent as to one's true holding. Also, the act of making such a play.
Fast arrival
A style of bidding under which the fewer bids used to reach a contract (usually said of game contracts), the weaker the bidder's hand. Fast arrival holds that 1 - 2; 2 - 4 is weaker than 1 - 2; 2 - 3; 3NT - 4. Compare with slow arrival.
An honor or shortness in a suit. Conventional bids such as splinter bids or D-I are intended to show or elicit features.
(Slang) Short for "fertilizer," a very weak opening bid. A systemic Treatment in strong pass systems.
Acronym for Game Forcing bid
All the players in a bridge event, as in "with the field" to describe an action that most players will take, and "against the field" to describe an unusual action.
Field a psych
Deciding correctly that partner has psyched in the absence of a call that reveals the psych. Sometimes used when that decision is made on the basis of unauthorized information or an undisclosed partnership understanding.
Mid-rank cards that strengthen a suit. See body.
Final contract
The last bid made on a hand.
A technique that attempts to gain a trick or tricks by taking advantage of a favorable lie of the opponents' cards.
1) A long suit (usually 8 cards or more) in two combined hands, that might be used as trumps.
2) General term for two hands that are productive together (i.e., that have at least one fitting suit and few wasted values). Compare with Misfit.
A bid in a suit that shows length and strength in the bid suit plus a fit for partner's suit. Jump shifts in competition are often defined as fit-bids. Compare with Fragment bid and Mixed (definition 2).
Five-card majors
An agreement that an opening bid in spades or hearts promises at least five cards in the suit. The alternative agreement is four-card majors.
1) (Noun) An undeservedly poor result, usually caused by an opponent's error or eccentric play that happens to turn out well.
2) (Verb) To be the victim of a fix: "We were fixed on Board 8."
A conventional opening bid of two diamonds to show 11-15 HCP with 5 hearts and 4 spades.
1) Flat hand: A hand that lacks distributional features such as a singleton, a void, or a very long suit. Often, 4-3-3-3 distribution.
2) Flat board: A deal in duplicate bridge that results in scores across the field that are identical, or nearly so.
1) To be followed by two or three passes. For example, West's spade bid "floated around" to South in 1 - (P) - P.
2) To fail to cover the card led, usually by two consecutive hands. "South floated the Q to East."
Flower movement
An adaptation of the Howell movement in which the players, rather than the boards, progress regularly from table to table. Also known as "Endless Howell."
Follow suit
To play a card of the same suit as the one that was first led to the trick. Failure to follow suit when one can do so constitutes a revoke.
Force to
To bid with the intention of causing the bidding to proceed to a particular level. For example: "In this auction, 2 forced to game," or "My reverse forced to the three-level."
Forcing bid
A bid that, by partnership understanding, requires the bidder's partner to make another bid. A forcing bid is not necessarily a strong bid. It is legal to pass partner's forcing bid, and players occasionally do so if they believe it advantageous on a given hand, but it is damaging to partnership confidence.
Forcing defense
The lead and subsequent continuation of a suit that the defenders believe declarer will have to ruff in the long trump hand. The strategy is to shorten declarer's trump holding so as to leave the defenders in control of the hand. See Tap.
Forcing notrump
An agreement that a 1NT response to a 1 or 1 opening is a forcing bid.
Forcing pass
1) A pass in a competitive auction that requires partner either to make another bid or to double or redouble the opponents' current call. Experienced partnerships often have agreements about the meaning of bidding immediately in contrast to making a forcing pass and then bidding over partner's double (pass and pull).
2) An initial pass when playing a strong pass system.
A tenace.
Fouled board
A board whose cards are not distributed as they were when first played, due to returning the cards to their slots erroneously.
Four-card majors
An agreement that an opening bid of 1 or 1 promises at least four cards in the suit bid. The usual alternative is five-card majors. The four-card major agreement was standard during the first four decades of contract bridge, but has since given way to five-card majors in "standard" systems such as 2/1 game forcing and Standard American. It is used in the Blue Team Club and EHAA.
Four-deal bridge
See Chicago.
1) A player needed to complete a table, usually said of rubber bridge.
2) Of four-card suit length: for example, Q987 is referred to as "queen-fourth."
Fourth hand
The fourth player with an opportunity to bid, or to play to a trick.
Fourth suit forcing
1) The initial use of a bid of the fourth suit as forcing to some level.
2) An agreement that the partnership's bid of the fourth suit, in addition to its forcing nature, is possibly artificial.
A holding of three or even two cards in a suit, thus not long enough to suggest as a trump suit. A partnership may treat the bid of a fragment as a means of implying shortness in another suit (see fragment bid). A fragment may also be bid after the single raise of a major as a help suit game try.
Fragment bid
A second-round jump bid (usually a double jump) that by agreement shows a fit with partner's last-bid suit and shortness in another suit. Under this agreement, in 1 - 1; 3 the bid of 3 is a fragment bid, showing a fit for hearts and a singleton or void in diamonds. The suit of the fragment bid is often three cards long. Compare with splinter bid.
(Also, "freak hand.") A hand with a very long suit or suits. Most would regard a hand with two six card suits as a freak.
Free bid
A bid that is made when a pass would still allow partner to make a bid. Normally used of a bid that is made after partner has opened the bidding and RHO has overcalled. Compare with Negative free bid.
Free finesse
A position in which a player leads up to an opponent's tenace, solving that opponent's possible guess. The term is normally used when the player is forced to make that lead.
A frozen suit is one that neither side can play without damage to its own holding in the suit. Declarer can sometimes duck the defense's lead to freeze the suit. The following suit is frozen:
Q 8
J 5 K 3
A 10


Gambling 3NT
An opening bid of 3NT. The bidder hopes to make the contract by means of a long minor suit rather than by a preponderance of high cards.
A contract, bid and made, worth 100 points or more. The undoubled game contracts are 3NT (40 for the first trick + 30 each for the second and third); 4 and 4 in the majors (4 tricks × 30 points per trick); 5 and 5 in the minors (5 tricks × 20 points per trick). Game can also be made via a doubled or redoubled contract: e.g., 2 doubled is worth 2 × (2 tricks × 30 points per trick) = 120 points. The pair bidding and making the game is awarded a bonus. See Bridge scoring.
Game force
A bid that asks partner not to pass before the partnership's bidding has reached game (or the opponents have been doubled at a level high enough to compensate). Some treatments relax the requirement: for example, the agreement that in the sequence 1M - 2m, the 2m response is a game force unless the suit is rebid. So, in 1 - 2; 2 - 3, 3 would cancel the game-forcing message of the 2 bid.
Game try
A bid, often in a side suit, which invites the partner to bid a game if he has extra values in the context of the prior bidding. A help-suit game try is made in the suit where one hopes that partner holds cover cards. A short-suit game try is made in the suit where one hopes that the partnership has no duplication of values.
Said of a card or cards that have been established.
Goren system
A system of bidding, dominant in the United States from the 1940s through the 1960s, based on the Culbertson system. The principal difference between the two systems was in hand evaluation: Culbertson used honor tricks to assess a hand's strength whereas Goren used High card points.
Involves leading or following suit with a high card which, although unable to win the trick or promote anything, nevertheless pins declarer in the wrong hand. This type of play can be made for a variety of reasons.
 AJ6  83

When declarer leads low to the king, you can win and, if necessary return the jack to pin declarer in the dummy. This gauging play will succeed when partner has a trump and declarer can´t get off the dummy or when you have a finesseable trump position and declarer can't get to hand in time for the finesse.

A style of dealing, usually in rubber and Chicago games, where the cards are not thoroughly shuffled between deals and are dealt in groups. It results in "wild" card distributions.
Grand coup
A trump coup in which the cards ruffed in the long trump hand are already winners.
Grand slam
A contract to win all thirteen tricks. Bidding and making a grand slam scores significant bonus points.
Grand slam force (GSF)
A method of determining whether the partnership holds the top trump honors when the bid of a grand slam is a possibility. In its original form, the GSF was initiated with a bid of 5NT, asking partner to bid a grand slam with two of the top three honors in the trump suit. Depending on the prior bidding, other bids are often used in place of 5NT, and there is a variety of schemes for responding to the GSF. See Josephine.
Grosvenor gambit
A play that creates no direct advantage and might lose. Its principal features are that an opponent will not suspect that such an inept play has been made, and that once the opponent realizes what has occurred, he will be frustrated and angry (and therefore less effective) during subsequent hands. The ploy was first described in a satiric story by Frederick B. Turner in the June 1973 issue of The Bridge World.
A holding that prevents an opponent from taking a trick or tricks. See stopper, guard squeeze.


1) The 13 cards held by one player on a deal.
2) A deal or board.
3) Ordinally, a player counting in rotation from dealer or first hand. For example, "Third hand bid 1."
Hand pattern
See distribution.
Hand record
A document that lists the cards in each hand of every board played in a duplicate bridge session. Often, hand records also list contracts each partnership can make with double dummy declarer play and double dummy defense.
Help-suit game try
The bid of a side suit after a single raise, used to help partner evaluate game prospects when opener's hand is roughly a trick stronger than a minimum opening. For example, after 1 - 2, opener might rebid 3 with a side club suit or a strong club fragment. The bid tells partner where high cards will be most helpful, and requests partner to take positive action, such a direct jump to game, with strength in that suit. Otherwise, the bid requests partner to sign off (in this example, by bidding 3). See short-suit game try and game try.
A brief pause before a bid or play, considered somewhat shorter than a Huddle.
High-low signal
See Echo.
High card
1) An honor card.
2) The highest ranking card in a suit at any point during the play.
High card points (HCP)
A method for evaluating a hand's strength, where every honor card is assigned a numeric value. See Hand evaluation.
1) To keep declarer to a particular number of tricks, usually the number required to make the contract.
2) To have in one's hand a particular card or set of cards.
3) (Of a card) To win a trick although a higher card is outstanding.
Hold up
1) (Verb) To defer taking a winning card until an advantageous point in the hand, usually in reference to tricks that the opponents have led to. There are various purposes for holding up a winner, but it is frequently done to force the opponents to use their entries too soon.
2) (Noun) The act of holding up a winner.
1) The cards in a player's hand at a particular point in the play (often, at the start of the play).
2) The cards in a specific suit in a player's hand.
Honor or honour (card)
An ace, king, queen, jack or ten.
Honor or honour bonus
At rubber bridge and Chicago, a scoring bonus. The bonus is 100 points for one hand holding four of the five trump suit honors. The bonus is 150 points for all five trump suit honors, or all four aces in a NT contract.
Honor or honour tricks (also known as quick tricks)
A method of hand evaluation used in the Culbertson system, which assigns point values to honors and combinations of honors. AK is two honor tricks, AQ is 1½ honor tricks, A or KQ is 1 honor trick, and Kx is ½ honor trick.
(Slang) Finesse (noun or verb).
House player
An employee of a bridge club who is available as a fourth.
Howell movement
A pairs tournament movement where each pair typically plays against all or most of the other pairs, and there is a single set of winners. Most of the pairs will move to a different position at the end of each round.
1) (Noun) A pause prior to a bid or play of longer than usual duration.
2) (Verb) To take that lengthy pause.
Acronym for Highly Unusual Methods.


(Said of a card) Available as a discard; not required for purposes such as guarding the opponents' suit or interfering with their communications.
International Match Point(s).: 1) (Noun) A method of scoring in a team match that compares a result on a board to that obtained at the other table and that converts the difference to IMPs using a table defined by WBF. The IMP scale's effect is to reduce the influence of very large differences, thus making it less likely that the outcome of an entire match will depend on one board only.
2) (Verb) To perform the IMP score conversion.
A breach of ethical conduct or etiquette; an action that violates the Proprieties.
The form of duplicate bridge that uses IMPs as a scoring method, as distinct from a game scored at matchpoints.
In back of
Irrelevant K76

card or holding that is to the left of, or behind, or over another. To say that the A is in back of the K is to say that the ace is to the left of the king, or behind it, or over it; so, the A is in a position to directly capture the K.

A form of duplicate bridge, scored at matchpoints, in which each player is paired with a different partner on each round.
Informatory double
A double that is intended to convey information rather than to exact a penalty from the opponents. Such doubles include the takeout double, the negative double, the support double, the responsive double and the lead-directing double, although the latter is intended to convey information and to penalize.
In front of
K76 Irrelevant

A card or holding that is to the right of or under another. To say that the A is in front of the K is to say that the ace is to the right of the king, or under it, and normally cannot capture the K if it is guarded.

Insufficient bid
A bid that is not higher than the immediately preceding bid, and therefore illegal.
(Slang) The bonus for making a doubled or redoubled contract is sometimes referred to as the "insult" or as being "for the insult".
Insurance bid
A bid, usually a sacrifice bid, intended to keep the opponents from playing their (presumably optimum) contract. The bidder hopes that insurance premium – the penalty due to the sacrifice bid – will be less than the damage from allowing the opponents to make their contract.
A call, such as an overcall or an initial preempt, that is intended to make it more difficult for the opponents to bid to their best contract.
1) Nines, eights and sevens are sometimes termed "intermediate cards." See body.
2) A jump overcall that by agreement may be made with a hand of opening bid strength and a long suit is termed an "intermediate jump overcall."
3) An opening two-bid that by agreement may be made with values just short of those required for a game-forcing opening bid is termed an "intermediate two-bid."
 Q6  J1072

A technique that involves successive finesses against both opponents, typically trying to pickup two or three important cards.

 KJ2  107

The standard method to attack this suit is to play small to the A and small to the Q, but if you are sure that West has the Q this will not work. To take an intrafinesse, you start by playing low to the 8 and then run the Q.

 ?  ?

Type of intrafinesse safety play. The idea is that a specific intermediate singleton can be squashed, otherwise all is a wash (if a certain minimum number of losers can be afforded). With this combination the only way for six tricks is to find a doubleton QJ. However, with such a good body it cost nothing (assuming no 5-0 break) to run the 10, which gives sligthly more than 79% chance of 5 tricks. If West has a singleton queen, jack or nine, you will win in dummy and lead to your spot on the way back. However, if East has a stiff 9 then you legitimately lose only one trick.

 ?  ?

The idea is the same here: run the 9 in case East has stiff 8. You take four tricks nearly 82% of the time.

Inverted minors
A treatment that uses the single raise of a minor suit as strong, and a double raise as preemptive.
A bid which invites the partner to bid on to game or slam if he has extra values. It is a non-forcing bid by definition. Compare semi-forcing bid.
International Popular Bridge Monthly, a British bridge magazine.
Iron Duke, Not through the
A hackneyed phrase that describes the play of a high card by a player whose high card holding is led through; or, that player's statement.
A breach of procedure, as described in the Laws and Proprieties, in bidding or play. If one is available, a director should be called to the table to make a ruling.
(Said of a menace card) To isolate a menace in squeeze play is to arrange that only one opponent can guard one of declarer's threat suits. The play is conceptually similar to transferring a control.


Jacoby transfers, or simply "transfers"
A convention initiated by responder following partner's notrump opening bid that requests opener rebid in the suit ranked just above that bid by responder, i.e. a response in diamonds requests a rebid in hearts and a response in hearts requests a rebid in spades; other responses may carry other meanings; designed to make the stronger hand declarer.
Jacoby 2NT
By agreement, a forcing raise of a major suit opening bid, used in conjunction with limit jump raises. Opener is requested to rebid in a suit where he holds a singleton so that responder can better evaluate the fit.
Jam the bidding
(Slang) To preempt.
The discard of an honor, often by a defender, and usually to unblock a suit.
An alternative term, popular in Europe, for the grand slam force. The convention was developed by Ely Culbertson, and popularized in a late 1930s Bridge World article by Josephine Culbertson.
Journalist leads
Opening lead convention, mainly against notrump contracts, designed to show both what the leader has, and to request specific partner actions in return.
Jump bid
A bid made at a level higher than the lowest level at which that suit could be legally bid.
Jump overcall
An overcall made at higher than the minimally legal level: for example, 1 - (2). In the 1930s, jump overcalls were treated as strong bids. They are now more frequently treated as weak, preemptive bids.
Jump preference
A preference to partner's first-bid suit, made at a level higher than the minimally legal level. In the following sequence, 3 is a jump preference: 1 - 1; 2 - 3. In XXth century, the jump preference was treated as invitational except in support of opener's minor, when it was treated as forcing. In XXIth, however, most experts treat all three-level jump preferences as invitational following opener's one-level new suit rebid: e.g., 1 - 1; 1 - 3
Jump raise
A raise of partner's suit one level higher than the minimum legal raise. For example, 1 - 3 or 1 - 1; 3
Jump rebid
A rebid of one's original suit, one level higher than necessary, usually showing a six-card suit: for example, 1 - 1; 3. The range of strength shown by a jump rebid is a matter of partnership agreement: some treat it as a one-round force, others (particularly if playing Kaplan-Sheinwold and the rebid suit is a minor) play it as only a little weaker than a game-forcing opening bid.
Jump shift
A jump bid of a new suit.
1) As a rebid by opener (e.g. 1 – 1; 3) or responder (e.g. 1 – 1; 1NT – 3), it indicates extra strength
2) As direct response (e.g. 1 – 2): usually, a very strong hand. However, another treatment (weak jump-shifts, requiring prior partnership agreement) uses the bid to show a weak hand and a long suit.


Kaplan-Sheinwold (K-S)
A bidding system that uses five card majors and the weak notrump.
Key-card Blackwood
An "ace-asking" convention that counts five keycards, four aces plus the king of the apparent trump suit. Commonly there is a follow-up to ask about the queen of trumps, effectively sixth keycard.
A spectator.
An ace asking convention initiated by the first step above four of the agreed trump suit. See Useful space principle.
Kiss of death
At pairs, plus or minus 200. A score of minus 200, down two undoubled and vulnerable, or down one doubled and vulnerable, is a likely bottom against a part score by the opponents. A score of plus 200 from making five-odd of a major after stopping in a partial, is a likely bottom against the game contracts bid by other pairs holding the same cards.
A type of team-of-four tournament in which the winning teams from each round advance to the next. The losing team is removed from play (but see repechage). In a double knockout a team is removed from play only after losing two matches.
Knockout squeeze
A type of squeeze that operates in part against the defender's trump holding, when the defender threatens to win a plain suit trick and then lead a trump, thus reducing declarer's ruffing tricks. It is usual to term this play a knockout squeeze when the squeezed defender is second to play to the trick, and to term it a backwash squeeze when the squeezed defender is fourth to play.
Kock-Werner Redouble
A rescue mechanism employed when partner's bid is doubled for penalties. Invented by Rudolf Kock and Einar Werner from Sweden. See also SOS Redouble.


Last Train
A conventional bid that is one step above the current bid and one step below game in a trump suit. It is a mild slam try and conveys no information about the suit bid. After 1 - 3; 4, 4 is Last Train, invites slam, and does not necessarily show a diamond control.
Late play
A board that is played after the remainder of the event has finished, usually because of slow play or an irregularity.
Law of Total Tricks (LTT, "The Law")
A guideline stating that the total number of cards held by both sides in their longest trump fits equals the total number of tricks available to both sides in their best trump contracts. See Hand evaluation.
The Law is sometimes interpreted to mean that one side can profitably contract for a number of tricks equal to its own combined trump length; for example, compete to 3 with a nine-card spade fit.
Laws of Contract Bridge and Laws of Duplicate Bridge
The definitions, procedures and remedies that define how rubber bridge and duplicate bridge are played. The Laws include the Proprieties, which discuss the game's customs and etiquette — often far more important than procedural matters. The Laws apply worldwide. Individual sponsoring organizations, such as the ACBL and the EBL, establish their own regulations for play, which may amplify the Laws but may not conflict with them.
One important difference between the laws of rubber bridge (contract) and duplicate bridge is that rubber players are expected to deal with irregularities themselves while duplicate players are expected to call the director.
A contract that can be made on any rational line of play.
1) The first card played to a trick, which dictates the suit that others must play if able to do so (see follow suit).
2) The hand that is entitled to lead to the next trick is said to be "on lead" or to "have the lead."
3) See opening lead.
Lead-directing double
A double by the partner of the prospective opening leader that requests the lead of a particular suit. Experienced partnerships usually agree on a set of suit priorities, such as opening leader's bid suit, doubler's bid suit, dummy's first bid suit, or a suit that dummy has just bid conventionally.
Lead out of turn
Playing a card when it was another player's turn to lead. Subject to penalty.
Lead through strength
A maxim that advises a defender to lead a suit in which LHO has high card strength, forcing declarer to play high or low before third hand plays. The corollary is that a defender is advised to lead up to weakness in the fourth hand.
To make a jump bid.
Leave in
To pass, often used of passing when partner's double was followed by a pass.
Lebensohl (Leb)
Responder's bid of 2NT as a puppet to 3 in preparation for a sign-off. Normally used after an overcall of partner's 1NT opening, or after a double of partner's weak two bid. Also used after opponents weak two bid and partner's balancing take-out double.
(Slang) game. Normally used in reference to rubber bridge. "A leg up" means being vulnerable vs. non-vulnerable opponents. "Cut off their leg" means becoming vulnerable vs. opponents who are already vulnerable.
The number of cards held in a suit.
1) The number of tricks that (when added to the book of six tricks) a bid or contract states will be taken. For example, a bid at the four level contracts to take (6 + 4) = 10 tricks.
2) The property of a contract that states whether it is at the part-score, game or slam level.
Slang expression for double
Left-hand opponent
(Adv.) To enter the auction with relatively low values (for example, to "open light" or "overcall light"). To do so can be either a matter of tactics or of general style.
Lightner double
A penalty double, usually of a slam contract, that requests partner to choose an unusual suit for the opening lead. This criterion tends to regard as typical (and thus to exclude) a trump lead, the lead of defenders' bid suit, and the lead of an unbid suit.
In the bidding, to define a hand's strength with some degree of precision.
Limit jump raise
An invitational jump raise of a major suit, such as 1 - 3. Limit jump raises usually show at least three-card support for partner's major suit and around 10-11 HCP or the distributional equivalent.
Limit raise
Any call which invites partner to bid game in a suit partner has bid, previously. A limit raise promises trump support and hand strength about a king less than a minimum strength game force.
1) (with "the"): A line on a bridge scorepad that separates points for tricks that count toward game (see Below the line) from those that do not (see Above the line).
2) On a given hand, the play strategy that is adopted by declarer or by the defenders.
3) Bidding: See Up the line and Down the line.
1) (Noun) A contract that is certain to succeed.
2) (Verb) To force a particular hand onto lead such that it cannot relinquish the lead unscathed.
Little Old Lady (pronounced El-Oh-El). A facetious reference to a seemingly weak player.
Long cards
Cards of the same suit, remaining in one hand, after all the other cards in that suit have been played from the other hands.
Long hand
In a partnership, the hand with the longer trumps.
Long suit
1) In a hand, the suit with the greatest number of cards. Seldom used of a suit with fewer than five cards.
2) Any suit of unusual length.
A card which apparently cannot take a trick.
Loser on loser
A card play tactic that attempts to create an advantage by playing two losers, often of different suits, on the same trick. Loser-on-loser play has many applications, including the creation of a ruffing position for declarer, the avoidance of overruffs by the defense, and interference with the opponents' communications.
Losing trick count (LTC)
A method of hand evaluation based on counting losers.
No score.
(Adjective) A card that is not expected to take a trick.
Low-high signal
On defense, to play a higher card, having already played a lower one, so as to convey information to partner. Compare with echo.


A defensive card that, if retained, is a liability on one line of play, but that, if played, will be missed on another line of play.
Major penalty card
A card that is exposed by a defender prematurely and through intentional play; or, an honor card that is exposed prematurely even if accidentally. A major penalty card remains face up on the table to be played at the first legal opportunity, including as a discard. Compare with minor penalty card.
Major suit
The heart suit and the spade suit are major suits. Declarer scores 30 points for each trick taken in an undoubled contract with a major suit as trump. Because game requires at least 100 points for tricks bid and made, both 4 and 4 (or 2 doubled and 2 doubled) constitute game contracts. Compare with minor suits.
Major tenace
The highest and the third highest remaining cards in a suit, held in the same hand. For example, the AQ before spades have been played. Tenaces define the structure of finesses. See minor tenace.
(Verb) To take as many tricks as a contract calls for.
(Adjective) An unsophisticated game, approach to bidding, or line of play.
To be known to hold a particular card: "He was marked with the Q."
Marked finesse
A finesse for a card that is marked with a particular opponent.
The highest card of a suit that is yet to be played.
Units awarded for successful performance in a bridge tournament.
A series of hands played by two teams in knockout events. One pair from each team sits North-South at one table and the other pair sits East-West at the other table.
A type of scoring in duplicate bridge. A pair's score on a given board is one matchpoint for every pair they outscored and one-half matchpoint for every pair they tied. (Outside the US these awards are often doubled, so as to avoid the award of fractional matchpoints.) See comparative scoring.
The layout of the cards that play pivotal roles in certain endplays, most typically squeezes.
Maxims of bridge
A brief expression of a general principle - most have some validity but none are true in all circumstances.
Maximal overcall double
By prior agreement, a game-invitational double of an overcall that leaves no room for a bid, when a bid would invite game. For example, after 1 - (2) - 2 - (3) there is no room below 3 for a game invitation (and a bid of 3 itself would be taken as merely competitive), so a double is used as a game invitation.
See Suit preference signal.
A card that requires an opponent to retain a higher card in the same suit, as a guard. The term is typically used of squeeze play.
Merrimac coup
The lead of an unsupported high card to force an opponent to use an entry before it can be used effectively. Named for a ship sunk during the Spanish-American War, to block the entrance to a harbor. Sometimes confused with, and spelled as, the Merrimack, the American Civil War ship that fought the Monitor. See Deschapelles coup.
Michaels cue bid
By prior agreement, an immediate cue bid of an opening bid, such as 1 - (2), for two-suited takeout. The cue bid of a minor suit shows length in both major suits. The cue bid of a major suit shows length in the other major suit and in an unspecified minor suit.
A simplified form of contract bridge designed to expose newcomers to declarer and defensive playing techniques without the burden of learning a detailed bridge bidding system.
Minor penalty card
A card below the rank of an honor card that is exposed by a defender prematurely but accidentally, via mishap. A minor penalty card remains face up on the table until played. The minor penalty card must be played before any other card below honor rank in the same suit; however, an honor in the same suit may be played before the minor penalty card is played. Compare with major penalty card.
Minor suit
The club suit and the diamond suit are minor suits. Declarer scores 20 points for each trick taken in an undoubled contract with a minor suit as trump. Because game requires at least 100 points for tricks bid and made, both 5 and 5 (or 3 doubled and 3 doubled) constitute game contracts. Compare with major suits.
Minor tenace
The second-highest and the fourth-highest (or lower) remaining cards in a suit, held in the same hand. For example, the KJ before spades have been played. See major tenace.
Identical hand distributions: "North and South had mirror distributions."
A bid that fails to describe the hand properly. Often a misdescription of a hand's shape, as distinct from an overbid or underbid.
Two partnership hands, neither of which can support the other's long suit. For example, a red Two-suiter opposite a black Two-suiter constitutes a misfit.
Mitchell movement
A pairs tournament movement in which the pairs sitting in one direction (usually North-South) stay in the same seats throughout, but after each round the pairs sitting in the other direction (usually East-West) move to the next higher numbered table, and the boards are moved to the next lower numbered table. Unless an arrow switch is performed, the effect is to create two events, a "North-South" contest and an "East-West" contest, with separate winners.
1) Of an event: contested by pairs or teams in which every pair comprises one male and one female player.
2) In the auction: A mixed raise is, by agreement, a jump cue bid of opener's suit in support of partner's overcall. It tends to show four card support for partner's suit and the strength of a good single raise. In 1 - (1) - 1 - (3), 3 is a mixed raise.
Morton's fork coup
A play that forces the defense to choose between taking a high card that will establish extra winners for declarer, and ducking the trick, after which the high card cannot be cashed.
In a tournament, the scheme for the progression of players and boards from table to table, arranged so that a pair does not play the same boards twice, or meet the same opponents twice etc. The most common movements for pairs tournaments are Howell and Mitchell.
Moysian fit
A 4-3 trump fit. Named after Alphonse "Sonny" Moyse Jr., long-time editor of The Bridge World, who wrote and published a variety of articles that promoted the virtues of such fits, and bidding styles designed to locate them.
An ambiguous opening bid of 2 that promises one of several different types of hand.


A call which indicates either: (1) a willingness to play the contract named, (2) a suit bid suggesting length or strength in that suit, (3) a notrump bid that suggests a balanced hand, (4) a double that suggests the ability to defeat the opponent's contract, (5) a redouble to suggest that the contract can be made in the face of a double by opponents, or (6) a pass that suggests weakness, satisfaction with the last bid made or no desire to make a further call. Compare with Artificial.
Nederlandse Bridge Bond (Dutch Bridge League).
Negative double
A conventional call used by responder in a competitive auction to denote possession of at least one unbid suit.
Negative free bid
Responder's suit bid following an opening bid and an overcall. Nonforcing by prior agreement.
Negative inference
An inference based on something that did not happen. For example, if a defender does not overruff, declarer might conclude that he could not overruff. Or if declarer does not ruff a loser in dummy, a defender might conclude that declarer does not have a loser in that suit.
Negative response
A bid that shows insufficient values for a stronger response. For example, a 2 response to a forcing 2 opening bid is often negative, as is a 1 response to a Precision 1.
Negative slam double
In a competitive auction, the double of a voluntarily bid slam to show no defensive tricks, and therefore to suggest a sacrifice.
Neuberg formula
In duplicate pairs tournaments, a method of fairly adjusting match point scores when not all boards have been played the same number of times. It gives equal weight to each board by calculating the expected number of match points that would have been earned if the board had been played the full number of times.
New minor forcing
By agreement, after 1m - 1M; 1NT, a bid of two of the unbid minor as artificial and forcing, often requesting three card support for responder's bid major or four cards in the unbid major. Sometimes called PLOB.
New suit
A suit that has not yet been bid.
No bid
An alternative to "pass". Used in the United Kingdom, where "pass" might be mis-heard as "hearts." Regarded as improper in the US.
Non-forcing bid
A bid which partner may pass. See also forcing bid, invitation, sign-off.
The state of vulnerability in which both bonuses and penalties are smaller. Therefore, less is at stake for a non-vulnerable pair investigating game or slam, or that is contesting the part score, than for a vulnerable pair. Also, "not vulnerable."
Nonadverse suit
A suit which has not yet been bid by either opponent.
None vulnerable
In rubber bridge, the state of the score in which neither pair has made a game. In duplicate bridge, the vulnerability condition under which neither pair is designated as vulnerable for the board in play. Also, "neither side vulnerable."
One of the partnerships designated on duplicate boards.
Notrump (No Trump)
A contract, or a bid that names a contract without a trump suit. Notrump is the highest ranking strain. Wikipedia: WikiProject Contract bridge deprecates the two-word "No Trump".
Notrump distribution or No Trump distribution or NT distribution
Balanced distribution.
Non-Playing captain.
Nuisance bid
An interference bid whose principal aim is not to preempt or to compete for the contract, but nevertheless to upset the smooth flow of the opponents' bidding sequence.
(With "go for") A very large penalty: "He went for a number." Often, "telephone number," alluding to the size of that number if regarded as a quantity.


1) Of a finesse: A duck, made in the hope that a high card will fall. For example, declarer holds K432 opposite dummy's Q765. The 2 is led to the Q, which wins. Declarer now leads dummy's 5 and RHO follows with the J. Declarer ducks, hoping that LHO must now play the A. The play is obligatory because given the first heart trick, no other play can yield three tricks.
2) Of a falsecard: A falsecard that, like an obligatory finesse, cannot lose and might gain. An example is the play of the card that one is known to hold (for example, the play of a queen after it has been successfully finessed).
Specifying a level. To make 4 is to make four-odd.
Odd-even discards
A defensive carding scheme under which the play of an odd-numbered card is encouraging and that of an even-numbered card is discouraging. The rank of the card may be used to show suit preference.
Odd tricks
The number of tricks above six (the book) that are taken by declarer.
1) (Slang) Down, or set. "We're off two" means "We have made two fewer tricks than our contract."
2) (Slang) offside.
Off shape
Having a distribution that does not quite conform to that suggested by a bid, such as an opening bid of 1NT with 2=2=6=3 shape, or a weak-two bid with a seven card suit.
Off the top
Said of some number of tricks that can be lost or won without gaining or losing the lead. "There were eleven tricks off the top in spades," to mean that declarer could take eleven tricks without interruption; or, "We're down off the top," to mean that the defenders can take at least four immediate tricks against 4.
Unfavorably located, from the point of view of the player taking a finesse. If East holds the K and North the AQ, from South's point of view the K is offside. Cf. onside.
A world bridge championship held every four years under the auspices of the World Bridge Federation.
1) Makeable. A contract that can be made is said to be on.
2) Onside.
3) (Suffix) In rubber bridge, preceded by a number that indicates progress toward game. If one has 40 points Below the line, one has 40-on.
One club system
A bidding system that uses a bid of 1 as artificial and forcing, but not necessarily strong.
One over one
To an opening one-bid, any one-level response in a suit; that is, one of a higher suit in response to opening one of a lower suit. Contrast two over one.
One round force
A bid that requests partner to ensure that the bidding continue for at least one more round. If partner's RHO bids, partner may pass, but is otherwise expected to bid.
A hand with only one long suit, normally used to describe a hand with a six card or longer suit.
Favorably located, from the point of view of the player taking a finesse. If West holds the K and North the AQ, then from South's point of view the K is onside. Cf. Offside.
1) In the auction: To start the bidding by making the first call other than Pass.
2) Of a room used at a team event: allowing spectators. Normally at least one of two rooms is closed to spectators.
3) Of an event: not restricting entries in some way that is implicit. So participation in an open event is unrestricted in at least one respect.
a) not by invitation only (invitational)
b) not by qualification in a preceding event, or qualifier
c) not by representation of geographic zones, nations, cities, clubs, etc; or requirement that Pair or Team members share geographical residence, club membership, etc (national, etc)
d) not restricted by age, sex, or playing record.
Open has the last sense (d) in the names of World Bridge Federation events but not generally. The WBF Categories are Youth (with subcategories), Seniors, Women, and Open. For the WBF transnational means open in sense (c).
The player who makes the opening bid.
Opener's rebid
Opener's second bid.
Opening bid
The first bid in the auction.
Opening lead
The first card led by defenders. The dummy is not faced until after the opening lead, which makes the choice of opening lead more difficult than other leads. The opening lead can determine the outcome of the deal.
Opening leader
The declarer's LHO, who always makes the opening lead.
A member of the other partnership or team.
Optimum contract
In unopposed bidding, the contract that cannot be improved upon by further bidding, nor could have been improved upon by taking a different line in earlier bidding. The contract is regarded as optimum because it offers the maximum score while minimizing the risk of failure.
Our hand
(Informal) A hand on which "our" side can take more tricks than their side.
Out-of-the-blue cue bid
See Advance cue bid.
See In back of.
1) (Noun) A bid that overstates a hand's strength.
2) (Verb) To bid voluntarily to a contract that the partnership cannot make.
3) (Verb) To bid too high, irrespective of the result.
(Slang) Having overbid.
The first bid made by one of opener's opponents unless they intervene first by a double.
The player making an overcall. Compare with advancer.
To ruff with a higher trump following a prior ruff on the same trick.
To play a card higher than the winning card played by partner, unnecessary to win the trick but necessary to gain the lead.
A trick taken by declarer beyond the number of tricks required by the contract.


Deck of cards.
Two players playing bridge together as partners. Partnership.
A form of duplicate bridge in which each pair competes separately, as distinct from team and individual events. Pairs events are normally scored by matchpoints.
(Slang) A term used to describe someone who does not play bridge as well as the person using the term.
A defence to a Strong Club whereby two-level bids show the suit bid or the other 3 suits.
The product of the best bidding and play (of a given deal) by both sides.
Par contest
A competition that uses composed deals, designed to test each pair's bidding and its card play. After the bidding, pairs are instructed to play (or defend) a specified contract. Results are compared not with other tables but with the predetermined par result.
Par contract
That contract which results from optimal bidding by both sides, and which neither side could improve by further bidding.
(Slang) Partner.
1) A trick score less than 100, obtained by making a contract.
2) The contract that results in that trick score.
3) In rubber bridge, a total of fewer than 100 points below the line.
A part-score.
Partial elimination
An endplay in which declarer is unable to remove all possible safe defensive exit cards, and must hope that the remaining cards are so distributed that the defense cannot get off lead safely.
The other member of the partnership.
1) See pair.
2) Two partners who play together for an extended period.
3) The complete set of agreements entered into by a pair.
Partnership bidding
Sequences in which the opponents do not compete.
Partnership desk
A service, provided by some tournaments, that locates a partner for a player who does not yet have one.
Partnership understanding
An agreement between partners, reached prior to the beginning of play, concerning the meaning of a call or of carding.
1) A call indicating that the player does not wish to change the contract named by the preceding bid, double or redouble. To pass transfers the right to make the next call to passer's LHO, unless it is the third consecutive pass, which ends the bidding (but see Passed out).
2) To play, from third hand, a lower card than the one led to the trick. If declarer leads the J, LHO plays a small heart, and declarer plays the 2 from dummy's AQ2, declarer has passed the J.
Pass and pull
To make a forcing pass and on the next round remove partner's double by bidding.
Passed hand
A player who passed instead of opening the bidding. The inference is that a passed hand does not hold the values required to open the bidding (unless playing a strong pass bidding system).
Passed out
1) A deal is passed out if the auction begins with four consecutive passes. There is no contract, no play of the hand, no score. The players proceed to the next deal.
2) A bid, double, or redouble (an action) is passed out if it is followed by three passes, which end the auction. The last action identifies the contract and the play follows.
Passive defense
An approach to defending a hand that emphasizes waiting for tricks that declarer must eventually lose, getting off lead safely, and avoiding plays that will set up tricks for declarer. Often indicated when neither declarer nor dummy has a running side suit or when the declaring side may have over-reached in the bidding. Contrast with Active.
A bid made in response to partner's ambiguous call. For example, South opens with 1 and West bids 2, by prior agreement showing hearts and a minor. North passes and East bids 3, expecting West to pass if he holds clubs and to correct to diamonds otherwise.
Pass out
1) To make the third of three consecutive passes following a bid, double or redouble.
2) To make the fourth of four consecutive passes. Thus, a bid cannot have been made and the table progresses to the next deal.
3) (Adjective) The seat where a pass would end the auction.
See distribution.
Pearson points
High card points plus number of spades held. See Hand evaluation.
1) A score awarded to the defense when declarer's contract goes down. The size of the penalty depends on the number of tricks that declarer was set, the vulnerability, and whether the contract was doubled, or redoubled. See Score.
2) A remedy assigned by a director to redress damage done by an infraction. The penalty for a minor, procedural infraction might be some number of tricks, matchpoints or IMPs, or disallowing a particular bid or play. A more serious violation of the game's Proprieties may be imposed by barring the offender from an event, a portion of an event, or from organized bridge.
Penalty card
A card, incorrectly exposed by the defense, whose subsequent proper play is governed by certain rules. See major penalty card and minor penalty card.
Penalty double
A call that doubles penalties if opponents fail to make their currently bid contract. Rewards are also doubled, should the contract succeed.
Penalty pass
The pass of an informatory double, to convert it to a penalty double.
Percentage play
A play that is chosen because the mathematics of suit distribution suggests that it is more likely to succeed than an alternative line. Usually said of play in a single suit rather than the hand as a whole.
(Slang; chiefly British) See Echo. The term is said to derive from Blue Peter, a nautical signal.
Phantom pair
In a pairs movement, if there is an odd number of pairs, then in each round one pair will have to sit out. The missing pair that they would have played is known as the phantom pair.
Phantom sacrifice
A sacrifice bid against a contract that the opponents would not have made. Also, False sacrifice.
(Slang) A hand that is so easy it plays itself. "Pianola" is a trademarked brand of player piano (a piano that plays automatically).
Pick up
1) (Verb) To run a suit without losing a trick in it.
2) (Adjective) Said of a partner who completes a pair, or of a pair that completes a team, just prior to the start of an event.
3) (Adjective) A pick-up slip is one on which the result of a deal is recorded for the purpose of comparative scoring.
The lead of a high card from one hand to capture a singleton of lower rank in an opponent's hand.
1) A spot card.
2) A suit symbol (, , , ) on a card.
To discard.
1) (Adjective) Of the suit that both defenders must guard in a double squeeze.
2) (Verb) In party bridge, to change partners while remaining at the same table.
3a) (Verb) In duplicate bridge, to play one round in a given direction, and the next round in the opposite direction at the same table
3b) (Noun) In duplicate bridge, a pivot table is a table where each pair will perform a pivot. This can only happen in a Howell movement, or another similar movement, where players move between East-West and North-South during the course of the game.
A French, whist-like card game whose scoring foreshadowed that used in contract bridge.
Plain suit
A suit that is not trump; a side suit.
1) (Noun) The stage of a deal when players attempt to take tricks. The declarer tries to take at least as many tricks as the contract calls for, and the defenders try to prevent that outcome.
2) (Verb) To contribute a card to a trick, either by displaying its face (as in duplicate bridge) or by placing it face up on the table (as in rubber bridge).
Play for
To assume that the opponents have a particular distribution or holding, and to plan and conduct the play on that basis.
1) (Of a contract) A rational, if not necessarily optimal, choice of strain and level.
2) (Of an agreement) Leading to an acceptable result, if not in the best fashion.
Playing tricks
Cards, such as long cards, that will take tricks (usually, for declarer), and that therefore contribute to a hand's strength.
Acronym for Petty Little Odious Bid, another name for New Minor Forcing. The name derives from a diatribe by Alphonse Moyse Jr., in The Bridge World's Master Solver's Club, which described the convention as an "odious, meaningless, petty little bid."
One of four slots in a duplicate board that hold the cards between plays.
Acronym for Pass=0, Double=1. Method for countering interference over Blackwood
1) A scoring unit: e.g., a trick taken by declarer in a minor suit contract scores 20 points.
2) A metric used in hand evaluation, to quantify its strength in high cards and distribution.
3) A metric, such as masterpoints, used in rating players.
Another name for board-a-match.
Point count
A method of hand evaluation which assigns a numeric value to a hand's high cards and distributional features, used as a guideline in bidding.
Pointed suit
Spades or diamonds. The term refers to the shape of the suit symbols. Compare to rounded suit.
Portland Club
A bridge club in London which published the first version of the Laws of contract bridge. The club remains part of the ongoing process of revising the laws, along with the ACBL and the EBL, because of the vesting of the copyright.
(Noun) Seat at the table: North, South, East, West; or first, second, third, fourth.
Positional squeeze
A squeeze that can succeed against only a particular opponent, because at least one guard must lie under at least one menace. Compare with automatic squeeze.
Positive response
A bid that announces the possession of at least minimum values. Often said of a response to a forcing opening bid. Compare with negative response.
Post mortem
(Slang) A discussion of a hand, and the nature of the result, after the play has concluded.
An unusually strong hand.
A bidding system that combines the features of Kaplan-Sheinwold with a strong, artificial 1 opening bid.
Preempt or Preemptive Bid (or Raise)
1) A bid (or raise) predicated on length of a suit rather than overall strength, primary function of which is to interfere with the opponents' bidding by taking away bidding space they need to exchange information.
2) (Noun) A bid that has a preemptive effect, regardless of its intent.
A call that returns the bidding to partner's first-bid suit; for example, in 1 - 1; 2 - 2, 2 is a preference. A simple, non-jump preference shows neither strength nor support for the suit; it is simply a return to partner's presumably longer suit.
Prepared bid
A bid, often a slight violation of a partnership agreement, that is chosen to avoid a later bidding problem. Playing five-card majors, for example, the decision to open a strong four-card spade suit in preference to a weak five-card heart suit.
Prepared club
See Short club.
Present count
A carding agreement under which a count signal shows the number of cards currently held. In a count-giving situation, a defender might first play the 3 from 753, and the 7 as his second play. Also, "current count."
Principle of restricted choice
A guideline to the play of the hand, concerning the probability of the location of key cards in the unseen hands.
The movement of players and deals between rounds in an event.
Progressive squeeze
A squeeze in three suits that, when it matures, results in a new squeezed position in two suits.
1) In the play, to cause a card to become a winner.
2) In the bidding, to assign a higher value to a card, or to the hand as a whole, as a result of earlier calls made by partner or by the opponents.
A section of the Laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge that describes, in general terms, proper conduct as to the exchange of information concerning a hand, as to attitude and etiquette, as to partnership agreements, and as to spectators' conduct.
See balance.
See appeal.
Pseudo squeeze
A position that, to a defender, appears to be a true squeezed position, but is not. Declarer hopes that the defender will misplay as a result. The literature often gives as an example a position in which declarer has a void in dummy's apparent suit of entry.
Psych, psyche, psychic, or psychic bid
A call that grossly misstates high card strength or distribution, made so as to deceive the opponents. The Laws specify that psychic bids themselves are legal. It is, however, a violation to infer and fail to disclose that partner has psyched, when the inference is based on partnership agreement or experience. Sponsoring organizations regulate the use of certain psychic bids.
Psychic control
A bid that, by partnership agreement, announces that the player's previous bid was a psychic.
1) To remove the opponents' trumps.
2) To remove partner's double.
To force out an opponent's trump, usually by means of a forcing defense.
A transfer bid that requests partner to make a minimum bid in a particular suit.
1) (Verb) To force the opponents to make any subsequent call at a level higher than they have as yet.
2) (Noun) A tied board in a pairs or team duplicate event.


A contraction of queen and jack. Used in situations where it does not matter whether the queen or the jack is held or played, as well as to emphasize that it does not matter. The term generalizes to other equals, such as jack and ten.[citation needed] See Principle of restricted choice.
(Adjective) A session or sessions preliminary to the final of an event.
1) Of a bid: A call based, usually, on high card points, rather than a feature such as fit or shortness. A raise from 1NT to 3NT based on a 4-3-3-3 hand with 10 HCP is a quantitative raise.
2) Of scoring: The method of scoring used in rubber bridge or in IMP events. The metric used is the number of points earned on each deal, perhaps adjusted by the IMP scale and victory points. In contrast, comparative scoring is based on the number of pairs that have been out-scored.
In Key Card Blackwood, the cheapest bid over the response to 4NT, to ask responder for the trump queen.
Quick tricks
see honor tricks
Quitted trick
A trick whose cards have all been turned face down (duplicate bridge) and gathered in front of the trick's winner (rubber bridge). In rubber bridge, a player may inspect a quitted trick if his side has not yet led to the next trick. In duplicate bridge, a player may inspect a quitted trick only if told to do so by a director.
Points won divided by the sum of points won and points lost, occasionally used to break a tie.


A movement used in individual events.
A bid of partner's suit at a higher level. A raise shows a fit for partner's suit. 1?–2? is a single raise; 1?–3? is a double raise.
1) The position of an individual card relative to others: Aces have the highest rank, followed by K, Q, J, 10, ... 2.
2) The order of denominations in the bidding. Notrump is highest-ranked denomination, followed by spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs. A higher-ranked suit may be bid at the same level as a lower-ranked suit; the reverse is not true.
1) Second and subsequent bids by the same player.
2) A bid by the same player in a suit he has already bid.
Rebiddable suit
A suit with sufficient length and strength, according to partnership agreements, to be rebid in certain defined circumstances.
(Abbreviation of "recapitulation") A summary of results in a bridge tournament.
A member of a bridge organization whose responsibility it is to maintain a record of reports of possible violations of the Proprieties.
Rectify the count
To lose some number of tricks in preparation for a squeeze. Losing the tricks "tightens up" the position, removing idle cards from the defenders' hands before they can be used as safe discards in the squeezed position.
(Slang) Vulnerable. From the color of the paint on a duplicate board. Also: "Red vs. red" to mean both teams vulnerable, and "red vs. white" to mean vulnerable vs. not.
In rubber bridge, the prescribed remedy for a faulty deal. In duplicate bridge, redeals are not used except in special cases and under a director's supervision.
A call that doubles the penalties and bonuses that apply to a previous double. Used conventionally, a redouble may also convey additional information.
A card that enables a hand to gain the lead on a later trick, after that hand has already gained the lead with a different entry card.
Refuse (Verb). Of a trick, to duck.
To fail to comply with a bid that has made a request, such as an invitation or a transfer.
Relay bid
An artificial bid that requests partner to further describe his hand. The relay is usually the lowest available bid, so as to leave as much room for description as possible.
Relay system
A bidding system that consists of many relay sequences.
To bid on over an undesired contract, especially a doubled contract.
Informal term for Revoke; associated with other games such as whist.
See balance.
A form of knockout event in which losing teams enter a secondary event, with the possibility of re-entering the primary event if they have a high finish in the secondary.
To remove from a contract that partner has bid and which, often, has been doubled.
opening bidder's partner.
A bid by responder immediately following an opening bid and RHO's call.
Responsive double
A double that follows LHO's opening bid, partner's takeout double and RHO's raise of opener's suit, to show moderate values and no clear opinion as to the best strain.
Result merchant
(Slang) One who evaluates bids and plays according to their outcome, rather than to their intrinsic merit. Also, "Result player."
Retain the lead
Maintain the right to lead to the next trick by leading and winning the current trick.
To lead back, usually the suit that partner led.
A bidding sequence in which a single player, on consecutive calls, bids two different suits, and bids the two suits in the reverse order to that expected by the basic bidding system. The specific definition of a reverse therefore depends on the bidding system (see main article). The reverse is designed to show additional strength without the need to make a jump bid. Because the reverse takes up bidding space, the reverse bidder is usually expected to hold a stronger than average hand, usually more than 16 HCP.
Failure to follow suit as required when a player is able to do so.
(Slang) To redouble.
Right-hand opponent.
Rise with
To play a high card in the hope of taking a trick: "Rise with the ace." Also, "go up with"
Roman Key Card Blackwood, a slam bidding convention.
Descriptive of bids and carding agreements used or originated in the Roman system:
1) Roman 2 and 2: Three-suiters.
2) Roman Blackwood, Gerber and Roman Key Card Blackwood (RKCB): Step responses to the ace-asking bid that entail mild ambiguity.
3) Roman jump overcall: Two-suiter.
4) Roman asking bid: A request that partner bid his number of controls wholesale, via step responses.
5) Roman discards: odd-even discards.
6) Roman leads: Rusinow leads.
Acronym for Raise Only Non-Force. A treatment used for responding to preempts, usually weak two bids. All bids except the single raise are forcing.
Rosenblum Cup
The award for winning the world knockout team championship that is held in even numbered years other than leap years. (The Bermuda Bowl is contested in odd numbered years and the World Team Olympiad in leap years.)
The progression of the bidding and play in a clockwise direction around the table.
A bidding system popular during the 1960s in the US. It features sound opening bids, five-card majors and negative doubles. It is the principal foundation for 2/1 Game Forcing.
1) In the bidding, a sequence of four consecutive calls.
2) In duplicate bridge, a set of boards leading to another round (e.g., the semi-final round), or a set of boards that two pairs play against one another.
3) Of a control, the round on which the control can stop the opponents from winning a trick. An ace, for example, is a first round control; the king is a second round control.
Rounded suit
Hearts or clubs. The term refers to the shape of the suit symbols. Compare to pointed suit.
An event format in which each team eventually opposes each other team.
In rubber bridge, the set of successive deals that ends when one of the pairs wins two games.
Rubber bonus
A bonus awarded to the pair winning the rubber: 500 points if the losers are vulnerable, 700 if they are not.
Rubber bridge
The original form of contract bridge, a contest of four people playing only amongst themselves (as distinct from duplicate bridge, which requires a minimum of eight players). There is often a wager on the result.
Rubens advances
Transfer advances of overcalls. See Useful Space Principle.
To play a trump on a trick when a plain suit was led.
Ruff and discard
The lead of a suit in which both opponents are void, so that one opponent can ruff while the other discards (or sluffs). A ruff and discard is usually damaging to the side that leads to the trick. Also, ruff and sluff or ruff and slough.
Ruff out
To establish a suit by ruffing one or more of its low cards.
Rule of Eight
A decision tool to decide if entering after opponents 1NT opening. Holding a minimum of 6 HCP, deduct from the total number of cards in the two longest suits the total number of losing tricks (see LTC. If the result is 2 or greater you should interfere. If less, you should pass. The name of the rule derives from the 2 key numbers: minimum 6 HCP + minimum difference 2 equals 8.[5]. This rule works equally well on all overcalling conventions.
Rule of Eighteen
Some federations have adopted strict rules to limit the destructive effect of very weak openings. One is this Rule of 18, which states: "The sum of the number of cards in the two longest suits plus the number of HCP must equal or exceed 18". For instance, with a 5-5 distribution, 8 HCP are needed.
Rule of Eleven
A calculation that can be used when it is assumed that opening leader has led the fourth highest card in a suit. By subtracting the pips on the card led from 11, the result is the number of cards in the other three hands that are higher than the one led. Third hand, for example, can then make inferences about declarer's holding in the suit by examining his own and dummy's holdings; likewise, declarer can make inferences about right-hand-opponent's holding in the suit.
Rule of Five
When the bidding has reached the 5-level in a competitive auction, tend to defend rather than bid on. In other words, in competitve auctions, 5-level contracts belong to the enemy. See also Law of Total Tricks
Rule of Four
Avoid giving support for partner's 5-card suit if a superior 4-4 fit might be available.
Rule of One
When there is just one trump out higher than yours, it is normally best to leave it out.
Rule of Seven
To help interventor to decide if s/he is strong enough to double opponent's preemtive opening: "Interventor adds at his real HCP count an average of 7 HCP, supposed to be partner's strength. If the total is at least 21 and interventor has at nost a doubleton in the preempt suit, s/he should double. If s/he has 3 cards s/he must deduct 1 point from the total. If advancer is obliged to bid at the 3 level, interventor should be slightly stronger."[6][1]
Rule of Ten
A calculation that can be used when it is assumed that opening leader has led the fifth highest card in a suit. By subtracting the pips on the card led from 10, the result is the number of cards in the other three hands that are higher than the one led. Third hand, for example, can then make inferences about declarer's holding in the suit by examining his own and dummy's holdings; likewise, declarer can make inferences about right-hand-opponent's holding in the suit.
Rule of Three
On a competitive part score deal, with the points roughly equal between your side and theirs, once the bidding has reached the 3-level, tend to defend rather than bid on (unless your side has 9 trumps.)See also Law of Total Tricks
Rule of Twelve
A calculation that can be used when it is assumed that opening leader has led the third highest card in a suit. By subtracting the pips on the card led from 12, the result is the number of cards in the other three hands that are higher than the one led. Third hand, for example, can then make inferences about declarer's holding in the suit by examining his own and dummy's holdings; likewise, declarer can make inferences about right-hand-opponent's holding in the suit.
Rule of Twenty
A widely used guideline of the Standard American Yellow Card (SAYC) bidding system which states that a hand may open bidding "normally" (that is, by bidding one of a suit) if the sum obtained by adding the combined length of its longest two suits to its high card points is twenty or more, but that weaker hands must either open with a preempive bid or pass. See also Zar points evaluation method.
Rule of Two

When you are missing two non-touching honors, it is normally superior to finesse first for their lower honor. If you need 3 tricks or the maximum possible, finesse the 10 first, not the Q. Similarly, when you lead the 2 and West follows with the 9, it is best to finesse the 10. When one of the missing honors is the 10 the rule will not apply, as one does not normally finesse for a 10 on the first round.

Rule of Two and Three
A bidding guide suggested by Ely Culbertson, which counsels preemptors to be within two tricks of their contract if vulnerable, and within three if not. Few players now follow the Rule of Two and Three.
A finding and decision by a tournament director or appeals committee.
To play the winners in a suit.
Rusinow leads
An agreement to lead the second highest of touching honors.


(Slang) Sacrifice. Also, "sack."
To deliberately bid over an opponent's bid, hoping that the cost of a penalty will be smaller than the value of opponent's presumably successful contract.
Safety level
A level at which the partnership can normally assume, on the basis of the previous bidding, that its contract will succeed. It is the point below which the partnership prefers to explore even higher contracts. Also, "security level."
Safety play
A play that maximizes the chances for fulfilling the contract (or for achieving a certain score) by avoiding a play which might result in a higher score. Contrast with percentage play: the latter is the best play in a suit, while a safety play is the best line for the contract.
(Slang) To bid weakly or pass with good values, in the hope that the opponents will get overboard.
An overcall made after an opening bid and response by the opponents. The overcall is "sandwiched" between two hands that have each shown strength.
(Slang) Sacrifice.
Standard American Yellow Card, a particular bidding system or the completed ACBL convention card that represents it.
A style of bidding that attempts to narrowly limit the strength of a partnership's hands, so as to make its bidding more accurate.
Scissors coup
A loser-on-loser play meant to break the opponents' communications. Formerly known as 'Coup without a name'.
1) The numeric result of a deal, session or event.
2) (Verb) Of a card, to win a trick: "The Q scored."
Score slip
A pick-up slip or traveller.
1) To bid to a safer contract.
2) To score small trumps by ruffing, rather than as long cards. Often used of the play of a contract based on a Moysian fit.
A device which divides the table diagonally, visually separating partners from each other. Used in higher-level competition to reduce the possibility of unauthorized information.
Opponents who sit on the same side of the screen.
Position relative to the dealer: for example, dealer's LHO is said to be in second seat.
Second guesser
See result merchant.
Second hand
The player to the left of the player who has led to a trick.
Second hand low
A precept that advises second hand to play a low card on RHO's lead.
A group of contestants in an event.
A ranking assigned to a contestant of relatively high rank.
See-saw squeeze
See Entry-shifting squeeze.
Semi-balanced hand
A hand with 5-4-2-2 or 6-3-2-2 distribution.
Semi-forcing bid
A bid which is conditionally forcing: one which requests partner to rebid unless his hand is minimal or sub-minimal for his previous bidding. Compare invitation.
1) The auction, or calls made in the auction.
2) Two or more cards adjacent in rank.
A period of play during which those entered in an event play designated boards against designated opponents.
1) To defeat a contract.
2) The number of tricks by which a contract is defeated ("a two-trick set").
Set game
In rubber bridge, an agreement that partners will not change at the end of each rubber.
Set up
(Of a call) A call that is not quite warranted by the strength of the hand making it.
The distribution of suits in a hand.
1) (Verb) To lead a suit other than the one already played.
2) (Noun) In the bidding, a change of suit, usually said of a jump bid (see jump shift).
To try for an unusually good result by adopting an abnormal line of play, typically at matchpoint scoring. Declarer hopes that the cards are distributed in such a way that a superior line of play will fail.
Short club
The natural opening bid of 1 when the suit contains only three cards. Usually employed by players using the five-card majors treatment for openings bids when holding a hand with opening values but lacking a 5-card major. When the hand contains two clubs and three diamonds, an opening diamond bid is preferred. Also, "short diamond."
Short-suit game try
By agreement, a bid of a short side suit after a single raise, hoping to reach game. For example, after 1 - 2, opener might rebid 3 with a singleton or void in clubs. The bid tells partner where high cards will be least useful, indicating duplication of values. It requests partner to take positive action with high-card strength outside that suit. Otherwise, the bid requests partner to sign off (in this example, by bidding 3). See help-suit game try and game try.
Short-suit points
In hand evaluation, points counted for singletons and voids.
Show out
Fail to follow suit.
To mix the cards. Shuffling seldom results in random distributions: in the long run, the cards so mixed rarely match the mathematical expectancies.
Side game
A secondary event played simultaneously with the main event.
Side suit
A suit that is not trump; plain suit. A side suit may nevertheless have significant length: see Two-suiter.
The conventional meanings assigned to plays made by the defenders in order to exchange information. Also, carding.
Signoff bid
1) A bid that requests that partner pass.
2) A call that denies extra values, one that normally results in a pass by partner. Compare non-forcing bid, forcing bid.
Sign off
To make a signoff bid.
Simple squeeze
A squeeze against one opponent, in two suits, with the count (meaning 3).
Single dummy
The normal manner of play, with certain knowledge only of one's own cards and dummy's, and without verbal communication between partners. Compare with double dummy.
A holding of exactly one card in a suit.
A round in a movement during which a pair is idle.
An irregular feature of a Mitchell movement: typically a move by the East-West pairs of 2 tables up instead of the usual 1, to avoid them playing the same boards twice.
Skip-bid warning
A warning to LHO that one is about to make a jump bid that could cause a revealing hesitation or huddle. LHO is requested to wait for a short time before taking action. Some feel that the accumulated delay is unacceptable, but the use of bidding boxes and screens has largely eliminated the problem.
A bid of six-odd (a small slam) or seven-odd (a grand slam).
Slam try
A bid that invites partner to bid a slam.
(Slang) The location of a card that is onside. "In the slot" means "Finessable."
See discard. Pronounced, and often spelled, "sluff."
Cards that require establishment before they can be cashed.
Slow arrival
A style of bidding that uses a jump to a contract (to which the previous bidding has already forced the partnership) to show a specific holding. Compare with Fast arrival.
See discard. Neo-orthography for slough, as used in ruff and sluff.
Small slam
A contract for six odd tricks.
After opener has denied a four-card major in a Stayman sequence, responder's jump to 3M to show four cards in the bid major and five cards in the other major.
Smother play
An endplay that captures an opponent's guarded trump by means of an overruff, when that card cannot be finessed in the normal fashion.
Soft values
Lower honors, as distinct from aces and kings.
A suit strong enough to run without interruption, or (in the bidding) that requires no fit with partner.
To arrange one's cards by suit, and by rank within suit.
SOS redouble
A conventional redouble that asks partner for rescue from a doubled contract. Its name comes from the Morse code distress signal, SOS.
A hand that is relatively strong for a call that is contemplated or that has been made.
Splinter bid
An unusual jump bid that by agreement shows a fit for partner's last-bid suit and a singleton or void in the bid suit. For example, a partnership could treat 4 in response to an opening bid of 1 as a splinter bid, showing a good hand with spade support and a singleton or void club. Compare with Fragment bid.
1) (Noun) The distribution in the opponents' hands of the cards in a suit.
2) (Verb) To play one of two touching honors when the lead comes through them.
Split menace
A menace in squeeze play which depends on values in both declarer's hand and dummy.
1) The organization that puts on a tournament.
2) One who hires partners or teammates to compete in an event.
Spot card
A card that ranks below the 10.
(Slang) Laydown.
An acronym for Suit Preference Signal, a card played by a defender to show interest or an entry in a side suit.
A playing technique that forces the defender(s) to discard a vital card, usually an apparent stopper.
Squeeze card
A card whose lead forces one or both defenders to discard their guard in a suit.
A distribution of cards in defenders' hands that might make the play difficult for declarer. The defenders' trumps, for example, could be said to be stacked if they divide 5-0.
Standard American or Standard American Yellow Card (SAYC)
A bidding system thought to conform to agreements that an unfamiliar partnership in America would use.
Not called to change seats during the movement being used.
Stayman convention
A conventional bid of 2 that calls for a 1NT opening bidder to bid a four-card major, if one is held, and (usually) 2 otherwise. Many continuations have been devised.
To gain an advantage, usually through deception. The theft may be material (e.g., a trick or a contract) or non-material (e.g., a tempo). Despite the term steal, deception is entirely legal if it does not involve unauthorized information or concealment of information to which the opponents are entitled.
In the bidding, the space between one bid and the next highest. See Useful Space Principle.
Step bid
A bid that conveys information on the basis of the number of steps it uses.
Stepping-stone squeeze
A squeeze that forces a defender either to be thrown in to act as a stepping-stone to a stranded dummy, or to allow declarer to establish a suit.
(Adjective and noun) A singleton.
An instruction given to opponents when you make a jump (also known as skip) bid. The opponent is expected to wait around 10 seconds before calling, so as to avoid communicating information to partner as to how easy his call is to make. See skip-bid warning.
A high card (normally, an honor) whose primary function is to prevent the opponents from running a suit in a notrump contract. (See also control).
See denomination.
1) To remove safe cards of exit from an opponent's hand.
2) To prepare for a ruff-and-sluff by removing all cards of a suit (or suits) in a partnership's hands.
A squeeze without the count in which one threat is against a safe exit card.
Striped-tail ape double
A double of a laydown contract made in hope of dissuading the opponents from successfully bidding to a higher, more rewarding contract. The doubler must be prepared to run (like the cowardly ape) to an escape suit if the opponents redouble.
Strong club system
A set of conventions that uses an opening bid of 1 as an artificial, forcing opening that promises a strong hand.
Strong notrump
An opening notrump that shows a balanced hand and 15-17 or 16-18 HCP. Compare with weak notrump. A partnership's choice between the use of a strong notrump or a weak notrump has extensive implications for its entire bidding system.
Strong pass system
A bidding system that mandates a pass by first (or second) hand to show what other systems would regard as an opening bid. A corollary is that if the next hand also passes, third (or fourth) hand must bid to keep the deal from being passed out.
Strong two-bid
An agreement to use an opening bid of two of a suit so as to indicate a strong hand and a strong holding in the bid suit.
(Slang) Part-score.
Sucker double
(Slang) An ill-advised penalty double, such as one based on HCP when the bidding warns of freak distributions.
A ranked division of the deck of cards into (in descending rank order) spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs. The suit ranking has a profound effect on the bidding and scoring, but none at all on the play. (See also denomination, major suit, and minor suit).
Suit preference signal
A defensive carding method that signals a preference, or the lack thereof, for a suit other than the suit used for the signal.
A strongly encouraging response to a transfer, such as a jump completion (e.g., 1NT - 2; 3). Many partnerships use a conventional superacceptance such as 1NT - 2; 2, one step above responder's major, to save room for game or slam exploration, and in conformance with the Useful Space Principle.
A fit with partner's suit.
Support double
A double of an overcall that shows a fit for partner's suit, usually distinguished from a direct raise by the length of the suit in responder's hand.
Sure trick

The play that is guaranteed to be successful, given enough entries. Leading low from South hand, the suit runs unless it breaks 4-0. However, if West has 4 of them, he can be forced to duck (twice, if you cross back to your hand and repeat the move) since going up is immediately fatal. If you can then build your tricks in another suit, you have successfully completed a notrump fork.

Surrogate signals
A count or preference signal made in a different suit, usually the suit which declarer is running, to inform partner in beforehand about a critical decision he will have to make later during the play of the hand.
A deceptive bid or play.
Acronym for Sebesfi Woods 1NT Escape.
A difference in scores between two tables on a board in a team match.
(Slang) Three consecutive passes, ending the auction. "3 - swish" means 3 passed out.
Swiss teams
A team event in which teams play other teams with a similar record of wins and losses. It typically consists of a series of relatively short (6 to 8 board) matches.
To lead a different suit.
see bidding system.


1) (Noun) A grouping of four players at a bridge tournament.
2) (Verb) To put down one's cards face up.
3) See dummy (2).
Table card
A large printed card placed on a table in a bridge tournament. The card contains instructions for the players, including players' designations and board numbers. Also, "Guide card."
Table presence
Awareness of opponents' behavior and mannerisms, leading to inferences regarding their holdings and problems on a deal. It is improper to take action on inferences made on the basis of partner's behavior. Also, "Table feel."
Table talk
1) Improper communication between partners, effected by words, gestures, or facial expressions.
2) Extraneous discussion during the play, discouraged as a distraction or possible source of unauthorized information.
Takeout double
A conventional call used in a competitive auction to indicate support for the unbid suits in a hand of opening strength, and to request that partner bid. The classic, ideal pattern is 4-4-4-1, with the shortness in the suit doubled. There are many informatory doubles that anticipate a bid from partner, but "takeout double" typically refers to the double immediately over opening bidder.
(Slang) Huddle.
(Verb and noun) Slang. To adopt a line of defense that is intended to force declarer to ruff in the long hand. Also, the line of defense itself: "To get the tap going." See Forcing defense.
1) (Adjective) (also Teams or Team(s)-of-four) A form of duplicate bridge played by eight people at two tables. The North–South pair at one table and East–West pair at the other table are teammates. Every deal is played at both tables ("duplicate") and scored by comparing the two raw scores — usually on the IMP or board-a-match scale. Matches are commonly played in sets of 6 to 20 deals, with scoring required and player substitutions permitted between sets.
2) (Noun) A group of four or more players who compete together in a teams event. For each deal, four team members are active at two tables. Player substitution occurs between matches or, in many longer matches, between sets of 6 to 20 deals. Most teams events permit four to six players on a team.
A member of the same team. Commonly said of any teammate other than one's partner.
(Adjective) See team (1)
1) The number of tricks needed to execute a line of play. Early in the play, the way in which a player uses a tempo in his choice of lead often determines the outcome of the deal.
2) The speed at which a player executes a call or play. Some players attempt to intimidate less experienced opponents by playing their cards very quickly. A break in tempo often indicates that a player has an unexpected problem in play.
Temporizing bid
Waiting bid.
A broken sequence of (often) honor cards, such as AQ or KJ. 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.
Their hand
(Slang) A hand on which the opponents have the preponderance of strength.
(Slang) 1) A bid or contract based on less strength than normally recommended.
2) (Of a hand) Lacking body.
An opening lead convention that calls for the lead of the third-best card in a suit of up to four card length, and the fifth-best in a longer suit.
Third from even, low from odd
An opening lead convention that calls for the lead of the third-best card from a suit with an even number of cards, and the lowest card from a suit with an odd number of cards.
Third hand
The player who makes the third call, or who is the third to play to a trick.
Third hand high
A precept that advises the third hand to play a high card on partner's lead.
In squeeze play, a menace.
Three suiter
A hand with length in three suits, thus shortness in the fourth. Distributions such as 4-4-4-1, 5-4-4-0 and 5-4-3-1 are often termed "three-suiters."
To discard.
See Endplay.
(Slang) An honor card or honor sequence unaccompanied by low cards: "He had the KQ tight."
A player's agenda for tasks in the play of the hand: for example, ruff losers and then draw trumps; or, draw trumps and then run the side suit.
Playing matchpoints, the highest score achieved on a board.
Top of nothing
The lead of a high spot card from a suit that contains no honor card.
Top trick
A card that can take a trick on a given hand. See Winner.
Total tricks
The sum of the number of tricks that each partnership can take, with its longest combined suit as trump. See Law of Total tricks.
Adjacent. Both cards and suits may be touching. In the holding KQ5, the king and queen are touching. In deciding whether to respond Up the line, a player notes that hearts and spades are touching suits.
An organized duplicate bridge competition.
(Slang) Huddle.
1) (Noun) A bid that conventionally shows length in a different suit.
2) (Noun) A bid that requests partner to make a bid in a particular suit, usually the suit immediately above that of the transfer.
3) (Verb) See transfer a control.
Transferable values
Cards, such as aces and kings, that are valuable either in declarer's hands or in defenders'.
Transfer a control
In squeeze play, to shift the responsibility of controlling, or guarding, a menace from one opponent to the other. This is usually accomplished by playing through one opponent in a way that forces him to cover the lead, leaving the other opponent with the remaining control. The purpose is to arrange that one opponent has to guard more menaces than he can successfully manage.
1) A pair or team whose members differ in "nationality". Typically they are members of different national bridge federations, thus registered players.
2) An event (tournament) that permits transnational pairs or teams to enter. A transnational event is open in sense (c).
Trap pass
See Sandbag.
A slip of paper that is folded into a board in a pairs contest. The traveler records the results at tables where the board has already been played.
See Board.
A natural bid that: (1) either shows a willingness to play in the denomination named, or promises or requests values in that denomination, and (2) by partnership agreement gives or requests additional information on which action could be based. If the treatment is an unusual one, it requires announcement to the opponents even though it is natural. For example, a partnership that plays Flannery usually agrees that a 1 response to a 1 opening bid shows five spades. So the 1 response to 1, while natural, is a treatment because by agreement it shows at least a five card suit. Contrast with convention, a bid that gives or requests information not necessarily related to the denomination named.
Trial bid
See game try.
A (usually, high-level) tournament whose winners proceed to a subsequent event of even greater import.
A set of 4 cards played by each player in turn, during the play of a hand.
Trick score
The score earned by contracting for and taking tricks. Trick scores count toward making a game.
Triple squeeze
A squeeze that is so-named because it consists of three simple squeezes against the same opponent. A Progressive squeeze is regarded as a triple squeeze (because it is initiated by one), but not all triple squeezes are progressive.
A holding of three cards in a suit.
1) (Noun) A card in the trump suit whose trick-taking power is greater than any plain suit card.
2) (Verb) To play a trump after a plain suit has been led; see Ruff.
Trump control
The ability, from a combination of the holding in trumps with play technique, to prevent the opponents from taking too many tricks in a plain suit.
Trump echo
An echo in the trump suit, long used to alert partner to the possibility of a defensive ruff, and in the early 21st century to give partner the count.
Trump promotion
The advancement of a trump to the status of a winner by creating a position in which an opponent must suffer an uppercut, or an immediate adverse overruff, or choose to ruff with a higher trump that makes a later winner of an opponent's trump by force of cards.
Trump squeeze
A squeeze that forces an opponent to weaken his holding in one of the threat suits enough that the suit can later be ruffed out.
Trump suit
(Often, simply "trumps.") By way of the auction, declarer and declarer's partner select the trump suit on the basis of their combined length and strength in the suit: the greater length to ruff more losers in the plain suits, and the greater strength to better control the play of the trump suit itself. Information about trump suits generally in other card games can be found here.
Two-club system
A bidding system that uses an opening bid of 2 as an artificial game force.
To an opening one-bid, any response two of a new suit that is forced to the two-level by suit rank. That is, two of a lower suit in response to the opening bid one of a higher suit. Contrast one over one.
Two suiter
A hand containing two long suits, usually each containing 4 or more cards, with at least 10 cards between the two suits.
Two-way checkback
An inquiry made after opener redbids 1NT. 2 is a puppet to 2 which says nothing about responders strain. It is just a forcing bid to show an invitational hand. On the other hand, a rebid of 2 after a 1NT rebid is an artificial game force.
Two-way Drury
An inquiry about the third (or sometimes fourth) position opener's strenght in a major suit. 2 shows 3-card support, while an inquiry made with 2 shows four cards in opener's suit.
Two-way finesse
A Finesse that could be taken successfully against either opponent.
Two-way Stayman
Over an opening bid of 1NT, the use of 2 as non-forcing Stayman and 2 as a forcing major suit inquiry.


Unauthorized information
Information obtained from partner that one is not permitted to act on: for example, the manner in which partner plays a particular card, or the tone of voice when making a bid.
Unbalanced distribution
1) Broadly, any distribution of a hand or suit other than 4-3-3-3, 4-4-3-2 or 5-3-3-2.
2) Unbalanced is commonly used in a narrow sense that excludes semi-balanced, 5-4-2-2 and 6-3-2-2. Narrowly, unbalanced distribution implies a void, singleton, or 7-card suit.
Unbalanced hand
A 13-card hand with unbalanced distribution in the broad or narrow sense just above.
Unbid suit
A suit that has neither been bid nor indirectly shown.
To play a card whose rank interferes with the use of cards in the opposite hand. Opposite dummy's KQJ, declarer's singleton ace blocks the suit, and so is played to unblock. There are other situations that require unblocking, such as the Vienna coup.
See In front of.
1) (Verb) To bid less aggressively, or to a lower contract, than most would with the same cards.
2) (Noun) A bid that most would regard as weaker than warranted by the strength of the hand.
To lead a low card when holding the top card or cards in a suit. The underlain is standard in defense of notrump contracts (so as to preserve communications between defenders' hands), but unusual against suit contracts.
To play a trump lower than one already played on the lead of a plain suit. Usually this is undesirable but is sometimes necessary to adjust the number of trumps held while preparing a trump coup, or while preparing to defend certain squeezed positions.
A trick that declarer does not win, causing the contract to go down. Multiple undertricks occur: for example, two undertricks could result in 4 down two.
Unfinished rubber
A rubber that the players agree not to finish. In rubber bridge scoring, a 300 point bonus is given to a vulnerable side, and a 100 point bonus to a side with a part score - note this differs from the 50 points for a part score in duplicate bridge.
To discard lower cards that help prevent a higher card from being captured by an opponent.
Unlimited bid
See wide-ranging bid.
Unpassed hand.
1) (Of a contract) Unable to be played so as to bring about a favorable outcome.
2) (Of an agreement) Inevitably bringing about undesirable bidding sequences or contracts.
Unusual notrump
An artificial jump overcall in notrump that shows a Two-suiter, usually bid to suggest a sacrifice. As originally played, 1M - (2NT) showed a hand weak in high cards with, probably, 5-5 in the minor suits.
Unusual over unusual
A conventional method of conveying information after the opponents have deployed the unusual notrump convention or a Michaels Cue Bid, also called Unusual vs. Unusual.
Acronym for Unusual over unusual
Up the line
To bid the lower of two adjacent suits before the higher. For example, of two four card majors, the heart suit is normally bid before the spade suit in response to an opening bid of 1 or 1.
To ruff in the expectation of being overruffed, when the overruff will cause a trump in partner's hand to become a winner.
Upside-down signals
An agreement that when following suit to partner's lead, a low card encourages a continuation and a high card discourages. This is "upside-down," or the reverse of traditional practice.
Useful space principle
A guide to developing bidding conventions and treatments that directs developers' attention to the allocation of bidding space.


Variable Cue Bidding. A way to describe posesion of
3.J's and
4.10's, in the Ultimate Club system.

The captain requests the servant to make a VCB by:

a.Relaying (except occasionally 4NT, in which case the next higher relay bid is used) after responder's entire pattern is known.
b. Making a 2-step realy when a one-step relay would request distributional information (4 level only). VCB starts at level 1. It advances at level 2 when all of the servant's controls are known. The servant may have shown all of his controls, or have none, or have 7 (opener mjust have 5, and there are 12 in total, or have 6 but no K's, or have an A after denying controls in 3 suits, etc. VCB advances to level 3 (or higher) when the captain has enough information to determine exactly which queens the servant holds. It is possible for the servant to advance without the captain making a bid. For example, if the servant is known to hold a KQ, and makes a 3-step bid, he is showing the K of the one step suit, then the Q of the new one step suit and then no J in the (again) one step suit.(denial cuebidding)
Variable notrump
The use of a weak notrump when not vulnerable and a strong notrump when vulnerable.
Victory points (VP)
A conversion scale used in team contests and based on total IMP differences, so as to reduce the effect of very large swings.
Vienna coup
The unblock of a winner opposite a threat prior to reaching a position that effects a squeeze.
An assumption about how the cards lie on a particular deal: "Sorry, partner, I took a view."
No cards in a given suit.
See Exclusion Blackwood.
A method of electronically displaying tournament bridge deals to spectators.
A scoring condition assigned to each pair in advance of a deal. In duplicate bridge, vulnerability is indicated on boards; in rubber bridge, it is determined by the number of trick points previously earned. Vulnerability affects both the size of bonuses for making contracts and penalties for failing to make them.
1) (Duplicate bridge) A designation, shown on each board, that indicates whether larger bonuses and penalties apply to one, both or neither pair on that deal.
2) (Rubber bridge) Having won one game.


Waiting bid
A bid that enables the bidder to obtain more information before making a commitment. For example, some players use 2 over a 2 forcing opening bid as a waiting bid rather than as a negative response.
To condone an irregularity. In duplicate bridge, a waiver is an improper action.
(Slang) Push.
Wasted values
Duplicated values.
World Bridge Federation.
Weak jump overcall
A jump overcall used to preempt the bidding.
Weak jump shift
A jump shift used to preempt the bidding.
Weak notrump
A 1NT opening bid on a balanced hand with, usually, 12-14 HCP. The bid has mild preemptive value; compare with strong notrump. To show a strong notrump, the weak notrump user opens with a suit and rebids in notrump.
Weak two bid
An opening bid of two of a suit to indicate a relatively weak hand with a long suit.
A predecessor of contract bridge.
A count or total that obscures cards' identities. A bid of 5 in response to Blackwood shows two aces wholesale, without announcing which aces they are.
Wide open
(Said of a suit) Without a stopper.
Wide-ranging bid
A bid made within a wide range of strengths and shapes, the opposite of a limit bid. An example from Acol is an opening bid of one of a suit which may be made with anything from 10 HCP (plus some shape) to 22 HCP (with a shape unsuitable for a 2 bid, such as 4-4-4-1). Such bids are limited only by the failure of the bidder to make a stronger or weaker bid; thus an Acol opening bid of one of a suit is limited by the fact that the opener failed to pass, to make a 2 level opening bid, or to make a pre-emptive opening bid.
A squeeze without the count that forces the defender to choose between a throw-in and an unblock, each of which is a losing option.
A card that can take a trick on a given hand.
(Slang) Improper knowledge of a deal, prior to playing it.
World Bridge Federation
The international governing body for organized bridge.
Welsh Bridge Union.
Wolff signoff
After a jump rebid of 2NT by opener, responder's bid of 3 as a puppet to 3, after which responder can sign off with a weak hand.
Work count
The assignment of the numbers 4, 3, 2 and 1 as points to represent aces, kings, queens and jacks in the process of hand evaluation. Named for Milton Work.
Working card
A card that is useful to a partnership, given the mesh of the cards in the two hands.
(Verb) To place the contract in the less favorable hand for the partnership. See Antipositional.


(lowercase) Any small card, of no trick-taking significance.
(uppercase) Double, in print or manuscript representation of the auction (alternative to 'Dbl') or the final contract. Used in bidding boxes, private scores, and occasionally elsewhere.
(uppercase) Redouble, in print or manuscript representation of the auction (alternative to 'Rdbl' and the like) or the final contract;. Used in bidding boxes, private scores, and occasionally elsewhere.
See Cross-Imps

XYZ: A convention used in an uncontested auction where 3 suits are bid at the one level. Thereafter a 2 is a Puppet to 2, showing a weak or an invitational hand. A 2 bid is game forcing. A 3 shows a weak hand.

x-y Notrump
A convention to be used after a sequence like 1x - 1y - 1NT. Thereafter a 2 is a Puppet to 2, showing a weak or an invitational hand. A 2 bid is game forcing. Also called XYCheckback.
x-y-z Notrump
A convention to be used after a sequence like 1x - 1y - (1z) - 1NT, or 1x - (1z) - 1y - 1NT, where z is an opponent's bid. Thereafter a 2 is a Puppet to 2, showing a weak or an invitational hand. A 2 bid is game forcing. Also called XYZCheckback.


Originally, a hand with no card higher than a nine.[7] The British Earl of Yarborough, during the 19th century, would offer a wager of 1,000 pounds to 1 against picking up such a hand at whist. (The actual odds against such a hand are approximately 1,827 to 1.) In common usage, its meaning may refer to any exceptionally weak hand.


see zoom
Zar points
An evaluation method to determine if a hand should be opened. It asks to open whenever you have 26 or more Zars, determined by adding the number of cards in the 2 longest suits, plus high card points, plus number of controls (A=2, K=1), plus the difference between the longest and the shortest suit. An additional point is added for the suit if it has 4+ cards. The unsupported honors are diminished 1 point in value. 52 Zar points should produce a NT or major suit game.
The lowest score obtained on a deal in a pairs game. Also, bottom.
Zia play
A specific type of falsecards which creates a losing option to declarer.
zoom (z)
In a relay system, the facility to joining into the next level of answers without needing to hear a new relay from partner. Usually, after servant has the highest possible answer for the level s/he is answering, s/he can jump into the next level assuming the captain made a virtual new relay, saving bidding space.


  1. ^ The Bridge Player's Dictionary, Randall Baron, 1993
  2. ^ The Official Encyclopedia of Bridge, Brent Manley, 7th edition, ACBL, 2011
  3. ^ ACBL Laws of Contract Bridge
  4. ^ Francis, Henry G., Editor-in-Chief; Truscott, Alan F., Executive Editor; Francis, Dorthy A., Editor, Sixth Edition (2001). The Official Encyclopedia of Bridge (6th ed.). Memphis, TN: American Contract Bridge League. pp. 826 (plus 60 page Bibliography). ISBN 0-943855-44-6. OCLC 49606900.  Page 114.
  5. ^ The Bridge Bulletin, October 2000
  6. ^ Bridge Classic and Modern Conventions, Nicu Kantar & Dan Dimitrescu, vol. 4, pg. 1685, ISBN 91-631-1099-7
  7. ^

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