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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
 

 


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

Laws

Slow Play - Duplicate tournament play requires attention to the speed of play (typically 7 1/2 minutes per board), including violations of the Proprieties of Bridge.  See Details
 

 

Bidding

Slow Shows, Fast (Direct) Denies - 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.  Some players incorporate the approach in conventions for consistency, such as Reverse Drury, and Lebensohl.
 

Play

Sluff - To discard an inconsequential card on a trick.  Sluffs include a card of another suit when the player is void in the suit lead, or cards with few pips when following to the suit led.  See Details
 

Jargon

Slush - A hand whose strength is primarily focused in lower honor cards, including Queens and Jacks.  These are jokingly referred to as "Quackers".
 

General

Small Card - The four lowest ranking cards in each suit, referring to the cards with 5, 4, 3, and 2 pips. See Example
 

General

Small Slam - To bid at the 6 level and make 12 tricks.
 

 


Jargon

Smith Convention - A tongue-in-cheek illegal pre-arranged partnership ploy in Rubber Bridge.  One player, holding a Yarborough, erroneously announces holding 14 cards as a signal for partner to check for a similar worthless holding; if so, the two scheming partners quickly throw their hand together and require a redeal.  Holding a good hand, partner simply asks for a recount, secretly indicating a desire to play the hand.
 

Bidding

Smith Echo - See Conventions.
 

Bidding

Smolen Transfer - An extension to the Stayman and Jacoby Transfer conventions, where responder bids the complementary major to ensure the stronger 1 or 2 Notrump opener plays the hand when the responder has 6-4 or 5-4 in the majors.  See Details.
 

Play

Smother Play (Devil's Coup, Strip and Endplay)- A tactic of leading a non-trump suit to prevent losing a trump trick through an end play or ruffing finesse. See Example
 

Bidding

Snapdragon Double - See Conventions.

Play

Snare - To make a deceptive play in order to either trick or trap an opponent into making an undesirable play.
 

Jargon

Sneak - A Singleton

Jargon

Snowman- The colloquial term referring either to the 8 (eight-spot) card. See Card Names
 

General

SO - Abbreviation for Sponsoring Organization

Jargon

Sock - To make a penalty double

General

Soft Cheating - Both irregularities articulated in Laws 72 - 73 - 74 - 75 and other incidents.  See Cheating
 

General

Soft Values - Referring to a hand with smaller honors, typically Queens and Jacks.
 


General

Solid Suit - A suit containing all the top honors and enough length that opponents not expected to take a trick in the suit, assuming normal distribution.
 

Jargon

Sore Spot - The colloquial term referring to the 4 (four-spot) card. See Card Names
 


General

Sorting The Hand - The process a player makes of arranging cards in their hand.  Most players arrange their cards by suits; some sort their cards in rank order within each suit.  See Details
 

Bidding

SOS Redouble -  See Conventions.


Bidding

Sound Bidding - A bidding approach based on holdings anticipated to achieve the auction level in most circumstances, as opposed to speculative bidding.  See Environmental Factors
 

Bidding

Sound Values - A hand with substantive "working" tricks, typically Aces and Kings and other useful sources of tricks.
 

General

Sound Player - A talented Bridge player that regularly demonstrates competent bidding and play.
 

General

South - In a standard Bridge Diagram, the player at the top of the table.  See Example
 

Bidding

South African Texas - See Conventions.
 

General

Spades - The highest ranking suit, using the symbol.  See Example
 

Bidding

Special Doubles - See Conventions

Bidding

Specific Kings -  See Conventions.
 


Laws

Specified Suit - Referring to the requirement that a player be required or forbidden to lead a certain suit, based on an irregularity of an opponent.  See  Law 26 and Law 51
 

Bidding

 

Specific Suit Ask - See Conventions.
 


Duplicate

Spectator - A person who observes one or more tables in a Bridge tournament, in contrast to a Kibitzer who is restricted to viewing a particular table.  See Law 11
 

 


Duplicate

Speedball - In the Fast Pairs game the speed of play is increased by a major factor. Instead of the usual seven to eight minutes allowed to play each board, the game is set up so that boards must be completed in five minutes. Sometimes this permits more boards to be played. More often this type of game results in a game finishing at an earlier time. Such a game often is called a Speedball Pairs.
 

 

Duplicate

Spingold Trophy - The Spingold Trophy was donated in 1934 by Nathan Spingold and is awarded for the NABC Master Knockout Teams Championship played annually at the summer NABC. This event ranks with the Vanderbilt Cup as the most highly prized trophy on the ACBL calendar.
 

Bidding

Spiral - See Conventions.
 


Play


General

Split -
 

1.

To play one of multiple connected, sequential honor tricks, often referred to as "splitting honors"

2.

The balance of the adversely held cards by opponents in a suit, also called the "break" of the cards. See Probabilities

 

Play

Split Menace - A threat card squeezing both opponents. See Example

 

Duplicate

Split Regional - A tournament with regional rating held at two widely separated sites within an ACBL district is called a split regional. Scores are compared between the two sites to determine the first- and second-place winners of regionally rated pair games. Swiss teams and knockout teams are separate events with different winners at each site.
 

Play

Split Tenaces - A broken honor holding held in opposite hands, such as an Ace in declarer's hand with the Queen in dummy.
 

Bidding

Splinter Bid - See Conventions.

Play

Splitting Honors - To play one of multiple connected, sequential honor tricks.
 

Bidding

Split Notrump - See Conventions.

 

Duplicate

Sponsor -
 

1.

A company or individual employing a partner or team

2.

The coordinating organization of a Bridge tournament

 

 

Laws

Sponsoring Organization -

Scoring method - See Law 78
Powers in general - See Law 80
Jargon

Spot Cards - Useful non-face card holdings, as the ten, nine, and perhaps the eight of a longer suit; also called intermediate cards.  See Card Names
 

 


General

Spread -
 

1.

To place one's cards face up as the dummy hand

2.

To face one's cards during a claim or concession

3.

The range of values indicated by a player's bid

 


Duplicate

Spring North American Bridge Championship - The first of three ACBL tournaments held each year, including the premier Vanderbilt Knockout Team tournament.
 

Bidding

Sputnik - See Negative Double.

Jargon

Square Hand - Referring to a Bridge hand with a 4-3-3-3 distribution.  See Shape
 


Play

Squeeze - To make a play that forces the opponent to discard a card which might otherwise become a winner; in preparation for the squeeze, the declarer typically must "rectify the count" and hold threat (menace) cards.  See Details

Also see Bridge Books on Squeezes
 

Bidding

Squeeze Bid (Last Train Cuebid) - A method suggesting mild slam interest (game-plus values) after agreeing on a trump suit.  See Example
 

 

Duplicate

STaC - This is an abbreviation for a special kind of sectional tournament known as a Sectional Tournament at Clubs.  ACBL Silver points are awarded at STaC events, with additional masterpoints awarded to players receiving high overall scores across many Clubs.  See Director Tech File - STaC Conditions of Contest
 

 

Jargon

General

Stack -
 

1.

A powerful sequence of cards in a suit, particularly trump

2.

To pre-arrange the deck so players will be dealt certain holdings, typically associated with cheating

3.

An opponent with unusually strong holdings that are "stacked" against the declarer.

 

 

Duplicate

Stagger Movement - A Duplicate Bridge movement used for an even number of pairs, allowing interim scoring to proceed half way through a session.  The movement follows that of American Whist,  where boards are moved up one table while sharing with the adjacent table (Tables 1 and 5, Table 2 and 6).
 

Duplicate

Stakes - The entry fee, wager, or risk equity associated with a game of Bridge.
 

 

Jargon

 

Stand -
 

1.

To pass a double, be it a takeout or penalty double by partner

2.

An improper form of "pass"

 

Bidding

Standard American Yellow Card- The concept of following a uniform system of bidding and leads/discards, with a fair number of cohorts in the United States.  See Conventions.

Also see Standard American Books
 

Play

Standard Attitude - Typically a high-low signal showing a positive attitude, first discarding a higher card and subsequently discarding a lower card encourages continuation of the suit.  See Details
 

Bidding

Standard Bidding - The most common bidding treatment and methods used by the majority of Bridge players within a given segment.
 

 


Duplicate


Rubber

Stand off -
 

1.

A board in a team game resulting in a "push", where both teams obtain the same result; thus, neither team receives a score for that board

2.

A Rubber Bridge hand which results in a positive score for honors and an identical offsetting penalty for undertricks, resulting in a net score of zero.

 

Jargon

Stand up - A winning defensive card, until the declarer trumps the trick.


Duplicate

Stanza Movement - A movement used in multi-section tournaments, where the Director combines sections to allow interim scoring after the first half of the session is completed.
 

Duplicate

Stationary - Players who remained seated at the same table during the entire tournament session (typically N/S players in a Mitchell movement).
 


Bidding

Stayman Convention - One of the most popular conventions used by Bridge players, using a 2C response to partner's 1 Notrump or 2 Notrump opening bid to locate a major suit fit and show an invitational or better hand.  See Stayman Conventions.

Also see Books on Stayman
 

 


Jargon

Steal -
 

1.

During bidding, to win the contract at a surprisingly low level where opponents should have competed

2.

During play, to win a trick with a surprisingly low card or technique that catches the opponents off guard.

 

Jargon

Stenographer - The tongue-in-cheek colloquial term referring to the Q (Queen).  See Card Names
 

 


Bidding

Step - A player making a bid:
 

1.

To bid one denomination higher than the previous bid,
as 1C - (P) - 1D

2.

To make a conventional bid response showing attributes of responder's hand.   See Controls

 

Play

Stepping Stone Squeeze - A variation of the Secondary Squeeze, where an opponent is either thrown into lead or declarer's suit is established. See Example
 

Jargon

Stiff - A colloquial term referring to a player holding a singleton in a suit.  See Shape
 

Bidding

Stolen Bid Double (Shadow Double) - See Conventions

Also see Books on Doubles
 

 

 

 

Laws

 

General

Bidding

Stop -
 

1.

The exclamation "Stop", typically referring to a Skip Bid Warning pre-announcing to opponents of a players intention to make an unusual bid.  The purpose of the pre-announcement warning is to help prevent the Left Hand Opponent from making an unanticipated hesitation, showing "extra" values - the Stop pre-announcement provides a mechanism for the Left Hand Opponent to take a constant time regardless of their call. See Example

2.

Holding a stopper in opponent's bid suit.

3.

A "drop dead" bid that sets to final contract, warning partner to pass.  Under rare circumstances, partner may make another call to further describe their as-yet unspecified holding.

 

General

Stopper - Holding a stopper in the opponent's suit.


Jargon

Stopping On A Dime - To curtail bidding one level below game or slam, placing the partnership in the unenviable situation that requires them to make exactly the number of tricks bid.
 

General

Strain - Referring to the four suits and Notrump in the context of a bid, auction, or play.  See Example
 

Duplicate

Stratified - This is a type of game movement where all players are assigned to a group (strat) based on their current masterpoint holdings.
 

 

 

Duplicate

Stratified Pairs - A duplicate tournament pair event where players of different levels (typically masterpoint achievement) compete together, but are ranked in different levels thus generating more than one set of winners. The field is divided into two or three strata, each strata level based on a masterpoint cap. The Director usually "seeds" the field
to ensure players of equal ability from each strata are playing in the same direction (N/S or E/W). The players with the highest masterpoint attainment are ranked in the top stratum, with lower stratum/s determined by the size and masterpoints held by the remainder of the field.
 


Duplicate

Stratified Teams - A Swiss Team tournament generating multiple sets of winners, where the strata is based on the aggregate masterpoint ranking of the team. 
 

Duplicate

Stratiflighted - An event that is a combination of flighted and stratified.


Duplicate

Stratum - Pertaining to Stratified Pairs or Stratified Team events, the division assigned by the Director based on the masterpoint ranking of the field.   Players with the highest masterpoints are assigned to the top stratification.
 

 

 

General

Strength - An assessment of a player's holdings based, typically based on honor and associated length holding; a player's hand strength is ultimately a function of the partnership's assets and ability to make winning.  Many players perform a cursory High Card Point evaluation of their hand, perhaps including alternative approaches as the "Rule of 15" (Pearson or Cassino Points), "Rule of 20", etc.  Upon finding a suit fit, newer techniques include the "Law of Total Tricks" and "Losing Trick Count".  See Environmental Factors, Distribution Points.
 

Play

Strip Play -   The playing tactic where the declarer discards cards in a suit in both the declarer's hand as well as the dummy with the intention of establishing a ruff and sluff situation to reduce losers. See Example
 

 

Play

Strip and Endplay - A playing tactic where the declarer eliminates losers in two suits (usually running trumps and a side suit with an even number of cards), then throwing the opponent's in the lead in the third suit allowing them to win one trick.  However, the winning opponent now finds their side either endplayed in the fourth suit or allowing declarer to ruff and sluff if the opponent stubbornly continues another suit.  This maneuver avoids the downfall of mis-guessing a finesse. See Example
 

 

Bidding

Striped-Tail Ape Double - An attempt to have the opposition settle for Doubled contract and miss slam, where the opponent will "run like a "Strip-tailed Ape" to their long suit if opponent's redouble!  Obviously, this tactic only works with favorable vulnerability. Example:

(1D) - 1S - (2S) - 4S;
(4N) - P   - (5D) - X;

Also see Books on Doubles
 

 

 

 

 

Bidding

Strong Jump Shift

1.

Responder: A skip bid response in a new suit. Example: 1D - 2S
Note: partners should discuss Jump Shift bids since the two popular methods  have opposite meanings (Strong Jump Shifts show 17-19 points, Weak Jump Shifts show less than 6 points).  Further, some partner's play Strong Jump Shifts with a major suit call but not a minor suit call.

2.

Opener: A skip bid response in a new suit. Example: 1H - 1S; 3C
Opener's Strong Jump Shift (Jump Shift) typically show 19-22 points, thus game forcing when responder freebid shows 6+ points.  See Details

Also see books on Slam and other slam conventions: 1430, Baby Blackwood, Blackwood, Controls, Exclusion Blackwood/Voidwood, Gerber, Grand Slam Force, Jacoby 2 Notrump, Key Card Blackwood, Kickback, Last Train,  NAMYATS, Pick a Slam, Quantitative Notrump Bid, Rolling Blackwood, Serious 3 Notrump, Slam Try - Stayman, Splinters, Opener Jump Shift, Strong Jump Shift, and legacy treatments as Roman Asking Bids, Roman BlackwoodRoman Gerber.  Slam treatments also include interference of an overcall by opponents, as Negative Slam Double, DOPI, DEPO, ROPI.
 

Bidding

Strong Notrump - Historically, the range for a 1 Notrump opening bid was 16-18 High Card Points in North America.  See Details.
 

Bidding

Strong Pass - See Conventions
 

General

Strong Suit - A suit holding of 4+ cards with at least 2 of the top 3 honors (A Q x x).
 

Bidding

Strong 2 Bid - See Conventions

Jargon

Stub - A colloquial phrase in Rubber Bridge indicating a part-score (below the line).
 

Jargon

Submarine - A colloquial term meaning to underplay a winner, typically to rectify the count before attempting a squeeze play.
 

 

 

Duplicate

Substitute -
 

1.

To replace a defective board (cards within it) due to an external problem

2.

To replace a player

3.

In accordance with the Laws, to replace an illegal call made by a player.

 

 

 

 

Laws

Substitution Of Call -

After opponent's infraction - See Law 16
After disclosure of opponent's misinformation - See Law 16  21
Bid out of rotation as - See Law 31
Correction of inadvertent or illegal call - See Law 25
Immediate - See Law 25
Information resulting from - See Law 16
Lead penalty for - See Law26
Pass out of rotation as - See Law30
Penalty in auction - See Law 25  27  30  31
Remedy for opponent's infraction - See Law 16

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Laws

Substitution Of Play -

Adjusted score - See Law 47
After correction of error in explanation of conventional call - See Law 47
After correction of revoke - See Law 62
After declarer's lead out of turn - See Law 55
After declarer's withdrawal of visible card - See Law 58
After disclosure of prior misinformation - See Law 47
After failure to play major penalty card - See Law 52
After opening lead out of turn - See Law 54
After opponent's change of play - See Law 47
After opponent's infraction - See Law 16
By defender - See Law 56
Change of inadvertent designation of card - See Law 45  47
Compliance with penalty - See Law 47
Correction of illegal play - See Law 47
Correction of simultaneous play - See Law 47
Immediate correction of inadvertent designation of card - See Law 45
Information resulting from - See Law 16
Lead out of turn induced by opponent - See Law 47
Penalty card - See Law 47  56
Penalty card not played as required - See Law 52
Remedy for infraction - See Law 16
To correct defective trick containing too many cards - See Law 67
 

Laws

Substitution Of Player -
Authorized by director in his discretion - See Law 4
Temporary, as remedy for possession of unauthorized information - See Law 16

Bidding

Sucker Double - An impulsive, illogical attempt to penalize opponents based upon insufficient values.  For instance, holding honors in a long strong suit may be valuable for offensive tricks but are worthless when opponents are void in the suit. Similarly, opponents may generate extra tricks through cross-ruffing opportunities, catching onside tenaces, etc.

Also see Books on Doubles
 

Play

Sucker Play - The tactic of making a seemingly innocent play that requires a careless misplay by a hapless opponent to succeed.
 

Bidding

Suction - A defensive bidding system against opponents 1 Notrump opening bid.  See Conventions
 

 

Laws

Suits - Referring to the four suits (not Notrump) in the context of a bid, auction, or play.  See Example

Rank of - See Law 1  18  44
Sorting of dummy's hand - See Law 41

Bidding

Suit Asking Bid (SAB) - See Conventions.
 
Play

Suit Combinations - The best percentage play to win tricks based on the combination of partnership holdings in a given suit, including tactics as finesses. See Suit Combinations

Card Distribution (remaining two hands)
Hand Distribution (suits within a hand)
High Card Point Count (HCPs in one hand)
Miscellaneous Probabilities (assorted interesting odds)
Number of Cards (card quantity in a suit)
Posteriori Probability (example when additional information is known)
Suit Combinations (best lead and plays)
Expected Controls (based on HCP)

Also see books on Probabilities
 

 

 

 


General

Suit Distribution -
 

1.

The balance of cards held by each player in a suit, also called the "break" or "split" of the cards.

2.

The number of cards held in each suit.

Two common methods to illustrate distribution are:
 

1.

4=5=3=1

Shows exactly 4 Spades, 5 Hearts, 3 Diamonds, 1 Club. Using equal signs, only suit length is given 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 dash symbols, suits are listed from longest to shortest suits.

 


General

Suit Pips - The number of suit designators on non-face cards.  The spot cards have an equal number of pips for the rank of the card.  Pips vary based on the country of origin. See Example and Card Names
 

Play

Suit Preference (Signal) - See Conventions
 

Jargon

Suicide King - The colloquial term referring to the K (King of Hearts).  See Card Names
 

Play

Suicide (Cannibal) Squeeze - An unfortunate defense, where one defender actually squeezes their partner.  See Example
 

 


Laws

Summoning Director -
 
Failure to summon as affecting rights after irregularity - See Law 9  10  11
Limitation on dummy's right to summon - See Law 43
Manner - See Law 74
Properties - See Law 72
Bidding

Super Acceptance - See Conventions
 

Laws

Super Chart Conventions - See ACBL Super Chart
 

Jargon

Superblitz - To win by such a significant degree the winner not only gets the maximum score but the loser actually receives a net negative score.
 

Bidding

Super Gerber - See Conventions

Bidding

Super Precision - An adaptation of the Precision "Big Club" system originally developed by Benito Garozzo and Georgio Belladonna of the Italian Blue Team.  See Conventions
 

Bidding

Support - To raise or otherwise show interest in partner's suit

Bidding

Support Asking Bid (Alpha Cuebid) - See Conventions
 

Bidding

Support Double - See Conventions

Bidding

Support Redouble - See Conventions

Laws

Suspension Of Player - See Law 91

General

Swan - A hand with a 7-4-1-1 distribution.  See Shape

General

Swan Games - See Bridge Service Providers
 

 


Duplicate

General

Jargon

Swing -
 

1.

The difference between team scores

2.

The difference between the actual score and one attainable

3.

To make a calculated bid or play in an attempt to receive a favorable result, especially when trying to create an "action" to move up in the field

4.

To play a low card across to partner's hand

 

Play

Swindle - To make a deceptive play in order to either trick or trap an opponent into making an undesirable play.
 

Jargon

Swish - A player's call followed by three passes, as:
3S - (P) - P - (P);
 

 


Duplicate

Bidding

Swiss -
 

1.

Typically a stratified "team of four" tournament format where players of different levels (brackets) compete, producing multiple winners.  See Director Tech File: Swiss Teams Conditions of Contest

2.

A conventional response to a major opening bid to show extra strong support (several variations exist)

 

 

Jargon

Duplicate

Switch -
 

1.

To change from the current suit lead by the partnership to another suit

2.

Referring to the directional arrows indicating the movement of players from table to table between rounds

 

Jargon Swords - The colloquial term referring to the Spade suit.  See Card Names

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
 

General

System Fix - A situation where the players derive a bad result not through judgment errors, but due to the design of system agreements.
 


Bidding

System "On-off" - Special circumstances which determine whether the partnership agreements should still be in place (systems on) or not (systems off).  The circumstances include: opponent suit bids, opponent doubles, opponent Notrump bids, and bidding after partner is a passed hand.
 

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