Dictionary of Terms
Above the Line
Scoring that does not count towards game, but over the line points are added up at the end of the rubber.
Below the Line
Scoring that counts towards game.
The first phase of bridge, when the players decide who will get the contract.
The lowest suit in the bidding.
An agreement that one partnership gets to take a certain number of tricks. If the contract is four hearts, the partership agrees to take 10 (6+4) tricks with hearts as trump. Which side gets the contract and what it is is decided in the bidding
A control in a suit is either a stopper in that suit or a void in that suit. You can cue bid controls.
The first person in the partnership that gets the contract to bid the trump suit. The Declarer plays out both his/her and the dummy's hand.
The second-lowest suit in the bidding.
A bid that increases the amount of points that the hand is worth. Only the opponents can double a contract. Doubles can also be takeout doubles.
A doubleton in a suit is when a hand contains only 2 cards in that suit.
The partner of the declarer, dummy lays out his hand after his RHO leads.
Five Card Majors
A bidding system in which a five card suit is required to open in a major suit.
Following Suit
To play a card of the same suit as what was led. All players must always follow suit if possible!
Forcing Bid
A bid that forces partner to respond, no matter how many points he/she has.
A game is made when one team scores 100 points under the line. Whichever side makes two games first wins the rubber.
Grand Slam
A bid of 7 that is made. A grand slam gets a special bonus - see scoring for details.
The second-highest suit in the bidding (excluding no-trump).
An abbreviation for High Card Points, or points that are counted with high cards and not distribution (see Point Count for details).
The ace, king, queen, or jack of a suit (and sometimes a 10 is called an honor).
To play the first card after the bidding. The RHO of the dummy always leads.
The number of the bidding. For example, a bid of 2C is at the two-level.
An abbreviation for Left-Hand Opponent.
Major Suit
Hearts or spades; these suits are worth more in the scoring. A bid of 4 in a major suit is game.
Minor Suit
Clubs or diamonds; these suits are worth less in scoring. A bid of 5 in a minor suit is game.
A partnership is nonvulnerable if they have not won a game. Vulnerability matters in scoring.
No-trump is considered a suit in the bidding, and is the highest suit. In a no-trump contract, you must follow suit in order to win the trick. A bid of 3 no-trump is game.
An overtrick is a trick that is not needed to fulfill your contract. You get points for overtricks - see Scoring for details.
A pass is the lowest bid. You may always pass, and three consecutive passes end the bidding.
"Passed out"
The hand is "passed out" if everyone passes. The hands are thrown in, and the cards are reshuffled and redealt.
A way of evaluating the strength of a hand - see Point Count for more details.
Preemptive Bid
A preemptive bid is a bid made to prevent the enemy from making a high contract by bidding high, and thereby cutting their communications. Usually, a preemptive bid is an open of 3 with a long suit (7 or more). See Conventions for details.
A bid that is made by the declaring side after the opponents double. A redouble quadruples the normal amount of points.
An abbreviation for Right-Hand Opponent.
Two games. Whichever team makes the rubber first gets an over the line bonus of 700 points if the opposing side has no games, or 500 points if the opposing side has one game.
As a verb, to run the opponents out of a certain suit and to play your low cards so that they win tricks. Running suits is usually done at no-trump, because otherwise the opponents can trump after they are out of making their contract.
A singleton in a suit is when a hand contains only 1 card of that suit.
A contract of 6 or 7 that is made. Slams can be either grand or small. See Scoring for details.
Small Slam
A contract of 6 that is made. A small slam gets a special bonus - see Scoring for details.
The highest suit in the bidding (excluding no-trump).
A high card in a suit that can stop opponents from running that suit.
Declarer is said to be tight when he/she cannot afford to lose any more tricks and still make the contract.
A group of four cards played one after the other, one by each player. A partnership needs to take a certain number of tricks to make its contract.
The trump suit is the highest suit, but remember that you can only play a trump if you cannot follow suit. A card of the trump suit is also called a trump.
A trick that you needed to get to fulfill your contract, but did not get. Your opponents score points for your undertricks - see Scoring for details.
A hand is void in a suit if it has no cards of that suit.
A partnership is vulnerable if they have won a game. Vulnerability matters in scoring.
A hand which contains no cards higher than a 9.