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Encyclopedia  of Bridge Terms
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


Duplicate     Bidding     General     Play     Conventions     Jargon     Rubber
 

 

General

B - An Internet Bridge "chat" abbreviation meaning "I am Back".
 

Jargon

Baby - The colloquial term referring to a low ranking card.  See Card Names
 

Bidding

Baby Blackwood - See Conventions
 

General

Back - The reverse side of a card  showing the uniform design of the pack (deck). See Example
 

 


Duplicate

 

Back Of Card -  See Example
 

 1.

The reverse side of the playing card that show the card design without the suit denomination or rank.

 2.

Referring to the the "left side" of the ACBL Convention Card.

 

Jargon

Back In - A call after the player has previously passed.
 

Bidding

Back Preference - Showing support for the first of two suits bid by partner.
 

Duplicate

Back Score - A tally sheet showing the scores of the each player over a series of play. See Example
 

 

Play

Backward Finesse - A finesse tactic played in the opposite direction of the natural procedure.  The backward finesse may be beneficial when anticipating the other opponent is holding certain honors, or when playing "against the field" (shooting) by risking a low-odds play, seeking to boost the standing of the pair. See Example
 

 

Play

Backwash Squeeze - This variation of the squeeze play is based on a trump squeeze where both menace cards are in the same hand, with the opponent seated behind the menaces holding two guards leads a trump. Aptly named, the opponent is squeezed in the backwash since the declarer squeeze takes a ruff with the hand holding the menaces.  A variation is the Seres Squeeze, where one of the squeezed suits is trump. See Example
Also see Coups, Crocodile Coup, Morton Fork Coup, and books on Coups and Squeezes
 

General

Bad Hand - A player's holdings without appreciable strength or length.
 

Jargon

Bagger - The number of cards held in a suit, as a 6-bagger.
 

Bidding

Balance -  See Balancing Bid
 

Bidding

Balancing Bid- A call made based on the opponents' calls indicating their collective weakness.  See Details

Also see Books on Doubles, Balancing
 


General
Balance of Power (BOP) - The pair having the most combined high card points at the table.  Lacking distributional assets, the side with the highest balance of power usually wins the auction.
 

General

Balance of Strength - Identifying which side holds most honors or High Card Points.
 

General

Balanced Distribution - One of three specific hand patterns showing suit parity: 4-3-3-3, 4-4-3-2, or 5-3-3-2.
 

General

Balanced Hand - A hand with even suit distribution.
 

Bidding

Balancing In Direct Seat - To make a competitive bid in the direct (as opposed to passout) seat, where opponents' are bidding.  See OBAR BIDS
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Laws

Bar -

1.

As provided by the Laws, prohibiting a player from bidding due to an infraction, such as bidding out of turn, doubling partner, exposing an honor card, etc.

Pass, enforced
Action in violation of obligation to pass - Law 37
Adjusted score for damage resulting from - Law 23
Affecting right to review auction - Law 20
After bid out of rotation - Law 31
After double out of rotation - Law 32
After exposed card - Law 24
After irregularity - Law 23
After pass out of rotation - Law 30
After redouble out of rotation - Law 32
Condonation of action in violation of obligation to pass - Law 35

2.

To ethically refraining from making a call, due to unauthorized information provided by partner, such as a hesitation implying values

 

Play

Barco Squeeze - A "triple-double" squeeze, pressuring both opponents in three suits.  Example
 

Bidding

Baron Response to 1 Notrump - See Conventions
 

Bidding
Baron 1 Notrump Overcall - See Conventions
 
Bidding

Baron System - See Conventions
 

General

Baron Barclay Bridge Supplies - A major distributor of Bridge books and merchandise.  See website
 

Play

Bare - To unprotect an possible winning card, usually when opponent is running a long suit and it becomes difficult to discard.
 

 

 

 

Duplicate

Barometer - A tournament format where all pairs play the same cards simultaneously (at different tables).  In a Barometer game the boards do not move from table to table after each round. All pairs play the same boards (identical cards) at the same time throughout the event. To accomplish this, the director and staff must pre-duplicate many sets of boards prior to the game. Quite often each table will have its own set of boards. Alternatively, two or three tables may be share one set of boards to reduce the number of boards duplicated. Each set of boards is removed from play after one round.   As a result, all scores for a given set of boards are available as soon as the round is over. The director retrieves the score tickets and enters them immediately. This process allows the scores to be posted for inspection by the players after each round so each pair knows their current standing after each round. Any given pairís fortunes will rise and fall as the game goes on - hence the name Barometer.
 


Bidding

Barrier Bid (Reverse) - While partnership agreements vary, a widely accepted meaning of the barrier bid (reverse) refers to a player's rebid of a higher ranking suit than their bid at the prior bidding level.  See Details
 

 

Duplicate

Barry Crane Top 500 - An ACBL award recognizing the top 500 Bridge players that have accumulated the most Masterpoints in a calendar year. The trophy was named after Barry Crane in remembrance of his extraordinary playing achievement.
 

Bidding

Bart - See Conventions
 

Jargon

Bath - A poor sacrifice resulting in a significant penalty.
 


Play

Bathe Coup - A tactic of playing a low card from holdings including Ace and Jack when the Left Hand Opponent lead from King, Queen and other cards in a given suit.  Thus, if the Left Hand Opponent leads a second card, declarer will take 2 subsequent tricks assuming Right Hand Opponent does not ruff the suit.  See Details
 


Jargon

Bathtub - A whimsical superstitious reference by Rubber Bridge players that those seated in the direction of the home's bathtub will be dealt better cards.
 

Duplicate

BBL - Abbreviation for British Bridge League
 

Jargon

Beat - To set or defeat the contract.
 

 

 

 

 

Jargon

Beaver  - A redouble, originating from Backgammon (also see Recharge, Rewind).   A "SOS" Beaver is a Redouble for Takeout.  A redouble for penalty includes:

1.

Doubt Beaver - When the side bids a questionable contract, as
3 Notrump doubled. A Redouble asks partner to consider bidding an alternative suit, as a minor, unless partner is confident of making contract

2.

Bluff Beaver - Playing Matchpoints, a redouble of opponent's contract for penalty, with anticipation of doubling opponent who shifts back to their suit

3.

In-Turn Beaver - A penalty redouble invoked where the side has a high degree of confidence in making the contract

4.

Out-Turn Beaver - A mixture of the In-Turn and Bluff Redouble.  The Out-Turn Redouble is a gamble used when the side is not certain of making the contract with hopes the opponents' will run to a poor contract

 

Bidding

Becker - See Conventions
 

Jargon
 

Bed - To "go to bed" with one's cards, often referring to failing to cash an Aces before the opposition take all the remaining tricks.
 

Laws

Behavior - See Properties: Laws: 72  73  74  75
 

Play

Bell - A encouraging signal, as a high/low discard.
 

Rubber

Below the Line - A Rubber Bridge scoring term. referring to points that count towards game for tricks bid and made.  See Example
 

Bidding

Benjamin - See Conventions
 

 

General

Bennett Murder - A true tragedy which occurred in 1931; John S. Bennett was shot to death by his wife during a bitter argument over a hand at the Bridge table. While she was tried for murder, the Jury acquitted her.  See the famous hand
 

Bidding

Bergen Redouble Over Notrump - See Conventions
 

Bidding

Bergen Drury - See Conventions
 

Bidding

Bergen Over Notrump - See DONT (D.O.N.T.) Conventions
 

Bidding

Bergen Raises - See Conventions
 

Bidding

Bergen Raise Of Major After Double (BROMAD) See Conventions
 

 

Duplicate

Bermuda Bowl - A trophy given at the premiere World Team Bridge Championship.  The biennial contest is held on odd numbered years. On leap years, the Team Olympiad is hosted and the World Bridge Championship is played on the other even numbered years.
 

 

General

Bermuda Bowl Incident - In the 1975 Bermuda Bowl, newspaper correspondent Bruce Keidan observed Italian team partners Gianfranco Facchini and Sergio Zucchelli were using foot signals to communicate under the table during bidding and before opening leads.  See Cheating
 

Play

Best - Leading from one's holding during play, as "fourth-best" rank from one's cards held:     A 10 7 5 2     - leading the 5 is the fourth best
 

 

General

Better Bridge - A premiere Bridge company for beginner, novice, and intermediate players, produced by Audrey Grant and David Lindop.  Better Bridge offers the Judgment book series, Better Bridge articles in the ACBL monthly Bulletin, and a host of seminars at tournaments, resorts, and cruise ships.  See website
 

 

 

Bidding
xxx

Better Minor - Associated with the five-card major opening style, an agreement to open the stronger minor when holding 3 cards in both of the minor suits (and no five-card major).  Bid 1C, holding:

  A 10 6 3
K 8 5
A K 2
9 8 4 3
 

 

 

 

 

 

Laws

Bid - A commitment to take the certain number of tricks above six, in the specified strain (trump suit or Notrump).  Thus, a commitment to take nine tricks would be 9 - 6, or a bid of 3 in the strain (Notrump, Spades, Hearts, Diamonds or Clubs).  Technically, calls consist of any bid including the pass, double, or redouble.  However, the opposite is not true - pass, double, or redouble calls are not bids.

After final pass - See Law 39
Distinguished from other calls - See Law 18
Form of - See Law 18
Insufficient - See Law 18  27
Of more than seven - See Law 35  38
Out of rotation - See Law 27  29  31
Proper form -  See Law 18
Sufficiency -  See Law 18
When pass was required - See Law 37

Bids, simultaneous - See Law 33

 

 

Laws

Bid Out Of Turn (Rotation) - A call by a player when it was not in turn. See Law  27 - 29 - 31

       Duplicate Decisions    More
 

Bidding

Biddable Suit - A suit with enough length and/or strength to be called at one's turn.
 

 

Jargon
 

Bidder -

1.

The player making a bid

2.

A player noted for aggressive bidding, as a "busy bidder"

 

Bidding

Bidding - The Bridge phase where players compete to name their preferred strain and number of tricks committed.
 


Duplicate

Bidding Boxes - The physical holders used to facilitate bidding via a silent auction using special bidding cards. See Example,  Director Tech File - Bid Box
 

Bidding

Bidding Space - The number of steps remaining in the current auction.
 

Bidding

Bidding System - The high-level collection of partnership bidding agreements, such as: 2/1Bridge World Standard, ACOL, Eastern Scientific, Goren, Italian Blue Club, Kaplan-Sheinwold (KS), Precision, RomanMoscito, Standard American Yellow Card (SAYC).  See System Bidding Index
 

Jargon

Biff - The colloquial term referring to ruffing (playing trump).
 

Jargon

Big Casino - The colloquial term referring to the 10 (ten of Diamonds), originating from the card game Casino.  See Card Names
 


Bidding

Big Club - Systems using the 1 Club System include: Bangkok Club, Italian Blue Club, Canary Club, Carrot Club, French Club, Little Roman, Marmic, Orange Club, Precision, Relay, Roman, Roth Club, Simplified Club, Trefle Squeeze, Vanderbilt, Vienna.  See Details
 

Bidding

Big Diamond - A method similar to the Big Club system, 1D promises an unbalanced hand with at least 17 High Card Points. However, here an opening of 1C shows 14-16 points but not balanced (e.g., 1 Notrump).
 



Jargon

Big Top - The colloquial term referring to the maximum matchpoint score on a board when multiple sections are scored as one unit (factored).  While a matchpoint top in one section may be a score of about 14,, "big tops" may be as high as 28.
 

 

General

Biritch - Also known as Russian Whist, Biritch comes from the term "an announcer" (players "announce or herald" their auction).  Books on Whist date back to the mid-1700's.  The first book was written by none other than Edmond Hoyle, titled Short Treatise.
 

Jargon

Bit - The colloquial British expression referring to a small card
 

General

BIT - Abbreviation for Break In Tempo
 

General

Bolster - A partial stopper in a suit likely to be promoted by opponents.
 

Jargon

Black Maria - The colloquial expression referring to the Q (Queen of Spades).  See Card Names
 

 


Duplicate

Black Points - Pertaining to ACBL masterpoints awarded, typically given to the top 40 percent of players in Club or Unit games.  In addition to Black, Silver, and Gold points, the ACBL requires an achievement of 200 Black Points to become a Life Master. These points are awarded for success in sanctioned club games and unit games. There are some special events (usually conducted at clubs) that award points where some portion of the award will be in black points and the remainder will be in another color.
 

Bidding

Blackwood - See Conventions
 

 

Jargon

Blank -

1.

A void in a suit

2.

An unprotected card (singleton) as a result of discard problems

 

Jargon

Blind Lead - An uncertain opening lead when little is known about opponents' holding as a result of terse bidding.
 

Jargon

Blitz - To defeat soundly by a significant margin.
 

Jargon

Blizzard - A weak hand lacking both strength or length.  See Yarborough
 

 

Duplicate

BLML - The Bridge Laws Mailing List is a subscription-based list server dedicated to managing EMAIL correspondence between Bridge Directors.  Bridge Directors subscribe to EMAIL correspondence sent to the list server.  See BLML to signup.
 


General

Block - To tactic to prevent an opponent from running a long suit by controlling entry to that hand, usually by leading a suit to prevent future entry to the hand with a long suit.  Also see Ducking

Also see Books on Unblocking
 

Jargon

Blockbuster - The colloquial term referring to a very strong hand.
 

Play

Blocked Squeeze - A simple, Alternative Squeeze, also called an Either Or Squeeze, or a Criss Cross Squeeze.
 

Play

Blue Peter - A term dating back to the days of Whist, based on high-low discarding. The name is derived from the nautical signal to show a ship is preparing to sail.
 

Bidding

Blue Team Club - A strong Club system used by the Italian "Blue Team" which helped them win numerous major championships.  See Italian Blue Club and Precision System
 

Bidding

Blue Team 2 Diamonds - An initial bid showing 17-24 points, with a 4-4-4-1 distribution.
 

 

 

Duplicate

Blue Ribbon Pairs - A special ACBL tournament held at the Fall North American Bridge Championship; invitees include:

1.

Those who finish near the top of a national championship event

2.

The top 100 Masterpoint holders

3.

An official team member representing the ACBL in international competition

4.

Winner of Grand National Team championship

 

Jargon

 

Bluff - A call or play with the intent to deceive opponents.
 

 

Play

Bluff Finesse - A finesse which may be profitable through tricking an opponent.  For instance when North/South are in a trump contract and playing a side-suit, West might erroneously duck the best play of going up with the King when the Queen is led (bluffing West into believing North/South is holding the Jack).  See Example
 

Jargon

Bluhmer - A jump bid or other call suggesting partner consider bidding Slam, indicated by denying strength in partner's short suit.  See Example
 

 

General

 

 

 

 

Laws

Board -

1.

A reference to the Dummy's cards displayed on the table. See Example

2.

The holder used to keep the cards separated in duplicate Bridge, facilitating replay by others.  See Example

Cancellation - See Law 6  17  86
Cards in - See Law 7
Control - See Law 7
Dealer rotation - See Law 2
Duplication - See Law 6
Fouled - See Law 87
Late play - See Law 15
Misplacement of cards in - See Law 90
Movement - See Law 8
Placement - See Law 7
Play of wrong board - See Law 15  17  90
Redeal - See Law 6  86
Removal of cards from - See Law 7
Substitute - See Law 86
Vulnerability rotation - See Law 2
Wrong board played - See Law 15  17  90


Duplicate

Board A Match (BAM) - A Team event where the winners of each deal receive one point, one-half of a point for a tie, and zero points for each loss. See Director Tech File: Board-A-Match (BAM) General, Board-A-Match (BAM) Conditions of Contest
 

Duplicate

BoD - Abbreviation for Board of Directors [ACBL]
 

Duplicate

Board of Directors  - Representatives from each of 25 Districts, responsible for determining ACBL policy and direction.
 

Duplicate

BoG - Abbreviation for Board of Governors
 

Duplicate

Board of Governors - Advisors to the ACBL Board of Directors, meeting three times a year at National Bridge Championships.
 

Jargon

Body - A reference to sub-honor intermediate cards which might be useful towards subsequent tricks, such as 10's, 9's, and potentially 8's.
 

General

Bols Bridge Tips - An annual collection of the best Bridge tips submitted by contestants and judged in the Netherlands.
 


Play

Bonney's Squeeze - A "triple-double" squeeze on one opponent (pressuring in three suits, with a simple Squeeze against the other opponent.  See Example
 

Rubber

Bonus - The premium score awarded to the Side making or exceeding a challenging milestone. See Example
 

 

Rubber

Book -

1.

An accumulation of six cumulative tricks taken by declarer

2.

Following the prescribed bidding and playing practices

 

Jargon

Book Player - A player who wisely follows the most profitable bidding procedure or line of play.
 

Jargon

Boost - To raise to bidding, often in a competitive auction to obtain a profitable result.
 

Laws

BOOT - Abbreviation for Bid Out Of Turn
 

General BOP - Abbreviation for Balance Of Power
General

Borderline - A threshold bid decision, which faces a greater degree of uncertainty.
 

 

Play

BOSTON - The abbreviation for "Bottom Of Something, Top Of Nothing", referring to partnership lead agreements.  Thus, a lead of a low card promises partner a useful honor in the suit led (Bottom of Something".  The lead of a high or middle card warns partner the leader cannot provide help in the suit lead (Top Of Nothing), asking partner to consider switching to another suit.  See Opening Leads.

Also see books on Leads
 

Jargon

Bottom - A term in Matchpoint scoring, indicating the lowest score of all competitors playing a board (deal).
 

 

Play

Bottom of Something - The lead of a low spot card to signal one's partner that the leader holds an honors in the led suit.  Thus, the partner is given notice to return the led suit.  Conversely, leading "Top of Nothing" indicates no encouragement for the led suit.  See BOSTON.
 

Jargon

Boy - The colloquial term referring to the J (Jack).  See Card Names
 


Duplicate

Bracket - A grouping of contestants in a Knockout tournament, where the losing half the Teams are eliminated after each Session, ultimately yielding one top team.
 


Duplicate

Bracketed - A segmented division of a knockout tournament, normally structured by the contestant's rating categories.   Each division will have their own top team at the completion of the tournament.
 

General

BRB - An Internet Bridge "chat" abbreviation meaning, (I will) "Be Right Back"
 

 

 

General

Break -

1.

The balance of the adversely held cards by opponents in a suit. See Probabilities

2.

A term meaning to defeat the opponent's contract

3.

To make an opening lead in a new suit

 

Rubber

Breakage - A term associated with Rubber Bridge scoring, indicating rounding off the score to the nearest 100 points.
 

 

 

General

Bridge - A card game for four players, with two partnerships playing opposite one another.  Each player is dealt 13 cards, each having the opportunity to make progressively higher suit bids until three players finally pass.  In the second phase of Bridge, the cards are played rotationally.  After each player contributes one card to a trick, the winner receives credit and chooses the  best play for the next trick.  When all 13 cards have been played, the competitors count the total tricks won by each side and assess whether they made their committed bid.  Common forms of scoring include: Rubber/Contract Bridge and, Chicago/Duplicate.  See History of Bridge.
 

 

Duplicate

Bridge Bulletin - The ACBL's monthly magazine, featuring columns on bidding and play for all levels of players, with information of upcoming tournaments and results of past tourneys, Bridge books and software reviews, and listings highlighting achievement.
 

General

Bridge Base Online - See Bridge Service Providers
 


General

Bridge O Rama - An early technique used to graphically display professional Bridge bidding and play to spectators.  Vu-graph and computer technology have effectively replaced Bridge-O-Rama.
 


General

Bridge Service Providers - Online Internet-based companies that enables players to access their Bridge gaming server to compete with other Bridge player on a worldwide basis via the world-wide web. See Details
 

 

General

Bridge Notation - A graphical layout showing an overhead view of the cards each player holds. Players are referred to by their compass orientation; clockwise from the top, the players are: North, East, South, West.  See Example
 

General

Bridge Today - A major Bridge company offering magazine and Internet education, organized by Pamela and Matthew Granovetter.  See website
 

General

Bridge World - Founded in 1929 by Ely Culbertson, The Bridge World is the world's oldest continuously-published bridge magazine.  See website
 


Bidding

Bridge World Standard - A consortium of leading Bridge professional in North America, under the direction of the Bridge World company, who maintain an agreed-upon bidding methodology. See Details
 

Jargon

Bring In - To satisfactorily make the required tricks committed by the contract.
 


General

Broken Sequence - A number of adjacently-ranked cards in the same suit, with one card missing in the running series, as A K J 10 9 8 (missing the Queen).
 

Bidding

BROMAD - See Conventions
 

 

 

 

Duplicate

Bronze Life Master - An ACBL Life Master who has received at least 500 Masterpoints.

Masterpoints

Achievement

300, w/other tournament requirements

Life Master

500

Bronze Life Master

Silver Life Master: Replace "A Life Master with 1000" with "A Life Master with (a) over 1000 masterpoints, including (b) no fewer than a combination of 200 silver, red, gold, or platinum points"

Silver Life Master

Gold Life Master: Replace "A Life Master with 2500" with "A Life Master with (a) over 2500 masterpoints including (b) no fewer than a combination of 500 silver, red, gold, or platinum points"

Gold Life Master

Diamond Life Master: Replace "A Life Master with 5000" with "A Life Master with (a) over 5000 masterpoints, including (b) no fewer than a combination of 250 gold or platinum points and (c) no fewer than a combination of 1000 silver, red, gold or platinum points."

Diamond Life Master

Emerald Life Master: Replace "A Life Master with 7500" with "A Life Master with (a) over 7500 masterpoints, including (b) no fewer than a combination of 500 gold or platinum points and (c) no fewer than a combination of 1500 silver, red, gold or platinum points."

Emerald Life Master

10000 w/other tournament requirements

Grand Life Master

 

Bidding

Brozel - See Conventions
 

Bidding

Brough's Rule  - The belief that bidding 3 Spades is more pre-emptive than 4 Spades.
 

General

BTW - An Internet Bridge "chat" abbreviation meaning, "By The Way..."
 

 


General

Buenos Aires Affair - A scandal involving cheating charges against the team representing Great Britain brought on by the United States Team.  According to testimony, a member of the British team (Terrance Reese and Boris Schapiro) were witnessed holding his cards with a different number of fingers which indicated to his partner the number of Hearts held.  See Cheating
 

 

Jargon

Bull -

1.

The colloquial term referring to the A (Ace).  See Card Names and Example

2.

To make a serious mistake

 

Jargon Bullet - The colloquial term referring to an Ace.  See Card Names and Example
 


Duplicate

Bulletins - Bridge newsletters released daily by the ACBL at National Championships and in some International Tournaments by those governing the event.
 

Jargon

Bump - When two honors are played by the same side on the same trick.  Also said to be crashing honors.
 

 


Duplicate

Bump Mitchell - In Duplicate events, a modification of the Mitchell movement to accommodate an extra pair (half table). The Director sets up the game as though no half table or extra pairs exist. The extra pair is assigned a number one more than the highest pair, and sits out the first round.  On the second round, the highest numbered team replaces the North-South players at Table 1 (for the rest of the Session), who sits out the second round.  On the third round, the #1 pair "bump" the players at Table #2, etc.
 

Bidding

Business Double - A penalty double (as opposed to a takeout double).
 

Jargon

Bust - Referring to a hand without strength or length.  See Yarborough
 

Jargon

Busy Bidder - A player who often makes unwarranted bids where the normal call would be to either pass or make a less speculative bid.
 

Play

Busy Card - An important card which, in the lay of the hands and the timing of its play, may control the outcome of the tricks won or lost.  See Menace and Squeeze
 

Jargon

Butcher - A term indicating poor play.
 

Jargon

Buy - To acquire the contract in a contested auction, potentially at an uncomfortable level.
 

Bidding

BWS - See Bridge World Standard.
 

Jargon

By Me - An informal, yet improper, phrase indicating the player wishes to Pass.
 

 


Duplicate

Bye -

1.

A sitout round without opponents

2.

A movement used to ensue Duplicate players do not play the same boards twice.  Usually, an extra table, known as a "Bye Stand" is established to hold rotating boards

 

Laws

Bylaws of the ACBL - See ACBL website
 

Bidding

Bypass Diamonds - See Conventions
 

Bidding

Byzantine Blackwood - See Conventions
 

 

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