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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
 

 


Part 1: Sack - Slow Pass
      Go to Part 2: Slow Play - Systems On/Off

 
Bidding

SAB - Acronym for Support Asking Bid (Alpha Cuebid) - See Conventions
 

Jargon

Sack - To make a sacrifice bid.

Bidding

Sacrifice - To make a high level bid that is expected to fail, yet resulting in a lower level loss than allowing the opponents to make their contract.  See Example
 

General

Safety Level - The upper bidding level a partnership can bid with a reasonable risk to make the contract.
 


Play

Safety Play - A line of play that minimizes the risk to make a contract, as opposed to attempting to make the maximum attainable score.  Safety Plays more frequent in Rubber Bridge and Duplicate IMPS scoring, while Duplicate matchpoint scoring encourages players to take greater risks.  See Details

Also see books on Safety Plays
 

Jargon

Salmon - The colloquial term referring to the 7 (seven-spot) card.  See Card Names
 

Jargon

Sandbagger - Referring to a player making an irregular bid. See Details

 In other card games, like blackjack and poker, sandbagging refers to playing a strong hand passively (slow-playing).
 

Play

Sandwich Defense - A sequence of defensive suit combinational plays, beginning with the lead of the second highest card from a broken suit.
 

Bidding

Sandwich Notrump - See Conventions.

Bidding

Sandwich Overcall - See Conventions.

General

San Atout - French for Notrump

Jargon

Savannah - The colloquial term referring to the 7 (seven-spot) card.  See Card Names
 

Jargon

Save - To make a sacrifice bid.

Duplicate

Sanction - A sanction is the permission given by the ACBL to a club, unit or district to hold a duplicate event and to award masterpoints.
 

Bidding

San Francisco Convention - See Conventions

Jargon

Sax - The colloquial term referring to the 6 (six-spot) card.  See Card Names
 

Bidding

SAYC  - See Conventions

Duplicate

SBU - Abbreviation for Scottish Bridge Union

Bidding

Scanian Signals - See Conventions
 

Play

Schroeder Squeeze - A triple squeeze lacking count in a three card position, allowing declarer to either promote side suit winner or cross ruff losers.  See Example
 

Bidding

 

Scientific Bidding - Referring to a bidding style that relies on a more complex style of bidding to quantify their holdings. See Example

Play

Scissors Coup - An attempt to eliminate (cut) opponent's transportation by playing a loser on a loser, intending to prevent a ruff.  See Example
 

 

Jargon

 

 

 

Laws

Score - Duplicate table of Bridge Scoring
 

1.

Colloquial expression to "score" a trick or tricks in named suits.

2.

The result earned after the end of a hand or game, depending on the Bridge format: Rubber, Chicago, or Duplicate.  See Duplicate Bridge Law 77, Rubber Bridge Law 81.

Adjusted score - See Law 12  86  88
Calculation - See Law 77
Comparison during session prohibited - See Law 90
Correction of errors - See Law 79
Fouled board - See Law 87
IMPs - See Law 78
Indemnity points - See Law 88
Matchpoints - See Law 78
Methods - See Law 78
Scoring table - See Law 77
Total points - See Law 78


General

Scorecard - A sheet of paper used to track the result attained by a player or players.  In a Duplicate event, the scorecard is often the reverse side of the Convention Card.  In a Rubber Bridge game, the scorecard is frequently referred to as the Tally. See Example
 


Duplicate

Score Sheet - A summary sheet, also called a Recapitulation sheet, showing the individual results of for each board in a tournament.  See Example
 

 

Play

Bidding

Scramble -
 

1.

An effort to win tricks without controlling the  trump suit, usually by ruffing with low ranking cards that would otherwise become losers.

2.

To quickly change the denomination of an auction, often in response to a penalty double by an opponent.

 

 


Duplicate

Scrambled Mitchell Movement - A Duplicate event where all players compete, as opposed to a standard Mitchell where North-South players compare their scores against themselves, as do East-West players.  In the Scrambled Mitchell, at various round changes the Director moves the directional arrow from North to East.  Since each pair plays both directions, all pairs compete against one another, yielding only one winning pair (as opposed to a winning pair for each direction).
 

Jargon

Scratch - To attain a score sufficiently high enough to earn an award, typically masterpoints.
 

 

Duplicate

Screen - A divider used in high level Duplicate Bridge tournaments to ensure partners cannot see one another to send improper signals.  From a more positive viewpoint, everyone benefits from Screen since players need not be concerned that their mannerisms and gestures could be misconstrued by their partner.  See Example   Director Tech File
 

Duplicate

Screenmate - The opponent seated on the same side of the diagonal screen divider.
 

 

Laws

Seat - The position of a Bridge player at the table.  In a Duplicate Bridge event and on a Bridge diagram, the seats are oriented clockwise from top: North, East, South, West.  See Example

Seat - See Law 5

 

 

General

Secondary -
 

1.

A secondary call made at the player's second opportunity

2.

A second round of control

3.

An intermediate holding beneath the top honors

4.

A lesser support in a side suit than shown in the primary suit

 

 

Jargon

Second Guesser - Also known as a Result Player, a player or kibitzer who suggests a bid or line of play after the hand has been played, indicating they knew the failings of the player or players under scrutiny.  The inference is that Result Players is not able to indicate a correct line before the hand is bid or played.  As Bridge professional and writer Marty Bergen aptly wrote, "Only Mom loves a Resultor"
 

General

 

Second Hand - The player who has the second opportunity to bid or play to a trick.
 

Play

Second Hand Low - A generalized rule that suggest the player in the second position play a low card on opponent's lead of a low card.
 

Bidding

Second Negative - A second unenthusiastic response after an artificial strong opening bid by partner.
 

General

Secondary Honors or Values- Typically referring to Queens and Jacks, although a King might be included when the hand is missing the Ace.
 

Play

Secondary Squeeze - A squeeze followed by a loss of a subsequent trick or tricks. Also known as a Strip Squeeze or Squeeze without the Count, since the declarer need not rectify the count. See Example
 

Duplicate

Section - Contestants grouped into a unit to compete in one or more Duplicate Bridge sessions.
 

 

Duplicate

Sectional - Sanctioned ACBL Units and Clubs may offer Sectional tournaments, usually lasting two to four days.  Popular tournament formats include Pairs, Intermediate-Novice, and Swiss Team games.  Winners are awarded Silver pigmented masterpoints.
 

Duplicate

Section Markers - A sign indicated the Section segment, typically mounted to a pole among card tables in a Duplicate event.  After the session, the Director posts the results (recap sheet).  See Example
 

Duplicate

Sectional Master - A player with 50 to 100 recorded masterpoints, at least 5 of which are silver points, is known as a Sectional Master.
 

 


Duplicate

Seed -
 

1.

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

2.

A decision by the Director to assign high ranking contestants to certain seats to minimize an imbalance due to strong pairs playing one another.  In pair events, the seeding tables are typically number 3 and 9.  ACBL National tournaments usually assign seeded players to tables 3, 6, and 9.  In Board-a-Match events, the seeded tables are often adjacent, such as table 1 and 2, 7 and 8.

 

 

 


Duplicate

Seeding - The ranked arrangement for each set of contestants assigned by the Director based on their anticipated playing strength.  Seeding constitutes the assignment of certain tables to particularly strong contestants to assure there will be no preponderance of strong pairs in direct competition within any one section. In pair events, tables 3 and 9 are usually reserved for seeded players.  For instance, for a 15 table movement, the top 4 pairs may be seated at tables 3, 9, 13, and 7, respectively. For a two flight Club game, the stratas may be seeded by table/strata as: 1-A, 2-B, 3-B, 4-A, 5-B, 6-B, 7-A, 8-B, 9-B, 10-A, 11-B, 12-B, 13-A, 14-B, 15B.  Some team events are also seeded.
 

General

Semi Balanced Hand -  A hand distribution where the suit pattern is either a 5-4-2-2 or 6-3-2-2 (two 2 card suits).
 

 


Duplicate

Semifinal -
 

1.

An intermediate round in an elimination event, such as a Knockout.

2.

In an Individual, Team, or Pair Game, the round after the qualification round and preceding the final round.

 

Bidding

Semi Forcing - A forward going bid requesting partner to keep the bidding open with anything more than a minimum hand.
 

Bidding

Semi Psychic - A bid which departs from partnership agreements by abnormally stretching the value of one's holdings, near a gross misrepresentation of length and/or strength values.
 

General

Semi Solid - A broken suit containing a loser.

Jargon

Send it back - To make a redouble.
 

Duplicate

Senior - Referring to a Bridge player 55 or more years of age.


Duplicate

Senior Player Of The Year - The player, 55 years or older, who wins the most ACBL masterpoints each year in senior tournaments and senior events at all tournaments becomes the Senior Player of the Year. This player receives the George Burns Trophy.
 

 

 


Laws

Sequence -
 

1.

A series of adjacent ranking cards

2.

The series of calls associated with a given auction.

Of bidding - See Law 17
Of play - See Law 44
Simultaneous calls - See Law 33
Simultaneous leads - See Law 58
Simultaneous plays - See Law 58
Play

Sequence Discards - Depending on the carding system, the discard of an honor usually signifies the top honor of a series.  Therefore, a discard of a Queen denies the King, yet promises the Jack (splitting honors).
 


Play

Sequence Reentry - A suit preference signal against opponent's Notrump game, based on the rank of the rank of the second lead in a series.  For instance, holding K Q J 10 2, after an opening lead of the King, a high ranking return of a Queen asks for a Spade while a Ten asks for an unspecified minor.
 

Bidding

Serious 3 Notrump - See Conventions.

Play

Serpent's Coup - Referring to a lead by declarer which tempts to the defenders to take a seemingly casual action, but subsequently turns out to be a devilish ploy to take additional tricks.
 


Laws

Session - A consecutive group of hand or boards in a sitting or event.

Session, end of - See Law 8

 

General

Set -
 

1.

To defeat the declarer's contract

2.

To establish a partnership

 

Rubber

Set Game - A partnership established for the duration of a round, such as a Rubber.
 

Play

Set up - To position the play of the cards in a certain hand to maximize the opportunity to win additional tricks.
 

General

Seven - Represented by 7 pips. See Example.

Jargon

Shaded - Referring to a bid that stretches the values of one's holding.

Bidding

Shadow Double (Stolen Bid Double) - See Conventions

Also see Books on Doubles
 

Jargon

Shake - To make a play that forces a player to give up a certain card.

 

 

 


General

Shape -
 

1.

The balance of cards held by each player in a suit.

2.

The number of cards held in each suit.

Two common methods to illustrate distribution are:

1.

4=5=3=1
Shows 4 Spades, 5 Hearts, 3 Diamonds, 1 Club. Using equal signs, suits are listed from highest (Spades) to lowest (Clubs)

2.

5-4-3-1
Shows a distribution of 5 cards in one suit, 4 cards in the second suit, 3 cards in the third suit, and 1 card in the fourth suit. Using the dash symbol signs, suit length is given from the longest to shortest.

Some hands have cute colloquial names associated with them to describe the shape, as: Swan, Mini Roman, Triple 4 by 1, Two Suiter, Three Suiter, Rattlesnake, Pancake, Dog, Square, Round, (Ugly) Duckling, Freak, Stiff
 

Duplicate

Sharing Boards - In some Duplicate events, the Director may call for a movement involving shared boards between two or more tables.  See Relay
 

Jargon

Sharp Top - The colloquial term referring either to the A (Ace) or the 4 (four-spot) card. See Card Names
 

Jargon

Shark - A skilled player or professional who plays Bridge for money.
 


Bidding


Play

Shift -
 

1.

To bid a new suit not disclosed by prior bidding

2.

During play, to change leads from one suit to another

 

Bidding


Jargon

Shooting - To make an risky bid or play that deviates from the norm, hoping the standard odds will not prevail over the luck of the given hand.  Shooting is most frequently used when a pair or team have fallen behind, requiring drastic measures to recover from past losses.
 

 

Bidding

Short Club - An opening 1 Club bid with potentially a 2-3 card suit.  Most 5 card major players bid 1 Club with 3-3 in the minors, however some partners will bid 1 Club with a 4-4-3-2 hand (promising 4+ Diamonds with a 1 Diamond opening).  Partnerships who agree to open 1 Club with fewer than 3 Clubs in length are required by the ACBL to announce "may be short".  See Alert procedures
 

Bidding

Short Diamond - An artificial "catch all" bid used by Strong Club players for opening hands that do not conform to requirements for a strong opening hand or contain a 5 card major.  See Precision
 

General

Short Hand - The partner holding the fewer trumps.

General

Short Suit - A suit with 2 or fewer cards.
 

 

Bidding

Short Suit Points - A hand evaluation methodology attributing additional playing points (typically by the responder) based upon a trump fit and side suit shortages useful for the declarer to ruff losers.  Some players assign the values of 1, 3, or 5 for a doubleton, singleton, or void.  Others assign respective values of 1, 2, 3.  Still others use the first value with 4 trumps, but the second set of values holding 3 trumps.  See Distribution Count Methods
 

Bidding

Short Suit Game Try - See Conventions.
 

Play

Short Suit Lead - The lead of a doubleton or singleton, anticipating a ruff opportunity.
 

Bidding

Shortage Points - See Short Suit Points
 

 

 

 

General

Shuffle - To intermix the cards, typically using a riffle shuffle: the cards are divided into two stacks with the dealer interleaving the cards in each stack into a common stack.  Unfortunately, Bridge players often do not shuffle hands enough to ensure random distributional patterns. Mathematicians (Aldous and Diaconis) have demonstrated that the dealer should make 7 good interleaved riffle shuffles (also called the faro shuffle) to ensure the pack is randomized between deals. Still, 4 good faro shuffles do a fairly good job to randomize the pack. But in reality, bridge dealers often make fewer shuffles. Some human dealers make few interleaves, less riffles, or worse yet, use sub-standard methods such as an overhanded shuffle which does practically nothing to shuffle the deck. You get the picture - poor shuffles generates in flatter hands.

Also see Computer Deals.  See Law 6
 

Bidding

Shutout Bid - A preemptive bid intended to terminate the bidding.
 

 

Rubber

Shuttle Dummy -  A two table Rubber or Chicago Bridge game of one 4 player table and one 3 player table.  One player serves as dummy for both tables, moving from one board to the other.  The role of the roving dummy rotates from player to player; thus, each player keeps an individual score.
 

 

General

Side - Referring to a partnership.  In Rubber, Chicago, or Duplicate Pair game, it refers to the two players seated opposite one another, forming the partnership.  In a Duplicate team event such as Swiss Team or Knockout game, the Side refers to the entire team of four contestants.
 


Duplicate

Side Game - A single session event at a major Duplicate tournament.  The ACBL North American Bridge Championships award Red points at Side Games.
 

 


General

Side Suit - The non-dominant suit:
 

1.

A long suit other than trump held by declarer or in the dummy

2.

A secondary suit that might be promoted in a Notrump contract

3.

During bidding, a call showing a secondary suit of 4+ cards

 

Play

Signals - A defensive lead and discarding agreement used by defenders to provide signals, including attitude, count, suit preference and useful characteristics of one's holdings.   See Details and  Convention Card Instructions

Also see books on Signals
 

 

Bidding

 

Signoff Bid -
 

1.

A shutout bid intended to terminate the auction

2.

A call denying additional support, requesting partner to pass

 

 

 

 

 

Duplicate

Silver Life Master - An ACBL Life Master who has received at least 1000 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

 


Duplicate

Silver Points - Pertaining to ACBL masterpoints awarded in certain tournaments, typically earned at Sectional events.  In addition to Black, Red, and Gold points, the ACBL requires an achievement of 50 Silver Points to become a Life Master.  Silver points are awarded for success in events at sectional tournaments. Progressive sectionals and Sectional Tournaments at Clubs (STaCs) also award silver points.
 


Duplicate

Silver Ribbon Pairs - A special ACBL tournament offered to Seniors 55+ years of age, with qualification based on first or second place in a Senior two session Regional event.
 

Jargon

Simple - A minimum, non-jump response or overcall.
 

Play

Simple Finesse - A lead towards an opponent's possible winning card, anticipating an opportunity to trap the opponent's intervening card.  The simple finesse involves trapping a single card from opponent.  See Example
 

Bidding

Simple Overcall -  See Conventions
 

Play

Simple Squeeze - A two suited squeeze against one opponent. See Example

Bidding

Sims System - A strong 2 and 3 level opening bidding system, which lost popularity after Ely Culbertson's victory against Hal Sims in the well publicized "Match of the Century."
 

 

 

Laws

Simultaneous Calls, Leads, and Plays - When two opponents make a concurrent call, lead, or play at the same moment, the actions are considered legal provided the players are the player authorized and their Left Hand Opponent.

Calls - See Law 33
Leads - See Law 58
Play of more than one card by one player - See Law 58
Plays by two players - See Law 58

Duplicate

Simultaneous Pairs - A coordinated Bridge event where 2 or more locations bid and play the same boards..
 

 

General

Simulator - A computer program designed to deal hands in textual format based on a criteria established by the user.  Modern simulators allow both manual entry of one or more hands as well as dealing random hands that meet distribution, point, and other criteria. 
 

Play

Single Coup - Making a skilled, non-intuitive play where declarer ruffs a card from the dummy, intending to reduce the holding to the same number of cards as the declarer's Right Hand Opponent. See Example
 


Play

Single Grand Coup - Similar to the Single Coup, the declarer reduces the holdings to that of the Right Hand Opponent.  However, the Grand Coup also involves ruffing one of the dummy's winners with declarer's long trump suit to provide transportation to declarer's hand.
 


Play

Single Raise - A increase of the bid from one level to the next level.  Assuming a one level opening call, a response of the suit to the two level indicates 6-9 points of support.   Assuming partners agree to 5 card majors, a raise in a major requires 2-3+ card support; a raise of partner's minor generally denies a 4 card major but promises 4-5 card minor suit.
 

General

Singleton - A one card holding in a suit.

 

General

Sion Cokin Affair - In 1979, the ACBL found Steve Sion and Alan Coken of improper pre-arranged communication (Law 73.b.2) using illegal signals based on the placement of the scoring pencil after writing down the contract. See Cheating
 

Jargon

Sit for - To leave in a penalty double, including partner's takeout doubles.
 

 

Duplicate


Rubber

Sit out -
 

1.

A Director's instruction to require alternating pairs miss a round of play to ensure none of the pairs replay a prior board.

2.

In Rubber or Chicago Bridge, the Sit Out requires alternating players to  miss a round of hands based on pre-determined agreements.

 

 

General

Duplicate

Sitting -
 

1.

Referring to the seat at a table or hand diagram.  See Example

2.

The duration of time to play a Session.

 

General

Six- Represented by 6 pips. See Example.

Bidding

6 Notrump, Opening - A six level Notrump opening bid, showing a balanced hand with only one loser.
 

Bidding

6 of  Suit Opening - A six level opening bid, showing a long suit with only one loser.
 


Duplicate

Skip Mitchell - A Duplicate movement called by the Director with an even number of tables, where East/West players skip one table midway through the round.
 

 


Duplicate

Skip Bid Warning - A caution made before making a bid that skips one or more levels, requesting one's Left Hand Opponent to pause approximately 10 seconds.  The purpose of the Skip Bid Warning is to prevent potential bidding delays by the Left Hand Opponent from giving the appearance of passing unauthorized information.  Otherwise, such delays could give the Right Hand Opponent the impression that the Left Hand Opponent has more values than may actually exist.  See Law 73
 

Bidding

Slam - To bid at the 6 level and make 12 tricks (a Slam), or bid at the 7 level and make 13 tricks (a Grand Slam).
 

Bidding

Slam Bidding - A series of investigatory bids, typically involving Ace/King control showing responses by partners to explore the ability to make 12 or 13 tricks.
 

Bidding

Slam Conventions - See Conventions

Play

Slam Leads - Depending on various factors, the determination of either an active or passive defense and associated lead in an attempt to defeat opponent's Slam slam contract.  See Opening Leads
 

Bidding

Slam Try - A call inviting partner to bid Slam when holding extra values.

Bidding

Slam Try, Stayman - See Conventions.

Bidding

Sliding Blackwood - See Rolling Blackwood and Rolling Gerber.

Bidding

Sliver Bid -  See Conventions.
 


Bidding

Slow Arrival - A series of small incremental yet forcing bids by opener and responder designed to show extra values.  Slow arrival allows the partners to paint a more complete picture of the features (length and strength) associated with both hands.
 


Laws

Slow Pass - Referring to a player who makes a pass in a slower tempo than normal circumstances. Doing so may be construed by one's partner as having extra values.  See Hesitation and Unauthorized Information
 

Go to Part 2: Slow Play - Systems On/Off

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