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Bridge can be as bad as NASA for confusing acronyms and lingo! Welcome to Fifth Chair's Bridge Jargon Glossary - a list of bridge terms that will help you to a better understanding of the game of bridge. Just click on the first letter of the word you wish to find!

Also, if you would like to suggest or contrbute a term not presently included on the list, or if you see a correction that needs to be made, please email us at info@fifthchair.org.



ACOL: A bidding system popular outside of the United States based on weak NT's and four-card major suit openers.

Alert: A signal that you give to your opponents (or they to you) to announce that a bid just made has an unusual meaning.  Under ACBL rules this is typically performed at the time the call is made (with the exception of slam bidding) and by the partner of the player making the alertable call.

Asking Bid: A category of bids which allow a player to ask her partner to further describe his hand. The term is usually used to describe a sequence where one player is looking for slam but is concerned about two losers in a particular suit. By using a specialized asking bid (there are a variety of them) her partner can show first round control in a suit (Ace or void), second round control in a suit (King or singleton) or no control in a suit. Technically, even Stayman is an asking bid.

Astro: A convention to show certain 2 suited hands over opponents 1NT opener. A bid of 2C shows hearts and a minor; a bid of 2D shows spades and another suit. A bid of 3C shows both minors, and a 3D bid shows diamonds and hearts. There are also variations to these bids.

In pinpoint Astro, double shows majors, 2C shows clubs and hearts, 2D shows diamonds and spades, 3D shows minors and 3D shows diamonds and hearts. 2H and 2S are natural.

One variation now called Brozel is centered on the heart suit where 2C shows clubs and hearts, 2D shows diamonds and hearts, 2H shows majors, 2S shows spades and a minor and 2NT shows minors.

Auction: Another term for bidding. ("The auction on that hand was very interesting.")


Balanced Hand: A hand that has no short suits. Most would consider any hand that has no voids, singletons, and no more than one doubleton, to be balanced. And a hand with no void or singleton but two doubletons is said to be semi-balanced.

Balancing: See Doubles - Balancing Double/Balancing Bid.

Bergen Raises: Bergen Raises are a system of responses to major suit openings which stipulates that any nine card fit should be bid to the three level as quickly as possible. Any time opener's partner holds 4 (or more) trumps (even with 0 HCP), he is supposed to bid somewhere between 2NT (Jacoby 2NT) and 4S at his first opportunity. This system is based on the Law of Total Tricks, which is somewhat complicated and for more advanced players.

There is also a Bergen adjunct to Jacoby Transfers over 1NT in which any 9 card major fit must be bid to the three level.

Big Club: A strong club system in which all hands with 16+ HCP, regardless of distribution, are opened at one club. Any other bid tends to be limited to a far lower maximum. Exact HCP counts sometimes vary and should be determined by partnership agreement.

Blackwood: A convention that asks partner how many aces (or kings) she has. 4NT asks for aces and 5NT asks for kings. There are many variations to Blackwood but the simplest and most common responses are: 5 clubs shows 0 or 4 aces; 5 diamonds shows 1 ace; 5 hearts shows 2 aces; 5 spades shows 3 aces. The same sequence is true when asking for kings after 5NT. A responder who hears a bid of 5NT from his partner knows that his side has all 4 aces and his partner is asking for kings and is interested in a grand slam.

A bid of a suit that can't be trump over the response to 4NT asks partner to bid 5NT usually to play. A bid of 5NT over 4NT usually shows two aces and a void.

See also Roman Keycard Blackwood.

Blocked Suit: A suit in which the partnership holds cards that would take several tricks, but the partner with the fewer cards in the suit has only cards in the suit that are higher than partner's. Consequently, an entry to partner's hand is required after all the higher cards are played.

Board-a-Match (BAM): A form of team game scored at matchpoints. Since each board is played only twice, you simply win, lose, or tie on each one.

Bracketed: Essentially the same as flighted, except that the masterpoint limits for each flight (bracket) are determined by the directors after all the entries are in, either to equalize the brackets or to make most of them convenient sizes (for KO play). Usually, players are required to play in the lowest bracket for which they qualify.

Brozel: A convention that shows two suited hands over opponents 1NT opener. Clubs shows clubs and hearts; diamonds shows diamonds and hearts; hearts shows hearts and spades; spades shows spades and a minor; 2NT shows both minors; double shows the equivalent or better hand of 1NT.

See also Astro.


Canape: When opening two-suited hands, the shorter of the two suits is opened first rather than the longer as is traditional.

Cappelletti (Capp): Also known as Hamilton. A convention used over opponents opening 1NT bid.

X=penalty (indicates equivalent or better hand than 1NT bidder)
2C=one-suited hand in any suit, including clubs (partner responds 2D, --1NT-2C-P-2D-P-3C is clubs)
2H=hearts & a minor
2S=spades & a minor

Carding: See Discard.

Claim: To claim is to show your hand and demonstrate how the remainder of a play would proceed, thus saving time on an already certain result.

Concede: To concede means you and partner (either declarer or defense) can take no more tricks. This also speeds up the game.

Communication: The presence of adequate entries in a partnership's combined hands.

Cramped: Auctions where you don't have as much bidding space as usual (such as after pre-empts).

Cuebids: (Slang - Q-bid) A cuebid is the bid of a suit that is very unlikely to be trump, either because it has been bid by the opponents or because your side has already agreed on trump. There are three types of cuebids:

Cuebids that promise: These usually show first (or sometimes second) round control of the suit bid (i.e. the ace or void for first round control and the king or singleton for second round control). (1S-P-3S-P-4C shows first round control of clubs.) (1S-P-3S-P-4C-P-5C shows second round control of clubs but denies first round control in either hearts or diamonds).

Cuebids that ask: Usually looking for a stopper for no trump (1D-2S-3S) or for help in a suit in game try (1S-P-2S-P-3C, looking for club help).

General force: Usually showing a limit raise or better (1S-2D-3D) or (1D-1S-1NT-2D, which shows limit raise or better in spades).


Declarer: The player, in the partnership which won a contract, who plays both his hand and the dummy hand.

Discard: Any card played when one does not have the suit that is led. Discards (or carding) can have many specific meanings depending on system and partnership agreement.For information on various carding systems, visit the Australian Bridge Archive.

Distribution: The amount of cards one has in each suit. A hand is considered distributional when one has considerable length in one or more suits and shortness in others.

DONT: Acronym for Disturb Opponents No Trump. A convention used over opponents opening NT bid to show 5 card suits.
X = a one-suited hand (no longer for penalties)
2C = 2 suits; clubs and one of the higher suits
2D = 2 suits; diamonds and one major
2H = hearts and spades
2S = spades

Basically it shows 5 cards in each of the 2 suits. When doubling to show a one-suited hand, you should have the equivalent of an opening bid and a good suit. After the double, partner should bid 2 clubs, which is alertable, and simply means: partner bid your suit.) For more information, visit (NEED WORKING ARCHIVE LINK).

Double: A bid technique. Various kinds, however all doubles not for penalty are considered conventional.  Some examples:

Balancing Double/Balancing Bid: Making a bid in position where passing would end the bidding (ie: 1D-P-P-?). The requirements for balancing (with a double or otherwise) are always less than bidding in the middle of a live auction. The reason for this is that here the opponents have given up in a part score, so you can assume that your partner has some good cards. In a live auction they may be going to game and your partner may be totally bust (a really bad hand).

Business Double: - Same as a penalty double (i.e. I mean business).

Lead Directing Double: A double which asks partner to lead a specific suit. Often these will be doubles of artificial or Q-bids made by your right hand opponent. The most common would be a double of stayman (2C over 1NT) which says, "Partner, I have clubs". A double like this does not usually ask to compete in the auction, but may be made on something like KQTxx of clubs and not much else.

Lightner Double: Almost always used when opponents have bid to a slam. They are made by partner of opening leader and always ask for an unusual lead. Many times that player will be void in a suit. Very often it will specifically ask for the lead of dummy's first bid suit (doubler may have AQ of suit, or K with outside A, or be void).

Negative Double: Used after partner bids and opponents overcall - shows 4 cards in the unbid major.

Optional double: Simply means a double that can be passed, or not, by partner. In a sense, all doubles are optional, but some more so than others.

Penalty Double: Used when you think you can set (prevent them from making) opponents contract.

Responsive Double: A specialized bid for more advanced players which allows partnerships to decide whether to compete for part score, go to game, or defend.

Support Double: - A specialized bid for more advanced players. Used when you have opened the bidding and partner has responded, and your right hand opponent has bid. A double at this point shows 3 cards in partners suit (ie: 1D-P-1S-2C-X). To bid 2S would show 4 spades (and no extra values beyond opening hand). To pass or bid anything else would deny having as many as 3 spades.

Takeout Double: - Used after opponents bid to indicate support in unbid suits.

Double Dummy: For declarer to play as if she can see all four hands. This term can be literal (a double dummy problem) or figurative ("He played it double dummy," - as if he could see all four hands).

Doubleton: Having two cards in a suit.

Drury: A convention used to verify if third and fourth seat openers have full opening hand values.  Often players will open with fewer points than usually required for an opening bid when they are in third or fourth seat after two passes.

With a good hand in support of opener (usually a limit raise, 10-12 HCP or better, and 3 or more trumps) responder bids 2C - an artificial bid. It asks partner to describe his hand. With less than opening HCP, opener bids 2D. With a legitimate opening HCP count, opener bids anything else.

Many people play reverse Drury, which simply reverses responses (ie: with fewer points than usually required for an opening bid, opener would rebid the opening suit and any other bid indicates a legitimate opening HCP count).

Duck: To purposely play a low card instead of playing a higher winning card.

Dummy: In a partnership which is playing a contract, this is the non-Declarer hand. After bidding is completed, the dummy hand is laid on the table for all players to see. The Declarer plays both his and the dummy hand.  Sometimes the term is used as an impolite reference to another bridge player.

Duplicate: General term for the method of bridge play used in tournaments. The same cards are bid and played several times by different groups of people. Your score is computed by comparing your result to the results obtained by other players who held your cards.


Elimination: To play all the cards in a particular suit so that defenders can not play that suit - either because they no longer have any or because it will provide a sluff and ruff.

Endplay: A situation, often but not necessarily occurring toward the end of the play of a hand, where a player is on lead and for this reason any play gives up a trick. For example, having to lead from the last two cards of a hand when those cards are KJ of trumps and an opponent holds AQ.

Entry: A card which will take a trick even if the hand containing it is not leading to the trick; very important since it enables that hand to get the lead to take other winners, for finessing, etc. Whether a particular card is an entry generally depends on the holding in the other hands - i.e. the ace of a non-trump suit is a sure entry only if you know that your partner or an opponent will lead that suit and it won't be ruffed.

Establish: To eliminate all high cards held by the opponents in a suit, so that your small ones will take tricks (unless ruffed). One also speaks of establishing a some number of tricks; for example, if you hold KQJ opposite xx in a suit at no trump, and the opponents take the ace on the first round of the suit, when two tricks have been established for your side.


False Card: The deceptive play of a card. Playing a different card than the one expected in order to deceive opponents. It can be as simple as playing the 5 from 654 (instead of the 4) or playing the Q from QT (instead of the ten), or ducking the king when you have the opportunity to win with it. This is one of the most fascinating and enjoyable parts of advanced play.

Finesse: Paraphrased from Sheinwold's 5 Weeks to Winning Bridge: An attempt to win a trick with a card that is not the highest in the suit after one defender has already played.

Flannery: A convention that shows a hand with 11-15 HCP, 4 spades and 5 hearts. This is a very difficult hand to bid in Standard American Yellow Card (not enough values to reverse the bidding, and no convenient rebid over a 2 level minor response (i.e. 1H-2C-?). To to fill the gap this convention was invented.

Flight (A/B/C):
Many tournaments are divided by level, so that novices do not need to play against experts. The limits for the lower flights are usually set according to masterpoints. Anyone may play in Flight A (including players eligible for the lower flights), while only players below the limits may play in B and C. The proper flight for a pair is determined by the player with more masterpoints in the pair (or most on the team, generally).

In the ACBL, "flighted" has a more specific meaning. A pair/team who achieves an overall placing in a higher-ranked flight is awarded master-points according to the total number of pairs/teams in that flight AND any lower flights.

Supposedly, a flighted game benefits the experts by assuming they can beat the novices and granting them the points for doing so without requiring them to prove it. (For example, if there are 20 pairs in the open game, 20 in the 0-1000 game, 20 in the 0-300 game, 20 in the 0-100 game and 10 in the 0-20 game, and the first three of these are designated as flights A/B/C but the 0-100 game and 0-20 game are NOT included in the flighting, then the first-place pair in flight A gets masterpoints based on a field size of 60 pairs, not 20 or 90.)

Forcing bids: A bid which, by partnership agreement, requires that partner bid again.

Forcing Defense: A defensive strategy useful when the defenders have enough high cards or a suit they can establish. By repeatedly leading good cards (slang-tapping), they force declarer to ruff and so shorten his own trump length; they can then seize control with their own trumps and cash their remaining good tricks.

FSF (Fourth Suit Force): An artificial bid in an unopposed auction of the only unbid suit after 3 suits have been named in the first 3 bids of the auction. It says nothing about the bid suit, and creates a general game forcing situation.


Garbage Stayman: A variant of Stayman which offers the possibility to stop the bidding in either 2H or 2S (ie: 1NT-2C-2D-2H). It may show either 4-4 or 4-5 in the majors and weak hand.

Another version of Garbage Stayman is used to respond to a 1NT opener with a bust hand with either a singleton or void in clubs and no other meaningful distribution.  Such auctions would be passed out after the opener gives the Stayman response.

Gerber: The Gerber Convention is used over NT Bidding. When your partner opens 1NT, you know he has 15 - 17 hcp. If you have 16 or more hcp, you are well within Slam range.

The bidding proceeds: 1NT P 4C Completly artificial, it is the ace asking bid. The responses are as follows: 4D = 0-4 4H = 1 4S = 2 5NT - 3 Again, do not ask for Kings without having all the aces, just place the contract.

You may, with partnership understanding, use Gerber over all NT, including the LAST bid No Trump, such as bidding which goes: 1H p 1S p 2NT 4C - this now is Gerber, but remember to discuss this with your partner before playing it.

An example: Kxx QJx AKxxx xx.  The bidding has proceeded: 1NT p 3D p 3NT p 5C - The "standard" treatment to bid Gerber after Opener rebids 3N is 5C as opposed to 4C. A bid of 4 Clubs would show a Club suit.  Again, remember to discuss this with your partner before playing it.

GSF (Grand Slam Force): A conventional bid of 5NT (by passing the usual 4NT convention to ask for aces) asking partner about trump quality. In the simplest form, partner is expected to bid a grand slam with two of the three highest trumps, or a small slam without them. GSF may also be a bid of new suit at the 6 level after Blackwood (ie: 1S-3S-4NT-5D-6C is GSF asking partner to bid 7 if he has two of the top three honors in spades). If accepting GSF, it is usual to bid 6NT rather than 7 of suit to allow partner to correct to a 7 level contract. Occasionally partner may hold (void - Qx - AKQ - AKQxxxxx) and the bidding would proceed: 1C-P-1H-P-5NT (GSF in hearts) - 6NT (AK of hearts)- 7C (to play).

Hamilton: See Cappelletti.

HCP (High Card Points): A method of hand evaluation, which consists of assigning point values to the top cards in each suit. The most common is the Work Point Count, developed by Milton Work, which assigns the values 4-3-2-1 to the Ace-King-Queen-Jack.

Hook: Slang for Finesse (See Finesse).

Howell: An alternative to the Mitchell movement for a small field in a pairs game. Almost all the pairs move each round and, if the full movement is played, each pair plays against each other pair. A single winner is produced.

IMPs (International Matchpoints): A scoring method in which the difference between a pair's score and some other score is converted to an IMP score using a roughly logarithmic scale. In conversion, it is spoken of as "IMPing."  In a team game, you IMP against the other table's score. In IMP Pairs, the IMPing may be either against some sort of average of all the other tables, or individually against each other table.

Individual: A form of tournament bridge play where you are partnered with a different person in each round. At the end of the round each of you is credited with whatever points your partnership scored while it was together.

Inverted Minors: The name inverted minors comes from the fact that a single raise in a minor suit is forcing and a double raise is pre-emptive.

This definition assumes there is no competitive interference. If there is interference, most partnerships revert back to Standard American style. The auctions 1C-P-2C and 1D-P-2D both show at least 4 card support and at least 11 HCP. As a rule, the 2C and 2D bidder has more that 4 card support. Both auctions are forcing to 3NT or 4 of the agreed upon minor suit. The openers FIRST responsibility is to bid major suit stoppers up the line, thus 2H would show a heart stopper and would deny a spade stopper and 2S would show a spade stopper and would deny a heart stopper. 2NT shows stoppers in both major suits and (normally) a minimum hand 3NT shows stoppers in both major suits and (normally) a maximum hand.

All other rebids by opener are natural. Thus, a three club rebid by opener would tend to deny stoppers in either major and show a long suit and a minimum. The auctions 1C-P-3C and 1D-P-3D show at least 5 card support for the minor and show less than 10 HCP. Opener can then proceed according to their hand.

Invitational bids: A bid which invites partner to continue to game (or slam) with a good hand. It may or may not be forcing.


Jacoby Transfers: Used over partner's opening 1NT or 2NT bid, and also after the sequence of 2C followed by 2NT. Jacoby bids are artificial and show length in the suit that is one above the suit bid, asking opener to bid that suit. In the sequence - 1NT - P - 2D - P - opener should bid 2H. Variations of Jacoby have been developed which include transfers to all suits in which 2S is a transfer to 3C and 2NT is a transfer to 3D (this is called 4 suit transfers).

It is also possible to super-accept a Jacoby Transfer bid. This means that if partner transfers (showing 5 or more in a suit), and the opening NT bidder has a maximum NT bid and four cards in that suit then he can jump in that suit or even Q-bid in support (ie: 1NT-2D-3H, or 2NT-3D-4H, or 2NT-3D-3S which shows a great hand in support of hearts and spade control).

Jacoby 2NT: A forcing raise of partner's opening bid of one of a major. Bidding 2NT at that point promises 4 card support (or longer) in the suit already bid and game-going values. It asks partner to further describe his opening bid. Generally, if opener bids a new suit at the three level, it shows a singleton or void in that suit. If opener bids 3 of his original suit, he is showing extra values and no singleton. If opener bids 3NT, it shows extra values a balanced hand. If opener bids 4 of a new suit, it shows a good second 5 card suit. And if opener rebids 4 of his original suit, it shows minimum values with none of the above.

Jump Shift: One level of bidding is skipped in a non-contested auction (i.e. 1C-P-2H or 1H-P-3C). In SAYC, this shows a very strong hand. In other conventions, it is weak. It can also have specialized meanings in established partnerships.


Knockout (KO): A team game in which the team losing a match is eliminated. (If the number of teams entering is not a power of 2, three-way matches will be used until a power of 2 is reached.) Typically the matches last for a whole session or even two sessions, except in a Zip KO where short matches are played and the whole event is completed in a single session.

Landy: A convention used over opponents 1NT bid. 2C shows both majors, everything else is natural.

Lebensohl: A convention for dealing with interference after your side has opened 1NT. It is a way of differentiating between weak, invitational and forcing hands. All new suits bid are invitational (show values but not enough to go to game). 2NT is either weak or game forcing: if partner bids 2NT, opener must bid 3C; if 2NT bidder now passes or bids new suit that is weak and must be passed; if partner now Q-bids or bids 3NT he has a game forcing hand. There are many variations.

Limit(ed) bid: Any bid that shows a relatively narrow range of strength.

Limit raise: A response to an opening bid, usually a raise of the suit to the 3-level, which show slightly less than the strength for game opposite a minimum opening bid. Invites partner to bid game with more than a minimum opener (or overcall).

LTC (Losing Trick Count): A method for estimating the number of tricks which your hand will lose, assuming that you have trump control. The count is the number of small cards which would need to be replaced by aces, kings, or queens to allow your hand to win the first three tricks in all four suits. (Many versions count an extra half-loser for a queen, and deduct a half-loser for an ace.) Thus:
AKQ-0 losers
void-0 losers
Axx-2 losers (or 1.5)
K-1 loser
xxx-3 losers
xxxxx-3 losers

Marked Finesse: A finesse which it is known will succeed, typically because the player who will play fourth to the trick has previously shown out of the suit now being led.

Matchpoints: The more common scoring system in duplicate bridge. You receive 1 point for every pair which played your cards whose score you beat, and 1/2 point for ever pair whose score you tied. (European clubs sometimes use 2 and 1 instead of 1 and 1/2.)

Michaels: Michaels is a bidding convention designed to show two suited hands after your opponent has opened the bidding. These hands should be 5/5 in most circumstances, similar to the Unusual No Trump bid. Some players loosen some of the restrictions.
1C-2C shows hearts and spades
1D-2D shows hearts and spades
1H-2H shows spades and a minor (2NT asks minor)
1S-2S shows hearts and a minor (2NT asks minor).

The strength of the hand depends on the vulnerability. At unfavorable vulnerability it should be a very good hand. At favorable vulnerability it can be very preemptive. Over (1C-2C-P) 2H or 2S can be bid on almost nothing so it should not be viewed as even moderately constructive.

Mitchell: The most common movement of players in a pairs game. Either your pair sits north-south and remains in one position for a whole session, or your pair sits east-west and changes to a new table with each round. Slight variations in this movement may apply, depending on the number of pairs entered. The north-south and east-west scores are tabulated separately, producing two winners unless an overall ranking of both sets of teams is done.

Mixed Raise: A jump cuebid in the opponents' suit (eg 1C-1H-1S-3C) showing enough shape to want to preempt but too much strength for a direct preempt. It's roughly a four card constructive raise, with the exact strength depending on the style of play.

No Trump (NT): A contract played in No Trump means that no suit is Trump. The highest card in any suit played takes the trick.

1NT Forcing: A bid associated with 2/1 Game Force and used to describe a wide variety of hands where a pass of partner's opening bid is not an option and responder does not have the values to force to game. Generally opener responds by bidding his longer minor suit, rebidding opening suit (with 6 or more), bidding other major (to rebid 2S, after opening 1H, requires extra values), or raising 1NT (2NT would show 17-18 HCP, 3NT would show 19-20 HCP). Some play 1NT forcing in all seats, others play that it can be passed if in 3rd or 4th seat when a sub-par hand has been opened.

Namyats: Called South African Texas opening in some places. 4C is a strong pre-empt of 4H, 4D is a strong pre-empt of 4S. That way 4H and 4S deny significant defense and it takes quite a lot to make slam opposite.

New Minor Forcing (NMF): New minor forcing is when your side has opened one of minor, responded 1 of major, and then 1NT - at this point a bid of the other minor is artificial. It asks partner (opener) to describe his hand more clearly. With other major (hearts in1C-1S-1NT-2D) he bids 2H; with 3 card support of spades hebids 2S (min) or 3S (max); otherwise can rebid minor or bid NT.
One-over-One (1/1): A one-level suit bid in response to partner's opening one-level suit bid.

Overruff: To ruff with a higher trump, on a trick where there has already been a ruff (or two!).

Pairs: The most common form of tournament bridge play. You play with one partner throughout the event and the two of you are scored as a unit. The scoring is usually matchpoints, but IMPs can also be used, in which case the game is IMP Pairs.

Precision: A strong club based bidding system.

Pre-empt: A bid that raises the level of bidding dramatically. It is usually done with a weak hand and a long suit. The purpose is to force your opponents to make decisions with very little information about the others hands. Given time, most good players will find a good contract. Well placed pre-empts take bidding room away from opponents and make them guess. Pre-empts can be opening bids (ie: 3S or 2D) or can be overcalls (such as bidding 4s over your right hand opponent's 1D opener). Use of pre-empts should vary dramatically depending on position (whether your partner is a passed hand) and vulnerability.

Psych: When you make a bid that deliberately gives misinformation to everyone at the table. Examples include opening a hand with no HCP, or bidding a suit that you dont have, or pre-empting with a very good hand - these are the common kinds of psyches. It can be compared to bluffing in poker. The key is that everyone is fooled, including your partner.

Puppet Stayman: A form of Stayman (asking for majors over NT opening bid) that allows opener to show both 4 card majors and 5 card majors and differentiate between them. It also can be played in such a way as to allow either opener or responder to play the hand. Over 2NT, opener puppet responses to 3C are - 3D shows one or two four card majors. 3H or 3S show a 5 card major. 3NT denies a 4 or 5 card major. Over a 3D response to 3C Stayman, bidder can bid 3H (shows 4 spades and denies hearts), or 3S (shows 4 hearts and denies spades), or 4D (shows both majors). This way the 2NT opener gets to play the hand.

See also Stayman, Garbage Stayman.


Q-Bids: See Cuebids.

Quantitative Bid: An asking bid in NT. It asks partner to look at hand and decide whether he is at the top of his range in previous bidding. (1NT-P-4NT) says - with top of range we want to be in 6NT and with the bottom of range we want to be in 4NT. In this sequence it is usually best to proceed with Blackwood and answer aces in case your side may be missing two aces. If you find you are missing two aces, (1NT-4NT-5D), a bid of new suit, 5S, asks partner to bid 5NT which you can pass). (1NT-P-5NT) asks partner to bid 6NT with a minimum hand and 7NT with a maximum hand.

Warning: 4NT as quantitative only applies when the person responding has limited his hand to specific range in no trump. (1D-P-1S-P-1NT-P-4NT) is quantitative. (1D-P-1S-P-2NT-P- 4NT) is quantitative. (1D-P-1S-P-2C-P-2H-P-2NT-P-4NT) is not because 2NT does not show a particular range.


Red vs. white / green / vulnerable vs. non-vulnerable: In rubber bridge, your side is vulnerable when you have won one game in a rubber; in duplicate, the vulnerability is assigned on each hand, and marked in red on the board (thus "red on white" means that you are vulnerable and the opponents are not). If you are vulnerable, you gain increased bonuses for game, but suffer increased penalties for undertricks. "Green" is slang in some places for "white on red."

Reverse: Bidding two suits in the reverse of natural order, forcing partner to take a preference at a higher level than would have been necessary. 1C-1H-1S is not a reverse, since partner can bid 2C; (1C-1S-2H) is, since partner must bid 3C if he prefers clubs. 1H-2D-2S is likewise a reverse, since partner must bid 3H. (1H-2D-3C) is sometimes called a high reverse, since opener went to the 3-level himself. Generally shows substantial extra strength. For additional information on reverses visit the Bridge Archive.

Roman KeyCard Blackwood (RKC): This convention treats the K of trump as if it were an ace, giving 5 aces -- and the responses are:
5C -- 0 or 3 Keycards
5D -- 1 or 4 Keycards
5H -- 2 Keycards without Q of trump
5S -- 2 Keycards and the Q of trump

Over a 5C/5D response, 5 of a non-agreed suit usually asks for the Q of trump. A rebid of the lowest possible level of trump denies it; a bid of 5NT promises the Q, but no (non- trump) kings; 6 of any non-trump suit shows trump Q and K of suit bid; 6NT promises the Q, and the next K up the line.

Round: A period of time during which the same players continue to sit at the same table and must play a certain number of boards.

Ruff: To play a trump when one is unable to follow suit.

Ruffing finesse: A finesse taken by leading the non-highest card when the partner's hand has none left in the suit but does have a trump


Sacrifice (Sac): To bid to a contract that you know will not make because the score for being set in an unmakeable contract will be better than the score opponents will get for making their contract.

Show out: Fail to follow suit. The emphasis is on the fact that the exact distribution of the suit is now known - you wouldn't say that dummy showed out when it failed to follow. (i.e. "When declarer played trumps, east showed out - giving declarer a shock".)

Signoff: A bid which partner is expected to pass. Some signoffs are absolute; others, particularly when the bidder's partner is unlimited, warn partner of a weak hand but allow him to continue.

Singleton: Having only one card in a suit.

Skip bid: A skip bid means that at least one level of bidding is passed over. It can happen anywhere in the auction. An opening bid of 2S is a skip, since the one level was passed over.

Slam: A contract in which either 12 tricks (small slam) or 13 tricks (grand slam) must be taken.

Sluff: Discard. Often used in the rhyming phrase "sluff and ruff" for a ruff and discard (leading a suit where declarer and dummy are both void). This often gives declarer an extra trick, but is also often done deliberately when declarer is having trouble with trump control).

Speedball: Same as zip.

Splinter: A specialized raise of partner's suit showing game going values, four or more trumps, and a singleton in the suit bid.

Squeeze: A position in which a player (usually a defender) is faced with a choice of discards, all of which give the opponents a trick.

Standard American Yellow Card (SAYC): The most common bidding system in North America.  System notes are widely available across the Internet.

Stayman: A convention which attempts to find a major suit fit after NT has been opened. After partner opens 1NT, responder bids 2C which asks opener to bid a 4 card major. (After a 2NT open, responder bids 3C.) Lacking a 4 card major, opener bids 2D. With one 4 card major opener bids it. With 4 cards in both majors most players bid 2H first. There are many variations on how to play Stayman. It is very important to discuss Stayman with any regular partner.

See also Garbage Stayman and Puppet Stayman

Stiff: Adjective meaning a singleton. As in, "The ace picked up the stiff king of clubs."

Stopper: A card in a suit that the opponents might be expected to take tricks in which is of high enough value that it can stop them from taking all those tricks at once. Especially important for the declaring side in no trump contracts, which cannot maintain control of the hand through ruffing.

Stratified: An alternative to a flighted game. Pairs/teams are divided into strata by masterpoints, but then they all play together and are scored based on this. However, once the teams have been ranked according to score, their placing is then assigned based on their stratum -- except that if a pair/team would get more masterpoints by being considered in a higher stratum, then they are. For example, if the low stratum is 0-100 master-points, a pair that beats all the 0- 100 pairs gets a first place -- but if they also beat a number of the higher-ranking pairs, then they may get the benefit of a placing in a higher stratum.
A stratified game benefits the novices by initially assuming that they are not expected to beat the experts, but still allowing them to reap the masterpoint reward if they do.

Stratiflighted: A hybrid flighting system where Flight A is played as a separate game and the other flights are stratified together.

Support Asking Bid (SAB): Usually at the 2-level. Opener bids a new suit after a positive response and responder replies in steps -- usually weak hand, bad support; weak hand, good support; strong hand, bad support; and strong hand, good support. Good support is defined as Qxx or xxxx or better.

Swiss Teams: The most common form of team game at tournaments. Your team plays several successive short matches (typically 6 to 9 boards), and after each match, is paired for the next match with another team whose record in the game is as close as possible to yours. At the end of the event, teams are ranked according to their overall records. The ranking may simply count wins, or the IMP score for a match may be converted to Victory Points (VPs) on some preset scale, and the VPs used for ranking. Masterpoints can be won for placing in the ranking, but also in smaller quantities for winning individual matches.

Table Talk: Conveying illegal and unauthorized information while the hand is going on. Strictly speaking no comment about any facet of the hand is allowed while bidding or play is going on. Some leeway is given during casual games and in the interest of humor, but caution is best taken.

Tap: See Forcing Defense.

Tapped Out: Forced to ruff to the point that you lose trump control.

Team Game, or Team-of-Four: The second most common form of tournament bridge play, after pairs. You enter the tournament as a team of four (or more, but only four play at a time). You sit with one pair N-S at one table and the other pair E-W at another table, playing against another team. A set number of boards (hands) are played at both tables, and then the results at the two tables are compared (usually by IMPs) to determine a match winner.

Texas Transfer: Similar to a Jacoby Transfer, but done at the 4-level and showing 6+ card suits, and usually denying any interest in slam. (4D transfers to hearts, 4H transfers to spades.) Often played over opponents competition if the competing bid is less than 3C.

Throw-in: To deliberately lose a trick when it will cause the opponent taking it to be endplayed.

Transfer: Any artificial bid which asks partner to bid a specific suit so it can be played from partner's side of table. Examples see: Jacoby Transfer, Texas Transfer.

Transportation: In declarer play, this is the means by which one gets from the declarer's hand to the dummy and back. This is very important because often one has to play a card (or cards) from one hand to maximize the number of tricks to be taken. If one does not have sufficient entries (a way to get from one hand to the other) - either to the dummy or to declarer's hand - one is said to have transportation trouble.

Trump: A suit, which in the process of bidding has been established as Trump, has the potential to take any other trick. For example, in a contract where clubs have been established as Trump, a heart is led - but you have no hearts (are void in hearts) - you can play a club (TRUMP) and take the trick ... provided no player following you plays a higher club (trump) than the one you played.

Trump Coup: The lead of a plain suit card from a hand without any trumps, through a player with only trumps left, thus forcing a ruff, which can then be over ruffed in the next hand. It achieves the same effect as a finesse in the trump suit but without requiring there to be a trump to lead. Entries are critical in planning this play.

Two-over-One (2/1): A two-level bid of a lower-ranking suit in response to partner's opening one-level suit bid, or short for Two-over-One Game Force.

Two-over-One Game Force (2/1 GF): 2/1 GF is a systemic variant of Eastern Scientific, which in turn is a systemic variant of Standard American. 2/1 GF also borrows some ideas from K-S. (Kaplan-Sheinwold). 2/1 GF simply means that 2 level responses to 1 of a suit are natural, but also forcing to game. e.g. S-2C, 1S-2H, 1H- 2D, etc. It is a matter of style whether 1D-2C is similarly forcing. There are also two basic variations: one due to Hardy, the other to Lawrence. In one, a 2/1 bid is an absolute game force, in the other, it is only a game force most of the time (there are exceptions).

Two Way Bid: A bid which could show two completely different types of hands, and which will be clarified by the next round of bidding. These treatments are only for advanced players. The most common (and currently fashionable) example is the Multi-2D opener which shows either a weak 2 bid in either major or a very strong balanced hand (20+ HCP). Generally, it will be a weak 2H or 2S bid, but not always. Partner of the opener can generally not pass until the hand is clarified.

Two-Way Finesse: A suit combination such as A J 2 opposite K 10 3, which offers the opportunity to assume that either one of the opponents has the a particular outstanding card and finesse accordingly. On some hands the decision may be avoided by using another technique such as a throw-in or squeeze.
Unblock:To get rid of high cards in a suit so that partner can then cash lower cards in that suit, or to avoid winning the high card and thus be endplayed. Unblocks can happen in both declarer play and in defense.

Unusual NT: A jump to 2NT over an opening bid by the opponent shows a distributional hand of varying strength depending on the vulnerability. In most cases it shows at least 5-5 in two suits. There are usually the two lowest unbid suits. So over one of a major this would show both minors. Over one of a minor this would show the other minor and hearts. Some people play that it shows both minors regardless of the opening bid. Some people play that a jump to 4NT over an opening bid also shows the lower two unbid suits and a very distributional hand.

Victory Points: A form of Swiss Teams scoring which gives more weight to the margin of victory than simply win-loss scoring.

Void: Having no cards in your hand in a particular suit. ("I was void in hearts on that last hand.")

Vulnerable: When your partnership has won one game of the rubber, your partnership is referred to as vulnerable. This means that game bonuses and penalties for being set are increased.

See also Red vs white / green / vulnerable vs non-vulnerable.

Weak Two Bids: A hand opened at the 2-level which shows weak points, generally 5-10 HCP (although this may vary by partnership agreement), and 6 cards in the suit. This allows responder to count tricks and get to game on fewer HCPs, or as preemptive with a suggestive lead and an unbalanced hand.
Yarborough: A hand with no card higher than a nine. It has come to mean any really terrible hand.
Zip: A game played at a faster pace and somewhat less seriously than usual. A game played at a faster pace and somewhat less seriously than usual.



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