Yahoo Games Games Home - Yahoo

  Play Now! 

History   Basics   Game Play   Scoring   Expert Play   Glossary  
above the line
in rubber bridge, scores entered for overtricks, game and rubber premiums, slam bonuses, honors, penalties--in short, any points except those that are earned toward game (see "below the line")

artificial bid
a bid with a special meaning unrelated to the suit named, such as an opening bid of 1 club in a strong club system or a bid of 4 no trump to ask for aces (see Blackwood Convention)

balanced hand
a hand with no voids or singletons and at most one doubleton; balanced hands are desirable in no trump contracts

below the line
in rubber bridge, scores entered for bidding and making a partial score or game

a call by a player naming a suit (or no trump) and a number from 1 through 7, suggesting a trump suit (or none, in the case of a "no trump" bid) and the number of tricks more than six that the partnership will undertake to win (e.g., a bid of two spades proposes a contract to win eight tricks with spades as trump); or a call of "double" or "redouble," which increase the rewards and penalties if the previous bid becomes the final contract

up Back to Top

an old and popular convention in which a bid of 4 no trump asks partner to indicate how many aces he or she holds; responses vary, but the most common are to bid 5 clubs with zero or four aces, 5 diamonds with one ace, 5 hearts with two aces, and 5 spades with three aces. If the 4 no trump bidder then bids 5 no trump, it is a request for the number of kings.

to take a winner

the suit denoted by the symbol club

the ability to shift the lead from a player's hand to his or her partner's hand

competitive bidding
bidding involving both partnerships, as distinguished from auctions in which one partnership passes throughout or quickly drops out of the bidding

the final suit and number bid, plus any double or redouble; e.g., a contract of 4 hearts, or a contract of 1 no trump doubled; the partnership making the final bid undertakes to take six tricks more than the number bid with the named suit (or with no suit) as trump

up Back to Top

in a suit contract, an ace or void is called first-round control, and a king or singleton is called second-round control; also, control means the possession of enough trumps to avoid running out of them when needed to stop the opponents from taking tricks in other suits

advance agreement between partners on how to exchange information by bids and plays

alternate trumping of each other's plain-suit leads by the two hands of a partnership

cue bid
a bid made, usually after some other suit has been agreed as trump, for the purpose of showing control of the first or second round of the suit; or a bid of a suit bid by the opponents, the meaning of which varies according to the situation and partnership

to distribute the cards to the players; or the set of all four hands that have been dealt, as in, "We bid 3 no trump on that deal"

the player who deals the cards and has the first opportunity to bid

in the partnership that bids the final contract, the player who was first to bid the trump suit; this player plays the hand

up Back to Top

the partnership that tries to prevent declarer from making his or her contract

the suit denoted by the symbol diamond

a card played in a suit other than the suit led, and other than a trump

the way the 13 cards in a player's hand are divided into suits; e.g., "I had 5-4-2-2 distribution"; also, the way in which a particular suit is divided among the four players' hands

distribution points
in evaluating a hand, points added for distributional features rather than high cards; when raising partner's suit, a void is counted as 5 points, a singleton as 3, and a doubleton as 1

a bid made by the opponent of the previous bidder, suggesting that the contract be played for higher stakes; if the final contract is doubled, penalties and rewards are greater (more than double, in many cases). A double of a low-level bid is most often a "takeout double," promising a good hand and support for suits not bid by the opponents; the doubler's partner will normally "take out" the double by bidding.

up Back to Top

an original holding of exactly two cards in a suit

a declarer "goes down" or "is down" when a contract fails; "down two" means there were two undertricks

draw trumps
to remove trumps from the opponents' hands by leading them; a standard tactic for a declarer

declarer's partner; after the opening lead, the dummy arranges his or her hand face up on the table, sorted by suits, with trump on the left (from the other players' perspectives) and suit colors alternating; declarer chooses what cards to play from dummy throughout the hand

duplicate bridge
a popular club or tournament format in which partnerships compete against multiple opposing partnerships; a set of deals are played repeatedly by different combinations of partnerships; on a given deal, a partnership earns one match point for each pair that did worse with the same cards, and half a match point for each pair that did the same

up Back to Top

a situation late in the play of a hand in which an extra trick is maneuvered by forcing an opponent to make an undesirable lead, such as a lead from a suit containing a high card

turn cards into winners by forcing out cards that would beat them; e.g., after drawing trumps, a declarer will often try to establish a long side suit by leading it until the opponents have no more, or none high enough to take a trick in the suit; also, a revoke becomes "established" when it is too late to correct it, e.g., when a player has already led to the next trick

an attempt to win a trick with a card lower than one held by the opponents; e.g., if declarer leads a low spade toward dummy's ace-queen of spades declarer's left-hand opponent plays a low card, declarer can win the trick with the queen if the left-hand opponent holds the king

in defending a hand, to play winners in a side suit that the declarer must ruff in order to gain the lead; the purpose of forcing plays is to weaken declarer's trump holding force out, drive out (a high card): to lead cards in a suit until an opponent must play a winner, thereby establishing other cards in the suit

forcing bid
a bid that, by conventional agreement or common sense, a player's partner should not pass, such as a cue bid in the opponent's suit

up Back to Top

fourth best
the fourth-highest ranking card of a suit, a common choice for an opening lead against a no trump contract

earning 100 points below the line, either by combining part scores or by bidding at least 3 no trump, 4 hearts, 4 spades, 5 clubs, or 5 diamonds on a hand; the winner of a game becomes vulnerable, and the first side to win two games wins the rubber

grand slam
a bid at the seven level, requiring declarer to win all 13 tricks

the 13 cards dealt to a player; or the entire deal (all four hands collectively, as in "a hand of bridge")

the suit denoted by the symbol heart

high-card points
in point-count bidding, points counted for aces, kings, queens, and jacks, rather than for distributional features such as voids, singletons, or doubletons

up Back to Top

a signaling technique in which a defender first plays a higher card, then plays a lower card, the first two times a suit is led; the signal is most used to encourage partner to lead the suit again or to show the number of cards in the suit (most players play high, then low, to show an even number of nontrumps or an odd number of trumps)

hold up
refusal to play an ace or other high card at the first opportunity; often a good tactic for both declarer and defenders in no trump hands as a means of cutting the opponents' communication

in a single player's hand, a holding of either four of the top five cards in the trump suit (worth 100 points), all five top cards in the trump suit (150 points), or in a no trump contract, a holding of all four aces (150 points)

international match points (IMPs)
a method of scoring used often in team of four competitions, occasionally in pairs events, in which point differentials are converted into other units by means of a sliding scale that mitigates the effect of gaining or losing a large number of points on a single deal

invitational bid
a bid played tentatively in order to better determine partner's hand, rather than to win tricks

jump bid
a bid that could have legally been made in the same suit at a lower level, made either to show extra strength or to make it riskier for the opponents to bid, depending on partnership agreement

up Back to Top

jump overcall
a bid made after an opponent's bid at a higher level than necessary to name that suit; e.g., after an opening bid of 1 diamond, a bid of 2 spades by the next player would be a jump overcall; depending on partnership agreement, jump overcalls may show either weak hands or strong hands

jump shift
a bid in a new suit, made in response to partner's opening suit bid, at a level one higher than necessary; most players use a jump shift to show great strength in both the suit and the hand as a whole

the card played to start a trick, or the obligation to play the first card of a hand; a player "has the lead" or is "on lead" when he or she has won the previous trick

a card that will be taken in an opponent's trick, usually considered in relation to both declarer's hand and the dummy

major suits
spades and hearts, which score 30 points per level bid and made and thus require a successful bid of four to make game on one hand

up Back to Top

match point
a unit of scoring in duplicate bridge

minor suits
clubs and diamonds, which score 20 points per level bid and made and thus require a successful bid of 5 to make game on one hand

natural bid
a bid that indicates length and sometimes strength in the suit named, as distinguished from an artificial bid

no trump
a hand played without any suit being named trump; for bidding purposes, "no trump" is treated as a fifth suit

not vulnerable
not having won a game during the rubber; see vulnerability

up Back to Top

opening bid
the first bid made in an auction ("pass" not being considered a bid)

opening lead
the lead to the first trick, made by the player to declarer's left before the dummy is exposed

a bid made immediately after an opponent's bid-- or after an opponent's bid followed by two passes--at the minimum level needed to bid the suit named; compare jump overcall

a trick won by declarer in excess of the tricks needed to fulfill the contract

two players who sit across from one another and act as a team against the other two players

up Back to Top

the alternative to making a bid; an auction ends after three players pass consecutively (or after all four players pass in the first round of bidding)

passed hand
a hand that had the opportunity to open the bidding but passed

points earned by the defenders when a declarer fails to make a contract; also, any of numerous punishments that may be applied for violating a rule of the game

penalty card
a card prematurely exposed by a defender, which generally must be left faceup and played at the first legal opportunity

penalty double
a double made for the purpose of extracting a penalty, as distinguished from a takeout double (or certain other kinds)

up Back to Top

a unit of scoring; alternatively, a unit counted to determine the value of a hand for bidding purposes (see point-count bidding)

point-count bidding
a method used in most bidding systems to assess the value of a hand by considering high cards and distributional features; most commonly, each ace is counted as 4 points, each king as 3, each queen as 2, each jack as 1; and when raising partner's suit, a void is counted as 5 points, a singleton as 3, and a doubleton as 1.

preemptive bid (or preempt)
an opening bid made at a level of 3 or higher, normally indicating a long suit and little defensive strength

preemptive response
a response to partner's bid at a level higher than a jump bid would be, usually made to make it difficult for the opponents to compete in the bidding

a player "under pressure" is having trouble finding safe discards while the opponent--usually the declarer--is playing winners in another suit; see squeeze

up Back to Top

psychic bid
a bid made with a very weak hand, often in a short suit, in the hopes of confusing the opponents and keeping them from finding their best contract

to bid a suit previously named by partner

a bid made after a double by the side making the bid that was doubled, suggesting that the contract be played for roughly twice the already doubled stakes; at low levels in the bidding, a redouble is most often used to show a strong hand after an opponent's takeout double, or to send a reliable partner an "S.O.S." and warn him or her to change the bid to a different suit

a bid made after one's partner has bid (including a bid made after partner has made a takeout double)

the bid of a suit by a player who bid a lower-ranking suit the previous round, usually showing a hand with extra strength

up Back to Top

a failure to follow suit when able, which is subject to various penalties; in rubber bridge, if a revoke is established--i.e., can no longer be corrected because the next trick has begun--the offending side is penalized either two tricks or the number of tricks their side won after the revoke, whichever is smaller

a best two-out-of-three set of games between two partnerships; also, the name of the bonus given to the team that first wins two games

rubber bridge
the form of bridge played at Yahoo and in most social bridge circles, in which the object is to win games and rubbers, as distinguished from other forms of bridge such as duplicate and team of four

to play a trump when another suit has been led

ruff and sluff (or ruff and discard, or sluff and ruff)
a trick on which both partners, almost always declarer and dummy, are out of the suit led and have an opportunity to discard a losing card from one hand while ruffing in the other hand

up Back to Top

Rule of 500
a rule of thumb for bidding which states that without support from partner, the bidder should bid within two tricks of his contract if vulnerable; within three tricks of his contract if not vulnerable. If player is doubled by opponents, 500 points are lost, which is the same as the loss if opponents make a game on the hand; sometimes known as Rule of Two and Three

in a competitive auction, a bid made with the expectation of failing to make the contract, in the hopes that the penalty will be less than the score the opponents would make if allowed to play the hand

to defeat a contract

shut-out bid
another word for a preemptive bid

side suit
in a contract played with a trump suit, one of the suits other than trump

the play of a card by a defender to convey information to his or her partner, such as the number of cards held in a particular suit or what suit to lead next; signals are most often based on whether the card played is high or low

up Back to Top

an original holding of exactly one card in a suit

a bid at the six or seven level, requiring declarer to win 12 or 13 tricks, and earning a large point bonus if successful; see grand slam, small slam

small slam (little slam)
a bid at the six level, requiring declarer to win at least 12 of the 13 tricks

the suit denoted by the symbol spade

spot card
any card ranking below a jack

a situation in which one or both partners cannot safely discard without establishing one or more tricks for the opponents

up Back to Top

Standard American bidding
a term used to describe the bidding systems and conventions that are most widely practiced in the United States

standard leads
commonly methods of leading, including a lead of the higher of touching honors (other than aces), such as king from a suit led by king-queen-jack

Stayman Convention
a common conventional response of 2 clubs to an opening bid of 1 no trump, asking the 1 no trump bidder to name a four-card major suit if possible

another word for singleton

a card or combination of cards in a suit sufficiently high to take at least one trick if the opponents lead the suit; in no trump contracts, declarer's side usually needs stoppers in all four suits

up Back to Top

strong club system
a bidding system in which an opening bid of 1 club is forcing and artificial, promising a strong hand

one of the four kinds of cards in a deck, denoted by symbols and known as spades, hearts, diamonds, and clubs; for bidding purposes, "no trump" is treated as a fifth suit

takeout double
a double made to induce partner to bid rather than for penalties; the double of a low-level suit bid is normally for takeout promising support for the unbid suits

team of four
a popular tournament format in which teams consist of four players (plus any alternates); a series of deals is playedtwice, with each team playing the North-South cards at one table and the East-West cards at another table, then comparing the results and converting the point differentials into international match points (IMPs)

a holding of two cards in a suit, usually high ones, that are two ranks apart, such as ace-queen or king-jack

up Back to Top

without other cards in the suit; e.g., "In clubs I held king-queen tight."

a bid that, by partnership agreement, requests partner to make a specific bid, usually of the next higher ranking suit

the set of four cards played in a round, won by the highest trump or, if no trumps are played, by the highest card of the suit led

the highest ranking suit, named in the contract; during the play of the hand, any trump, regardless of rank, will beat any nontrump card

unbid suit
any suit not yet bid for completing a trick

the number of tricks by which a declarer fails to fulfill the contract

up Back to Top

unusual no trump
a jump overcall in no trump, or a simple overcall in no trump by a passed hand, conventionally used to show a holding of five cards in each minor suit or in each of the two lowest-ranking unbid suits

an original holding of no card in a suit

the kind of scoring rules that currently apply to a partnership, with vulnerable partnerships having more to gain and lose than nonvulnerable ones. In rubber bridge, a partnership is vulnerable if it has won a game during the rubber; in duplicate and team of four bridge, combinations of vulnerability are preassigned and changes from board to board (i.e., neither side vulnerable, one side vulnerable, the other side vulnerable, both sides vulnerable)

having won a game in the rubber; see vulnerability

a card that will take a trick

a hand containing no card above a nine

up Back to Top