A. UNIVERSAL DEFINITIONS.
1. General Definitions Applicable To Both Non-Tournament And Tournament Events.
“Table”. Seats 4 players.
“Designated Rotation”. The direction (clockwise or counter-clockwise) around the table in which identifications/events
occur. The standard is clockwise.
“Player Identities”. Players are designated in a clockwise rotation as North, East, South, and West.
“Partnership Pair”. (Abrv "Pair"). Players sitting opposite each other form a partnership pair, designated as
North/South or East/West. The North/South pair is always out to beat the East/West pair and visa versa. Before any
playing is done, a partnership pair will have agreed upon some standards for communicating during the auctions and the
play of the hands. These agreements take the form of bidding systems/conventions and card signals, many of which are
described later on.
“Card Deck”. A card deck is comprised of 52 cards, less any jokers.
“The Dealer”. This is the player who is designated to deal out the cards of a single deck. In rubber bridge, the deal
passes from one player to the next in clockwise rotation immediately before playing each Hand. In duplicate, the hands
are pre-dealt, placed into receptacles called “Boards”, and who is the dealer is already specified on the board. No
matter, the pattern in either case is for the dealer role to pass clockwise from one deal to the next.
"Player Initial Seat Positions". These are relative to the dealer, with dealer being in seat #1, the player to his left
is seat #2, dealer's partner is seat #3, and finally the player to dealer's right is seat #4. These are not the same as
the player identities which remain fixed throughout the set session. As the play of the round passes through it’s
stages, other positional identities will be used to describe a player’s seat position relative to the events as they
unfold, but these relative seat positions are described under the stage in which they occur.
“The Deal”. After being shuffled, the entire card deck is distributed by the dealer (one of the players) with each
player getting 13 cards to make up his initial hand. The manner in which hands are dealt differed greatly between
duplicate bridge and rubber bridge. In duplicate a fixed number of several card decks are shuffled, pre-dealt into
hands and placed into "board trays", never to be shuffled and dealt again throughout the game. In rubber bridge, as few
as just one card deck may be used and redealt over and over again throughout the game.
“Board" . In duplicate bridge, a “Board” is a tray or caddie which has four receptacles for holding the 4 pre-dealt
hands of a single card deck. Each player’s hand is retained in a pocket in the board which is clearly labeled for his
seating position. In rubber bridge, there is no need for "boards".
"Raw Score." This is the recorded score recieved by the winning partnership in the play of just one deal.
"Game". In bridge, the word, "game", has a more specific meaning than just referring to the game of bridge. It refers
to a raw score of 100 points to be achieved by a partnership in order to receive extra bonus points in the scoring. In
duplicate bridge, game must be accomplished in the play of just one deal not all all. But in rubber bridge, game may be
achieved in the playing of a succession of number of deals, because the raw scores of each deal are allowed accumulate
from one deal to the next to the next until 100 points are attained.
"Rubber". This is the completion of the best two out of three game scores by opposing partnerships, at which point
bonus points for rubber (based upon the accumulation of games) are awarded the winning pair. (Refer to "Game".)
“Round”. This is a term to describe the play a fixed number of pre-dealt hands (ie, boards).
“Set/Set-Session”. In rubber bridge, a set-session is called a "rubber" which is the consecutive playing of any number
of shuffled and dealt hands between two opponents until one of the opponents achieves the best two out of three games.
In duplicate bridge, a set-session is a "round" which is the play of a fixed number of pre-dealt hands played between
“Stage/Phase”. A “round” is more specifically broken up into six actionable stages: The Deal, The Hand Bidding
Evaluation Phase, The Bidding Phase (or Auction), The Pre-Play Strategy, The Play Of The Hand, and finally The Scoring
Phase. These stages are described in greater detail in ater sections.
"Hand”. Refers to one individual player’s specific hand of 13 cards dealt to him. But it can also be used collectively
to describe the deal of the cards.
“Suit”. There are 4 suits in the deck: Spades and Hearts (designated the MAJOR SUITS) and Diamonds and Clubs (called
the MINORS). Each suit has 13 cards starting with the 2 (deuce) up to the ace.
“Card Values”. The cards in each suit have progressively higher relative value, starting with the 2 (deuce) as the
lowest value, proceeding numerically upward to the 10 (ten), with jack, queen, king and ace being the next highest in
that order. Ace is high.
"Trick". During the play of the hand, a trick is the clockwise sequential play of a single card by each player, where
the highest valued card wins (takes) the other three cards, thereby winning the trick. A completed trick contains four
cards, one from each player. There are always exactly thirteen tricks in a round.
“Trick Number”. Since, at the beginning of play, there are always 13 cards in each of the four players’ hands , then
there are always 13 tricks to be taken and accounted for. The tricks are identified by number, 1 through 13.
“Contract”. A promise to do something for which there are rewards for actually doing it and penalties for not doing it.
In bridge, the promise is to take so many card tricks beyond a book of six tricks.
"Final Contract". The final contract is the bid-level specification of how many tricks over and above a book of 6
tricks that a partnership must take in order to gain a positive score, along with the added specification (or
designation) of a specific suit to be the trump suit or the specification of there being no specific trump suit. (See
"Trump" below.) The final contract is the result of the last bid made in the auction before there were 3 successive
passes (ie, refusals to bid).
"Book". This is always six tricks that must be taken by the declaring partnership, in addition to the bid level of
their final contract bid level. Since there are 13 tricks to be taken, it is expected that the partnership who won the
final contract (the declarers) in the bidding should be capable of taking at least half of all the tricks, ie 6 1/2 or
more specifically 6 tricks, since there are no fractional tricks. Therefore, book represents roughly half of all
"Auction". The process of competing in the bidding (against the opposing partnership), wherein the bidding for a final
contract starts with the dealer in bid seat #1 and proceeds clockwise around the table from one player to the next
until there are 3 successive refusals to bid any more, at which point the auction ceases and a final contract is
declared to be the last bid specified. The bidding proceeds from low levels to successively higher levels. It is very
similar to going to a house auction or art show where placing a bid is an attempt buy the house or art-work.
"Vulnerability". A condition that is specified before the deal and which handicaps one or both partnerships, or neither
at all. In comparison to not being vulnerable, the condition of a partnership being vulnerable offers even greater
rewards in the scoring for making their final contract, but imposes stiffer penalties for not making it.
"Bid". A bid is a proposition of what the final contract should be. It is a proposed final contract. If left
uncontested it will become the final contract.
“Bid Construct” . The construct of a proposed contract bid and the final contract consist of two parts:
The “Bid Level” (See below)
The “Bid Suit” (See below)
The bid level is the first part of the statement and the bid suit is the last part of the statement.
A proposed contract bid might look like this:
“FOUR SPADES (4S)” or “TWO DIAMONDS(2D)” or “THREE NO-TRUMP(3NT)”.
The bid level portion of the bidding construct is valued according to the numerical value.
The bid suit value is discussed below. (See "Suit Ranking.." below.)
“Bid Level”. This is a number between 1 and 7 specifying the number of tricks beyond the first 6 “tricks” (called
“book”) that the bidder says his partnership will take in the play of the hand. Quite obviously, the higher the bid
level, the greater the bid value. (See “Trick” and “Book” .)
“Bid Suit”. This is the specification (or designation) of one of the four suits to be a preferred suit having special
powers (called “trump”) during the play of the hand. There is the option to designate no suit to have such powers, and
this is called “No Trump”.
“Trump Suit/Trump”. This is the suit which, having been specified in the final contract, is the preferred suit having
special powers during the play of the hand. During the play of the hand, the trump suit may be used to win a trick by a
player if that player is out of the suit that has been led to the trick. A close analogy might be to say the trump
cards are like wild cards capable of winning tricks under special conditions. If no suit is designated or declared as a
trump suit, then final contract will specify " no-trump" suit which means the winners of the final contract prefer to
play without there being a trump suit.
“No Trump”. No-Trump is a suit specification made during the bidding meaning there is no preferred suit to be trump. It
is ranked higher than any suit during the bidding and valued higher than any suit in the scoring.
"Suit Ranking and Scoring Values". For bidding purposes, the four suits have ranks relative to each other starting with
Clubs as the lowest, followed by Diamonds, then to Hearts and finally Spades as the highest ranked or “boss suit”. But
above the suit ranks, no-trump is the highest ranked. Therefore, in the bidding 1D is higher than 1C, but 2C is higher
than 1D. 1NT is higher than 1C, 1D, 1H and 1S, but 2C is higher than 1NT. For scoring purposes, the suits have values
where clubs and diamonds are worth 20 points a trick, hearts and spades are worth 30 points per trick, and no-trump is
worth 40 points for the 1st trick and 30 points per trick for all tricks that follow.
“Boss Suit”. The spade suit is the boss suit because it is the highest ranked suit,
“Major Suit” The major suits are hearts and spades, because they are ranked higher than the minor suits.
“Minor Suit”. The minor suits are clubs and diamonds, because they are ranked below the major suits.
“Score Sheet”. The sheet of paper upon which are recorded the scores resulting from the play of each round.
2. Event Match Type Specific Definitions.
“Non-Tournament Event”. Typically, a single table competition comprised of only 4 players, as in “Rubber Bridge”.
“Tournament Event”. A multi-table, multi-partnership event where there are several tables with several partnerships all
competing against each other, as in “Duplicate Bridge”.
"Event Match Type". The type of bridge you are playing that is distinct from all other types based upon how a winner is
determined. There is Rubber Bridge, which is different from Chicago Bridge, which is different from Single Pair
DUplicate Bridge, which is different from Team KnockOut DUplicate Bridge, which is different from Swiss Team Duplicate
“ACBL”. The American Contract Bridge League.
“ACBL Rules”. The rules governing the playing of bridge in tournament matches.
“Director”. The person(s) who sets up and runs the tournament event and then scores it. The referee.
“Table Markers”. Used to number and identify individual tables in a tournament event.
“Bid Boxes”. These are boxes (one for each player) containing something like flash cards for bidding instead of making
“Team”. A team of players made up of two pair partnerships.
“Traveler”. The score sheet that travels with the boards as they are rotated.
“Duplicate Bridge”. A general type of bridge that is always a tournamment event with multiple tables, with boards (ie
deal) being played repetively in a duplicate fashion.
“Single Pair Duplicate Bridge”. A specific type of duplicate bridge where a single pair competes against everyone else.
”Swiss Teams Duplicate Bridge”. A specific type of duplicate bridge where two pairs form a team to compete against
other teams in a continuous fashion.
“Knockout Teams Duplicate Bridge”. A specific type of duplicate bridge where two pairs form a team to compete against
other teams, but once the team loses a session it is knocked out of playing any further.
“Rubber Bridge”. A type of bridge that is usually a single table event used to introduce new players to the game.
However, it can be played in a multi-table event manner as a social non-tournament event. Normally a non-tournament
event played in one's home with friends. Used to introduce the game to a new player.
“HoneyMoon Bridge”. Again, a non-tournament event, but even less than rubber bridge where only two or three players
“Party Bridge”. Usually a multi-table rubber bridge event.
“Chicago Bridge”. A multi-table tournament-like event where a session is usually four rounds with each round
designating a different vulnerability situation and where the scoring is done similiarly to duplicate bridge scoring.
“Mitchel Movement”. An end of set-session movement/rotation of east-west duplicate player pairs with the north-south
pairs in fixed positions throughout the event.
“Howell Movement” . A end of set-session movement/rotation of all player pairs, both east-west and north-south pairs.
“Director Call”. The calling of the director to adjudicate/resolve some in play errors or issues.
“Master Points”. Points that are awarded by the ACBL to a duplicate playing pair based upon their winning or placing in
a tournament event. The point requirements for becomming a life-master are: 25 gold, 25 red, 50 silver, and 150 black
points. Black point are usually acquired at a single club in a non-sectional event. Silver points are acquired by
winning in a sectional event that include multiple clubs. Red and Gold points are usually acquired a regional or
national events which included multiple sections.
B. DEFINITIONS THAT ARE APPLICABLE TO A ROUND (regardless of event type).
1. Hand Bidding Evaluation Phase.
a. Individual Hand Suit Mix/Shape.
“Individual Card Count/Suit Length”. This is the initial number of cards in a specific suit that are held by one player
before the play of the hand. Is not high card count.
“Shape” or “Suit Mix”. Refers to the overall presentation of a given hand’s suit length distribution. As an example,
the “shape" of a hand might be described as 5-3-3-2, meaning a 5-card spade suit, a 3-card heart suit, a 3-card diamond
suit and a 2-card club suit, thus giving an accounting of all 13 cards in the hand. The total number of cards must
always be 13.
“Balanced/Flat Hand”. A hand containing 4-4-3-2 or 4-3-3-3 suit mix.
“Flat-Five- Major”. A hand containing 5 cards in a major suit and 3-3-2 in the other suits. Such a hand is nearly
"Flat-Five Minor". A hand containing 5 cards in a minor and 3-3-2 in the other suits. Such a hand is nearly balanced.
"Three Suited". A hand containing 4-4-4-1 or 4-4-5 suit mix.
“Peer Suited”. A hand containing 5+ cards in one suit and 5+ cards in another suit. It is two suited.
“Companion Suited”. A hand containing 5+ cards in one suit and exactly 4 cards in another suit. It is nearly two
“Single Suited”. A hand containing a single 6+ card suit with no other 4+ card suit.
"Inverted Shape". Means a companion suited hand where the higher ranking suit is the shorter 4-card suit. Such a hand
is an inverted companion. A peer suited hand can also be inverted if it has a 6+ card suit that is lower in rank than
its 5+ card suit. Such a hand is an inverted radical peer
"Radical Shape". Means that the hand has at least 2 singletons or 1 void.
“Void”. A suit having 0 cards immediately after the deal.
“Singleton”. A suit having only 1 card immediately after the deal.
"Doubleton”. A suit having 2 cards immediately after the deal.
"Tripleton". A suit having 3 cards immediately after the deal.
"Runable Suit/Establishable Suit". This is a suit held in just one hand where the single hand length exceeds the
opponent's single hand length and thereby dominates the suit. During the play of the hand, after all of the other
players are out of cards in that suit, the remaining cards in that suit may become natural winners (especially in the
absence of a trump suit) which can produce extra long tricks. During the bidding, it is important to identify your
potentially runable suit(s) if any exists.
"Long/Slow/Reserve Tricks". These are tricks that "MIGHT" be taken in a concentrated dominating long runable suit after
all of the other players are out or depleted in that suit during the play of the hand. A potential long trick cannot
exist without there being at least four cards in the suit, because it could be possible that the other three players
hold only three cards in the suit. Therefore, a player holding a 4-card suit or more will consider the possibilities of
his hand taking long tricks.
"Long Trick Count". Long Trick Count = Dominant Length - Opponents' Predominate length.
"Assured Suit Dominance". Dominance in a suit can only be assured when it is certain that you have more cards in the
suit than the opponents. If you hold 7 or more cards in a suit in just one hand, then you are assured the dominance of
that suit, because because the opponents can hold no more than 6 cards in that suit. This provides the assurance that
you can establish Slow/Long/Reserve tricks in the suit that is runable.
"Self-Sustaining/Supporting Suit". A suit where a sufficient number of cards are held to make it runable without the
help of partner’s hand. It is typically a suit containing 7 or more cards.
“Biddable Suit”. Typically this is any suit that is agreed upon as being good for opening the bidding. Normally a
biddable suit will be a 5-card suit or better, because it has potential long tricks. But it is commonly agreed that a
minor suit can be opened with as few as two cards in the absence of a 5-card major suit.
“Rebidable Suit”. Rebidable means the same player can bid the suit again, ie, rebid. Each rebid typically conveys an
additional card to its initially implied length, thereby conveying the message that the suit is a candidate for having
winnable long tricks.
b. The High Cards In An Individual Hand.
“Naked Looser”. A card that “for sure” wont win any tricks.
“First Round Suit Lead Control”. Nearly synonymous with "stopper", but has a broader meaning in that it could be one of
- A void in the suit which makes it possible to immediately win the trick if playing a trump suit contract.
- An imediate natural winner in the suit such as the ace.
“Trump Protected”. In a final contract where trump is specified, this refers to a suit being protected by virtue of it
being void, thereby enabling the use of the trump suit to win the trick should that suit be led. In other words, on the
first attempt to lead that suit it can be trumped.
“Natural Winner”. Assuming the absence of a trump suit, this is a card that will win/take or possibly win a trick.
There are two broad categories of natural winners, each having two types of winners:
- 1) “Sure Winners” are those that will win a trick for sure, because they are fully protected from being dropped and
from the left-hand opponent. There are two types:
-- a) Quick Tricks are off the top.
-- b) Sheltered Quick Tricks need to be promoted.
- 2) “Potential Winners/Possible Losers”.
-- a) Unsheltered Tricks are drop protected but not left-hand opponent protected.
-- b) Long (Slow) Tricks are the benefit of a long dominant runnable suit. (See previous section.)
"Honor/Face/High Cards". The Ace, King, Queen, Jack, and maybe Ten in a suit.
"Quick Trick". This is a guaranteed sure winning card in the absence of the final contract being in a trump suit
contract. In the old Culbertson system, an ace is worth 1 quick trick, a semi-protected king is worth 1/2 quick trick,
because it has a 50/50 chance of winning depending on where the ace is located. But beyond that simple definition, any
sheltered fully protected card is a quick trick.
(See "Sheltered Quick Tricks" below.)
“Controls/Control Count”. Aces and kings only. Basically the same as quick tricks, but aces are worth 2 points and
kings are worth 1 point. There are some folks who use control count in responding to partner's 2C strong opening or his
4NT Key Card asking bids to be described later.
“Drop Protected Card/"Partially Protected Suit”. This pertains to there being a sufficient number of cards in the suit
to prevent a specific card in the suit from being captured should the left hand opponent first claim (ie, lead out,
cash) all his high cards in that suit, followed by the right-hand opponent doing the same, thereby leaving our specific
"drop protected" card as the highest card left in the suit to win a trick and where the opponents still hold cards in
the suit remaining to be played. A drop protected card is not necessarily a "sure winner" unless it has "left-hand
opponent protection" too. Otherwise, the drop protected card could still be captured by the left-hand opponent,
especially if the left hand opponent holds a winning card in reserve rather than cashing it in.
Examples: Qxx tripleton The Queen is drop-protected by the xx.
KJ doubleton The King is drop-protected by the Jack.
“Sheltered”. A sheltered card is a lower card in a suit with a higher card above it. In other words, the lower card has
a “roof over it’s head”. Shelter is from the top down. “Unsheltered” is support from the bottom up. Sheltering helps to
provide protection from the left-hand opponent, but does not fully assure it unless there are a sufficient number of
Examples: In KJ doubleton The Jack is sheltered, but not protected from the left-hand opponent. KQ doubleton The Queen
is sheltered and fully protected from the left-hand opponent.
“Left-Hand Opponent Protected/Fully Protected Suit/Sufficiently Sheltered”. A card in a suit is protected from being
captured by the left-hand opponent by virtue of there being a sufficient number of sheltering cards higher than itself
which can force the left hand opponent to expend his higher cards, thereby promoting the lower protected card into a
sure winner. It is both drop protected and left-hand opponent protected.
Example: In QJT the Ten is fully-protected by the QJ.
"Unsheltered Tricks". These are cards that are potential (but not sure) winners, because they are drop protected, but
not left-hand opponent protected.
"Sheltered Quick Tricks/Promotable Winners". These are lower cards that are left-hand opponent protected by enough
higher cards that are expendable to promote the lower card into a winner.
"KPC=Key Protection Card" and"LPC=Lowest Protectable Card". The KPC and LPC are useful tools for identifying the
presence of any natural winners. The KPC and LPC are unique card values in a suit associated with the suit length that
establish reference points for evaluating a suit. The KPC represents the lowest valued high card (for the given suit
length) required to promote a lower valued card. If you have no cards equal to or higher than the KPC, then you have no
winners, because you have no card that is drop protectable and no shelter for any card that might be promotable. The
LPC represesnts that lowest value that a lower valued promotable card can be for the given suit length.
For example, in a 4-card suit, the lowest valued high card that can be used to promote a lower card is the Jack, and
the corresponding lowest valued card that can be promoted by the Jack the top of a sequence is the 8. If you have cards
equal to or higher than the KPC, then you have at least a drop-protected card, but you need to see if you have a sure
winner. To determine this, your lowest card in the suit must be at least equal to or higher than the LPC, ie, you must
have no cards less than the LPC.
The KPC is identified by the formula:
KPC = 15 - N , Where N = suit length
The LPC is identified by the formula:
LPC = KPC - (N - 1) = (15 - N) - (N -1) = 16- 2N
The following table shows for each value of N (ie, suit length) the associated KPC and LPC.
N ------- KPC = 15-N -------------- LPC = KPC-(N - 1) = (15 - N)- (N - 1) = 16 - 2N
N = 1, then KPC = 15-1 = 14, the ace. LPC = 14-0 = 14, the ace.
N = 2, KPC = 15-2= 13, the king. LPC = 13-1 = 12, the queen.
N = 3, KPC = 15-3 = 12, the queen. LPC = 12-2 = 10, the ten.
N = 4, KPC = 15-4 = 11, the jack. LPC = 11-3 = 8, the eight.
N = 5, KPC = 15-5 = 10, the ten. LPC = 10-4 = 6. the six.
N = 6, KPC = 15-6 = 9, the nine. LPC = 9-5 = 6, the four.
N = 7, KPC = 15-7 = 8, the eight. LPC = 8-6 = 2, the deuce.
Example: Say our suit length is 4. Therefore, our key protection card (KPC) is the jack and our lowest protectable card
(LPC) is the 8. If the lowest card in our suit is the 8, then we have at least one sure winner. Consider the
possibilities. We could have JT98 in which case the 8 is fully sheltered. We could have AKQJ in which case the jack is
fully sheltered. And so on.
Example: Say our suit length is 3. KPC= the queen and LPC= the ten. We could have K,J,T in which case the ten is fully
protected. Should your lowest card be equal or greater than the LPC, the question remains,... How many winners? You
have at least 1, but are there more? To answer that question, starting from the top first identify any touching cards,
count them and subtract how many higher cards are out above those.
Example: With a 4-card suit You hold 8-T-QK. You have 2 touching honors with one higher card out, giving you 2-1 = 1
trick. If instead you held 8-JQK, then you would have 3-1 = 2 tricks. If your lowest card in the suit is less than LPC,
then you need to do some adjusting to determine if you still dont have a winner. (See "NBC" below.)
“Adjusted KPC, LPC and NCB- The Number Of Cards Below LPC”. If initially you found that your lowest card was less than
the original LPC, then you need to treat your hand suit as if it's 1 card less and, using that adjusted LPC, see if
your next from your bottom card is equal or above the adjusted LPC. If it is, then repeat the steps outlined under KPC,
LPC... If your next from bottom card is still less than the adjusted LPC, then again ttreat your suit as if it is 1
card less and repeat the process. Once you have reduced the adjusted length down to 1 card, you can stop, because you
have no sure winners. Another way of looking at it is as follows. NCB is the count of the actual number of cards in a
suit that fall below the designated LPC reference. If NCB = 0, then there are a sufficient number of high cards above
the actual lowest card to promote that low card into a sure high card winner, ie, a sheltered quick trick. If NCB = N
(the suit length), there are no high card winners in the suit.
If N > NCB > 0 , then there still may be winners in the suit. Should you have a card or cards below the LPC and
cards above the KPC, then you must count those cards below the LPC to give you the NBC (number below count) and
subtract NBC fom the original card length, N, and refigure the KPC2 and LPC2 for the adjusted card length (N2) to see
if you dont have a sure winner.
N2 = N - NBC.
Example: With a 4-card suit You hold 6, 7, Q, K You have 2 cards below LPC, therefore adjusted length
N2 = N - NBC = 4 -2 = 2. The adjusted KPC2 = the king, and the adjusted LPC2 = the queen. Since the remaining card are
equal and above the adjusted LPC2, you have a winner(s).
“High Card Distribution”. This is how the high cards stand in relationship to each other in each suit. Are the high
cards concentrated in one suit or are they spread around the suits.
"Continuous Suit Sequence". An honor card distribution in the same suit wherein there are "touching" (ie, adjacent
valued) honor cards in a continuous unbroken string.
Example, a KQJ in spades is an continuous unbroken sequence.
"Inside Sequence/Broken Sequence". A sequence whose top card is not the highest card in the suit. There is a higher
honor card, but not touching .
Example: AQJxx where the QJ is an inside sequence.
"Top of a Sequence". The top valued honor card in a sequence.
“Broken Suit/Holes”. A suit having honor cards, but without any sequences.
"High Card Point Count (HCP)". This is the Goren Appraisal Method using points assigned to the four top honors in each
Ace = 4 pts, King = 3 pts, Queen = 2 pts, Jack = 1 pt. Thus, in the entire deck of cards there are 40 HCP.
“HCP Bid Points”. In any one player's hand, this is the total number of high card points (HCP) contained in the hand
immediately after the deal.
2. Bidding Phase.
a. General Bidding Terms.
“Bid”. A bid is statement made by a single player when it is his turn. There are three types of statements the player
- “Pass” ……………………………………………………………….. he refuses to bid.
- A Proposed Contract Statement/Bid………………… he is competing to win the final contract.
- A Penalty Statement/Bid………………………………….. he is challenging the last declarative or penalty statement made.
“Opener”. The very 1st person to make a non-pass bid.
“Bid Positions Relative To Opener”.
- The partner (sitting opposite the opener) is automatically designated the "Responder".
The opponents automatically become the"Contender/Respondent partnership".
"Responder". The partner of the opener.
"Contender/Overcaller". The first of the opener’s opponents to make a bid. The partner automatically becomes the
“Respondent”. The contender’s partner.
“Proposed Contract Bid”. This is a bid made by a player to participate in the bidding with the purpose of winning the
final contract. If, after the bid is made, there are three successive “passes”, the proposed contract becomes the final
“Penalty Bid/Stipulation”. This is a statement a bidder makes to challenge the most recent bid made. There are two
types of penalty bids:
“Penalty Business Double/Insult”. When a doubler says “Double”, he usually means that he does not believe the most
recent bid given is a makable contract statement. Further, he is imposing extra penalty points in the scoring should
the opponent giving the bid fail to succeed in the proposed contract. However, the “double” may be for information to
partner and not for penalties.
“ReDouble”. This is a come-back bid made to the doubler saying that proposed contract bidder believes the proposed
contract is makable, and he imposes further penalties against the doubler should he make the contract. But, should he
fail to make the contract, then he will incur even stiffer penalties in the score against him.
“Vulnerable/Vulnerability”. This is a condition stipulated at the beginning of a round that must be observed in the
bidding, because it affects the scoring of the round. If a partnership is designated as being “Vulnerable”, then it is
subject to greater rewards in the scoring if it makes the proposed contract, but it is also subject to greater
penalties in the scoring if it fails to make the proposed contract. If a partnership is not designated to be
vulnerable, then it is “Non-Vulnerable”.
“Declarers”. The last partnership to bid become the winner(s) of the final contract and are called the “Declarers”.
“Grand Slam Contract”. A final contract where the bid level is “7”, meaning the declarers intend to take all 13 tricks,
ie, 7 + book of 6.
“Small/Baby Slam Contract”. A final contract where the bid level is 6, meaning declarers intend to take 12 tricks.
b. Types Of Bids. (For specific systems/conventions, see section C.)
"Limit Bid". A bid made which limits the maker's hand to having no more than a certain number of bid points within a
3-pont range. Usually, the first of two partners who makes a limit bid becomes the passive partner and the other
partner becomes the controlling partner, aka the captain). The reason for this is that the captain has first knowledge
of the meshed (combined) values. He is therefore the one to take charge and ask for aces, etc.
"Preemptive/Interference Bid". A bid made to take up bidding room, thereby interfering with the opponents bidding.
"Preemptive Opening”. An opening bid at the 2-level or 3-level that anticipates opponents having a strongeer hand and
intends to interfere with their bidding.
“Weak Two Opening”. A premptive opening at the 2-level.
“Opening Bid”. The first proposed contract bid specified.
"Simple Bid". A bid in the cheapest available level of bidding. No jumps.
"Jump Bid". A skip beyond the next available level of bidding
“Response”. A bid may by the responder who is the partner of the opener.
“Weak Jump Shift Response”. A responder jump to the next level in anew suit intended to prempt the opponents out of
"Up-the-Line" . A sequence of bidding at the one level wherein the lowest ranking 4-card suits are bid 1st and
progressively in order (ie, up-the-line) in the absence of a 5-card suit. The intention is to find a 4-4 fit.
"Skip-Up-The-Line". In response to a 1 Club opener, some people prefer a bidding system that will skip over a 1 Diamond
response when they hold a 5-card diamond suit and a 4-card major.
"Raise". A simple bid in a suit previously bid by one's partner.
"Simple Raise". Bidding your partner's suit at the next available level up.
"Jump Raise" . Bidding your partner's suit at one level above the next available level up.
"Limit Raise". The responder's immediate raise of opener's suit that limits his hand to a specific point range within 3
points. Limit raises may be simple raises or jump raises. This term usually used specifically to describe responder's
jump raise to show 10-12 HCP and a 4-card supporting suit.
"Shift". The bidding of a new suit not previously mentioned by the partnership.
"Simple Shift". Bidding a new suit at the next available level up.
"Jump Shift". Bidding a new suit at one above the next available level up.
"Rebid". The rebidding of owns own suit,
"Simple Rebid: Bidding your own suit at the next available level up.
"Jump Rebid". Bidding your own suit at one above the next available level up.
"Reverse". Bidding one suit and then bidding a new suit that is higher in rank than the first suit bid. A strong
reverse is one that bypasses a possible no trump call in going to the second suit. It indicates a stronger hand. A weak
reverse is one that does not bypass a possible no trump call in going to the second suit.
"Down Shift". The sequence of bids made by one player wherein he bids his highest ranking suit on first round, followed
by bidding his next lowest ranking suit on 2nd round, thereby giving partner the choice between 2 suits without
changing levels. The opposite of a reverse. .
"Intervening Bid". A bid made by a contending non-opener. It interferes/intervenes with the opening partnership
“Overcall”. A simple bid of a suit without jumping made by the contender.
“Defensive Bid”. A bid by the non-opening contenders.
“Free Bid”. A bid made freely without any forcing conditions being imposed. A free bid usually denotes having some
“Asking Bid”. Typically, an artificial bid made to inquire into some speciific feature of partner's hand. The Stayman
and Blackwood conventions are examples.
"Invitational Bid". An invitational bid is a limit bid which "creeps up" to a game or slam contract. It is in the suit
(or no suit) desired, but at a level (usually one less) than the level desired. The intention of an invitational bid is
that the maker does not know whether his partner is in the lower or upper point range that he has previously indicated.
Therefore, the invitation is for the partner to go to the next level (or higher) if he is in fact in his upper range.
"Forcing Bid". A bid that demands that the partner make a bid in the absence of the opposition making an intervening
bid. (ie, partner must not pass).
“Take Out Bid”. A forcing bid that is not meant to be left in by partner should the intervening opponent pass.
"Forcing Rejected Suit Bid". An unpassed/unlimited hand "FORCING REJCTED SUIT BID" is an artificial bid that
temporarily denies interest in the suit being bid AND REQUIRES PARTNER TO BID AGAIN.
- When playing Hamilton, a 2D overcall of a 1NT opening is for the majors. There is no interest in diamonds, so it is a
- When playing MIchaels, a cue bid in opponent's suit is for the higher unbid suits. There is no interest in the
opponents' suit, so it is a rejected suit.
- When playing Unusual NT, a jump to 2NT is for the unbid lowest ranking suits, not no-trump. There is no interest in
no-trump, so it is a rejected suit.
- When transferring your partner to a spades over his no-trump opening, you bid 2H. There is no interest in hearts, so
it is a rejected suit.
- When playing a 2D opening as 18-19 points balanced with a REJECTED MAJOR TRANSFER to 2NT, there is no interest in the
major you are bidding since it is the weaker of the majors. Therefore, it is a temporarily rejected suit.
- When you are playing 4C/4D Rejected Minor Ace Asking, you pick the minor you are least interested in to ask for aces,
even though your partner may have bid it. So temporarily there is no interest in the minor you bid and it is a FORCING
BID not an invitational bid, unless you have previously passed or limited your hand.
"Cue Bid". There are 2 meanings for this term depending on context. At the 4-level of bidding, one can "Cue Bid" the
suit in which they hold an ace, thus showing their first round of control in an at-riisk suit. A second meaning is to
make a bid in the opponents' bid suit ar a low level for the purpose of conveying something other than an interest in
the suit. In either case, a cue bid is forcing.
"Forced Suit Bail-Out Reply". When the respondent is forced to bid via his partner's double, if he has no values at
all, the respondent will attempt to "bail out" at the cheapest level in a suit where he has length. His partner is
advised to be careful about bidding again.
"Forced Positive Reply." When the respondent appears to be forced to bid because his partner has doubled, if he has I 0
or more points, he can so indicate either by jumping a level over the cheapest available in his suit, or he can bid the
"Directional Bid". A bid that is forcing and demands the partner bid a specific suit at a specific level. It may also
tell partner to pass, which is known as a close out bid.
"Sacrifice Bid/Contract". A bid made usually at or beyond game level that is not expected to make, but even though it
does not make, it is a more economical way of giving the opponents a lesser score than if the opponents were to have
the contract. Usually the "good" sacrifice contract goes down no more than 1 trick with unfavorable vulnerability, 2
tricks with equal vulnerability, and 3 tricks if favorable vulnerability. It is expected that the opponents will
double, and where they will get the equivalent points attributed to the game or slam bonus points, they will not get
the trick points they would otherwise get if they were in a game or slam contract.
“Handicap Bid/Stipulation”. A "double" or "redouble" bid intended to penalize.
“Penalty Double”. A bid intended to be left in by partner for the purpose of penalizing the opponents' last bid. Aka, a
"Business Double", an "Insult".
"Co-operative Double". On the 1st round of bidding, an overcall double of a bid made at or above the 3 level. It is
normally optional for the respondent to bid. The weaker the respondent's hand, the more he should bid.
“Reopening Double”. A "double" made by opener to get partner to bid after passing.
“Take-Out Informational Double”. This is a bid made by the contender and forces his partner to bid unless the
intervening opponent bids. It is not intended for penalties.
“Negative/Responder Double”. This is an informational double made by responder on his chance to bid. It is not for
”'Stolen Suit Doubles". This is typically a "double" issued by the partner of a no-trump opener after there has been an
intervening bid. It is intended to say "He stole my bid".
"SOS Redouble". A redouble is normally construed to say to the opposition, "We bet we can make it". However, the
redouble gives the opposition a chance to change their mind and pull the bid. Therefore, the redouble in this context
is not a good bid, because if you really think you can make it, then why give the opposition the information and the
chance to change? Therefore, a better use of the redouble is an SOS to your partner that says, "Partner, I don't have
support for what you just bid. Try something else". With this information, partner can leave it in if he does care
about your support or change his bid to another suit where you may have better support.
"Natural Bid". A bid made in a suit that means you like that suit.
"Artificial Bid". A bid that is not natural and does not represent any holding in the suit bid, but means something
else. Cue bids made in opponents' suits are artificial.
“Psyche Bid”. A bid made that is not according to partnership agreement and intended to destroy the opponents'
discovery of their suit(s). Only one psyche bid is allowed in a tournament and violators can be punished.
“Alert/Alertable Bid”. Any bidding agreement that is non-standard (not recognized as standard) and not natural is
required to be announced via an alert when partner makes such a bid. Usually artificial bids are alertable, but not
all, because they have become recognized as standard bidding.
"Contended Suit". A contended suit is one where two opponents have long and similiar predominant lengths. In the
bidding one of the two opponents may have indicated a preference for that suit via an artificial bid. In other words,
they may have not actually bid the suit, but they have clearly indicated a preference fot it. Should the other opponent
turn around and bid the indicated suit, then it is the equivalent of a cue bid.
"Contended Suit Bid". Bidding a non-bid contended suit which is in essence a cue bid in the opponents' bid suit. It
would be very unwise for the responder to a no-trump opener to transfer to such a suit where the intervening opponent
has made an artificial bid showing a preference for that same suit.
"Uncontended Suit Bid". A bid in a suit that has not been explicitly expressed via a natural bid and/or a suit that has
not been implied via an artificial bid,
“Sign Off/Close Out Bid”. A bid that tells partner not to bid anymore.
“Corrective Bid”. A bid made to place the final contract where the maximum score will be realized.
3. Pre-Play Strategy - Planning The Play Of The Hand Phase.
a. Basic Definitions
“Declaring Partnership”. The partnership who won the final contract.
“Declarer”. This is the individual player of the declaring partnership who will play both hands of the partnership in
their attempt to make/complete their final contract. He becomes declarer as a consequence of his having been the first
of the two partners to name the suit of the contract. His partner becomes the "Dummy".
“Dummy”. This is the individual player of the declaring partnership who will put his hand down on the table face up for
all to see. He is also referred to as ”The Board” or “The Table” during the play.
"Defenders". These are the opponents of the declarer during the bidding and play of the hand.
“Lead”. The first card played to the next trick.
“Opening Lead”. This is very first lead made to trick #1, ie, the very first card played to very first trick. The
opening lead is always made by the person to the declarer’s left and before dummy exposes his hand.
“Lead Position”. In playing to a trick, the first person to play is called the "LEADER" and he may select any card of
any suit to begin the next trick. Who ever wins the trick becomes the lead to the next trick.
“Trick Playing Positions”. These are the clockwise player positions relative to the lead position, where the lead is
“1st hand “ followed by “2nd hand”, “3rd hand”, and finally “4th hand”. These trick positions are constantly changing,
because the lead position is constantly changing depending upon who won the previous trick.
“Suit Of The Trick/Lead Suit”. This is the suit selected by the leader to the next trick.
“Following Suit”. Each player to a specific trick is required to play a card in the same suit as the suit of the trick,
unless he has no more cards in that suit, ie, he is void, at which time he may chose any card in his hand to be played
on the trick.
“Sluff/Discard”. Once a player has no more cards in the suit of the trick, he may select a losing card from another
suit to play on the trick. This is called sluffing or discarding.
“Ruffing/Trumping”. Ruffing/trumping a trick is the attempt to win a trick by playing a card from the declared trump
suit when a player can no longer follow suit. More specifically, ruffing occurs from the hand that has the supportive
length in trump, where trumping occurs from the hand having the running length in trump between two partners.
b. Suit Splits and Combined/Meshed Partnership Hands.
“Fit/MisFit”. Between two partners, “Fit” describes a favorable meshing/combining of the two hands together, where each
hand lends to strength of the partner’s hand. “Misfit” describes an unfavorable meshing of the two hands.
“Split/Suit Split”. This refers to how many cards in a suit each partner holds. A 5-2 split means one partner has 5
cards in the suit, where the other has 2 cards in that same suit.
“Predominant and Supporting Suit Hands”. This refers to the relative lengths in the same suit between partners. It does
not pertain to the overall size of the number of cards held between partners. One partner may have 2 cards in a suit
while the other has 3 cards. Obviously the opponents have more cards in the suit meaning they have greater over all
population. But here we are referring to the relative suit population size between partners, exclusive of the
“The Predominant Suit Hand”. This is the partner having the greater length (card count) in a specific suit.
‘The Supporting Suit Hand”. This is the partner having the shorter length (card count) in a specific suit.
“Matched Suit Hands”. This is where both partners have the same card count in a specific suit. They are equally
"Predominant Suit Length". This is the length of the partner having the predominant suit hand. It is the longest
"Supporting Suit Length". This is the card count of the number of cards in the shorter supporting suit hand.
“Matched Populated Suit Length”. This is the card count of the number of cards in just one of the matched suit hands.
Between two partners, they both have the same number of cards in a specific suit. Either partner could be considered as
having the predominant length.
Example: A 4-4 fit or match in a specific suit.
“Meshed Suit Length”. Refers to how many total cards in a suit the partnership holds. The predominant length added to
the supportive length.
“Short Mesh”. A suit where the meshed card count is less than 7 cards in the suit.
“Long Mesh”. A suit where the meshed card count is greater than 6 cards in the suit.
“Concentrated Short Mesh”. A suit whose populated suit length is 4 to 6 cards, but the meshed suit length is less than
“Concentrated Long Mesh”. A suit whose populated suit length is 4+ cards, the meshed suit length is 7+ cards.
“Matched Short Mesh”. A suit split evenly between partners having a meshed suit length less than 7 cards, ie, 3-3, 2-2,
“Matched Long Mesh”. A suit split evenly between partners and having a meshed suit length greater than 7 cards..
“Unmatched Void”. A void in one partner’s hand where the other partner holds cards in that suit.
“Matched Void”. Both partners are void in the same suit. (Not a likely scenario.)
“Cross Substitution”. The mental process of replacing the low cards in the predominant suit hand with the highest cards
from the shorter supporting suit hand.
“Cross Protected/Covered/Sheltered”. This means that, where the suit in one hand has breaks/holes in high cards, the
partner’s hand fills those breaks/holes with his high cards in that same suit.
“Combined Sequence”. A sequence in a suit that results from the combination of high cards of the two partner’s hands
where there were previously breaks/holes in each individual hand.
“Combined Broken Suit”. A suit which is still missing some high cards even after considering partner’s support.
“Combined Lead Protection”. As a result of the combined resources of the partners' hands, all suits have stoppers.
(This area still in progress)
“To Identify a sequence”.
-a. Determine the LPC
-b.Substitute cross protections from short hand to low cards in long hand until lowest card in long hand Is higher than
the hi card in short hand.
-c.If lowest unprotected card in long hand is equal or greater than LPC, it becomes the lowest hi card LHC, And there
is a sequence with at least 1 quick trick.
“Cross Support”. It comes from the long hand where it holds cards of lesser value than the RLPC. Cross support provides
protection against Cannibalism which occurs when there is no cross-support to prevent the shorter hand from crashing
honors with the runable hand.
“Counting Losers With ‘Tweeners”
# of losers = +++ (# of losers - # or winners) / 2 where +++ = “sum of”
# of winners = 13 - # of losers - # of ‘tweeners
# of losers = +++(# of losers - [13 - # of losers - # of ‘tweeners])
= (2 [ # of losers] - 13 + tweeners) / 2
“Counting Hi Card Winners”.
-a. Compress hi cards to hi-card equivalents, HCE
-b. # of quick tricks = (HCE – LHC + 1) – (14 – HCE) + (14 – HCE – Holes) / 2
-c. # of winners = (# of Quick Tricks + our L/T) + our ruffs - their L/T - Their ruffs
c. Overall Suit Distribution.
“Overall Suit Distribution”. Used in reference as to how a single suit is distributed among all four player’s hands.
“Suit Contention”. The comparison of the opponents’ relative strength in a suit.
“Dominant Suit Hand/Length". Among all of the players’ (ie, opponents included) holdings in the same suit, the longest
of the two opposing predominant lengths.
"Vacant Suit". The partnership has neither the dominant length or favorable mesh count in the suit.
"Contended Suit". A suit in which the runable lengths of the opponents are EQUAL. Neither has the dominant length.
A “Favorable Contended Suit” is where the partnership holds the most in mesh count.
In an“Unfavorable Contended Suit” they do not hold the most in mesh count.
“Pandora Suit". A suit where one partnership has dominant length, but the other partnership has favorable mesh count.
It must be specifically 5-1 vs 4-3 or 5-0 vs 4-4 or 6-0 vs 4-3 or 6-0 vs 5-2
A "Favorable Pandora" is where the partnership holds the dominant length in the suit, but mot the most mesh count.
An "Unfavorable Pandora" is where the partnership holds a favorable mesh count, but not the dominant length.
“Occupied Suit". A suit in which one partnership has both dominant length and favorable mesh count.
"Owned Suit". An occupied suit or favorable pandora suit which also contains high valued honor cards.
"Support". Means there are a sufficient number of cards (usually at least 3 cards) in the supporting length of a suit
such that, when added to the predominant length, there are enough cards to outlast the opponent's length in that suit
to guarantee 8 cards.
"Self-Transportable Suit". A suit in which the supporting hand length has a sufficient number of cards with small
enough values to get into the predominant length side during the play of the hand.
"Side Suit". A non-trump suit which is either an occupied suit or a favorable pandora suit. Or to put it more simply, a
4. Play Of The Hand Phase.
a. Technique Definitions.
1) Lead Related.
“Under-Lead” To lead a card smaller than the top card in a suit. Usually, to underlead an ace or king on the opening
lead is not a good idea, because it is self finessing.
"Self Finessing". To underlead one's winners, thereby letting the opponent win his higher cards unchallenged. It is
like letting the cat out of the bag. You do not want the opponent to escape being captured.
“Lead From Nothing”. This is the lead from a suit containing no honors and therefore safe from self finessing.
“Drive Out”. This is a lead of a high card to promote or setup a lower card beneath it.
"Fourth Best" This is a common opening lead made against a no-trump contract.Fourth best from longest and strongest.
“Lead Through Strength Up To Weakness”
“Lead Capitulation”. The giving up of an extra trick by virtue of being in the lead.
"Cashing In”. The playing of trick winning cards from 1st hand to assure their collection. Usually done when it has
become clear that opponent has established a dominant length suit.
"Two-for-One" . This usually occurs when the one of the defenders is out of trump and declarer still has trump in both
of his hands. However, it can be effective for the declarer if he is in a bad trump contract and would have been better
off in NT anyway.
2) 2nd, 3rd, 4th Hand Play.
“2nd Hand Low/3rd Hand High”'
3) Declarer Techniques.
“Extension Of Tricks”.
“Short Card Finesse”.
“Trap Card Finesse”.
“Reverse Squeeze”. The squeezing of 4th hand.
“Idle Plays”. Idle driveout, idle ruffing, idle trapping, idle zooming.
4) Defender Techniques.
“Cover An Honor”
“Unblock”. The playing of high value cards and saving low valued cards in the subordinate length to assure entry into
the prevailing length
“Blocked”. A suit in which the subordinate length does not have small enough values to get into the prevailing length.
“Ruff and Sluff”. This occurs when a suit is led in which the 2nd and 4th hands are void and both 2nd and 4th hands
have trump. It usually results in the loss of a trick to the side who made the lead, because the beneficiary (ie, 2nd
and 4th hands)
can trump in one hand and sluff (discard) a looser from another suit.
5. Scoring Phase.
“Partial and Partial Points:
“Game and Game Points”.
“Slam and Slam Points”.
“IMPs – International Match Points”.
“Overtrick and Overtrick Points”.
“Undertricks and Undertrick Points”.
“Set/Down Penalty Points”.
“Bid Trick Points”.
“Extended Bid Level Score”.
6. The Handling Of Errors.
“Bid Out Of Turn”
“Failure to Alert an artificial or non-standard bid”
“Excessive use of Psyche Bid”
“Lead/Play Out Of Turn”
C.PARTNERSHIP CONVENTION DEFINITIONS.
1. High Card Evaluation Systems.
“Culbertson Quick Trick System”.
“Goren High Card Point System”
“Control Card Point System”.
“Key Card System”.
2. Bidding Conventions.
“Standard American System”.
“Roman Italian System”.
'Weak No Trump Openings”.
“Five Card Major Convention”.
“Mini Roman Convention”.
“Short Club Convention”.
“Convenient Minor Convention”.
“4 Way Transfers”.
“2 Over 1”.
“Diamond Denial Bid”.
“BlackWood Convention”. A bid of 4NT understood to be asking for a count of aces from partner.
“Roman Key Card Convention”.
“Unusual No Trump Bid”.
“Top and Bottom Bid”.
“Weak No Trump Overcall”.
3. “Defensive Playing Signal Conventions”.
"Discard". As a result of being unable to follow suit, the sluffing or throwing off of a card in another suit.
“Suit Preference Signal”. A signal indicating preference for either a higher ranking suit or lower ranking suit other
than the one played.
These signals can be given in following suit and/or in discarding.
" Card Count”. This is one of the oldest signal systems where the play of a low card in a suit, followed by a higher
card in the same suit, shows an odd number of cards. An even number of cards is shown by a hi-lo sequence.
“Hi-Lo Positive Attitude”. Positive attitude has replace card count , where a hi-lo sequence shows you have winners in
that suit, or at least like that suit over the others. A lo-hi sequence says you dont like it.
"Up-Side-Down Attitude". This is just the reverse signaling from Positive Attitude.
“Odd/Even Signal”. A discard signal where you throw off a suit you dont want with a suit preference signal as indicated
by your discard of an odd or even card.
“Laventhal Signal”. A discard signal where you throw off a suit you dont want with a suit preference signal as
indicated by your