Duplicate Bridge: Glossary of Terms

Alert – any bid that is marked in red on the ACBL convention card as well as any other bid that has a special meaning as part of a partnership agreement should be alerted by the partner of the player making the bid; alerts can be given verbally or by tapping the alert card from the bidding box on the table, but it is the responsibility of the alerting team to ensure that the opponents were made aware of the alert.

Announcements – bids marked in blue on the ACBL convention cards should be “announced” by the partner of the player making the bid; example: the partner of a strong 1 No-Trump opener should announce his/her partner’s point range is 15-17 HCPs, if that is the partnership’s system.

Attitude – defenders need to tell each other which suits they like or not; they do this by giving each other “attitude” signals (in one system, a high card means they like the suit, but in so-called “upside-down attitude,” a high card means exactly the opposite.

Auction – the process through which the final contract is determined; just like a real auction, each bid must be higher on the bidding ladder than the previous bid (the auction ends after three passes, or after four passes if a hand is passed out and no one opens).

Balanced hand – a hand with no voids or singletons.

Balancing seat – the player whose turn it is to bid after two passes following the last bid; if this player also passes, the auction has ended and the contract has been established.

Bid out of turn – a bid made by a player when it was not his/her turn to bid; various sanctions, remedies and/or penalties may apply – always call the director and have him/her explain the options for the non-offending side.

Bidding box – a device containing all possible bridge bids which all duplicate bridge players must use to communicate their calls during the auction; the use of bidding boxes reduces the possibility of cheating, which can occur if players are allowed to make verbal calls and make their bids using certain intonations.

Bidding ladder – the order in which bids can be made, from the top of the bidding box to the bottom, starting with One Club all the way through 7 No-Trump.

Bidding review – the defender making the opening lead may ask for a review of the bidding before making the lead; the partner who’s not on lead may not ask for such a review since the mere act of asking might convey unauthorized information to the partner who’s on lead about what to lead.

Bidding systems – the system a partnership uses to try and get to tan ideal contract; in North America, 3 principal bidding systems are in vogue, Standard American, 2-over-1, and Precision (in Europe, the predominant system is ACOL, which most people think is an acronym of some sort but is actually named after a London club that used to be located on Acol Road, but is no longer at the same location).

Blitz – a shutout victory in head-to-head Swiss team event, in which one team earns all the 20 or 30 victory points at stake in  the encounter, leaving the losers with nothing; any victory by a margin of 28 International MatchPoints (IMPs) is considered a blitz.

Black points – the most common type of MasterPoints won at most club games.

Book – the first six tricks made by a Declarer; you start counting contract levels after “book” has been made, in other words, if you make one more trick than book, you’ve made a contract at the One level.

Bots – robots that play bridge; some clubs now offer players the opportunity to play against robots (bridge computers) when they would normally have a sit-out because an odd number of pairs showed up for the event.

Bracketed Swiss – a form of four-person team play in which all teams in the competition are closely bracketed according to total number of MasterPoints; in other words, you only play against people of similar experience.

BridgeMate – a common brand of hand-held computers used to score duplicate bridge games in which scores are collected and tabulated electronically; it is the responsibility of the player in the North seat to enter the scores electronically and obtain the approval of the opponents for each score.

Caddy – this is not someone who carries your golf clubs when you’re trying to combine a golf-and-bridge vacation; caddies exchange boards between tables in Swiss team events at tournaments.

Call – any card taken out of the bidding box and shown to others at the table is a “call,” which may include a bid, a pass, double or redouble; all calls must be made by using cards from the bidding box, but if a call is inadvertently made verbally, it also counts as a call.

Captain – in any bidding auction, one partner will be the captain and the other will be the private, and the captain is in charge of placing the contract in the right strain or suit and at the right level (counter-intuitively, the captain is most often the player with the fewer points – what matters is that he or she has the most information about total combined strength of the partnership).

Claim – to save time, a Declarer may claim all (or all but one or two) of the remaining tricks, showing his hand to both defenders and explaining how he/she will plan the play of the remaining tricks if there is no reasonable possibility of the defenders taking another trick; claims may be disputed, in which case all four players can either agree to play out the hand or call the director for adjudication of the disputed claim.

Competitive auction – one in which both sides vie for the contract and make bids to try and obtain the final contract.

Concede or concession – to save time, defenders may concede (or make a concession of) the rest of the tricks if they see no hope of taking any additional tricks by folding their cards.

Contract – the final result of the auction or the last bid made followed by three passes; this is the number of tricks (plus 6) that a Declarer has to take to “make” his or her contract; for example, 4 Spades by North means North has to take 10 tricks – 4 plus 6.

Convention – an agreement between partners in which a bid doesn’t mean what it says; all but the most common conventions have to be alerted by the partner of the player making the conventional bid for the sake of full disclosure to the opponents (exception: 2 Stayman response to 1 No-Trump opener asking for a four-card major).

Convention card – the standard American Contract Bridge League (ACBL) form on which players write down their bidding agreements; all participants in ACBL-sanctioned events must have filled-out convention cards available for inspection by the opponents – not to be consulted by the players themselves.

Cover – you “cover” a card that was led by playing a higher card.

Cross-ruff – a cross-ruff can be executed either by the Declarer or by the defenders; it refers to the process in which one side ruffs one suit and the other side ruffs another.

Cue bid – considered an aggressive bidding tactic, the most common example is a bid in an opponents’ suit forcing partner to bid again.

Dangerous opponent – an opponent is said to be dangerous when he/she has the ability to inflict major damage on the Declarer, either by giving his partner a ruff, or by executing a finesse through one of Declarer’s honors; Declarers should do their best to keep dangerous opponents out of the lead.

Declarer – the player who has to play the contract after the auction has been concluded; he/she is the person in the partnership who has first bid the suit (or strain) of the final contract.

Direct seat – the player whose turn it is to bid immediately after someone has opened the auction, in other words the person seated to the left of the opener.

Director – the director is the person who sets up the games, scores it, and adjudicates irregularities; club and tournament directors have to pass an exam administered by the ACBL.

Director call – an occasion when a director has to be called to a table to adjudicate an irregularity; never be afraid to call a director – it’s part of the game and that’s what they’re there for.

Discard – a card played from another suit (not trump) when you’re out of the suit being led (also known as “pitch” or “slough.”

Distribution – the distribution or “shape” of a hand denotes the way the 13 cards of a hand are divided among the four suits; the most common distributions are 4-4-3-2, 5-3-2-2 and 4-3-3-3 (a hand with no shortness or extra length is said to have “no distribution”).

Double – originally, the double was meant as a side bet by the opponents increasing penalties on the Declarer for failing to make a contract; however, in modern duplicate bridge the “double” call has taken on many different meanings, such as takeout double, negative double, led-directing double, maximal double, support double, and even exotic bids like the “Lightner double,” “snapdragon double” or “striped-tail monkey double.”

Double fit – a fortunate situation in which a Declarer and his/her dummy partner have two long suits they can run, for example the trump suit and a side suit; hands with a double fit are powerful hands.

Doubleton – a holding of two cards in a suit; some, but not all, experts advise counting extra distribution points for doubletons.

Duck – in bridge, this does not refer to an item on a Chinese restaurant menu; it means playing a lower card when you have a higher one available (i.o.w. you “duck” under the high card).

Endplay – a strategic play by which a Declarer deliberately puts a defender on lead and forces him/her to concede an extra trick by either allowing a free finesse (under-leading a King or Queen) or setting up a ruff-and-slough.

Entry (I) – a card capable of reaching a series of winners in a suit in partner’s hand.

Entry (II) – what you and your partner (or teammates in Swiss events) buy from the director as your admission to an event showing the table where you start.

Establish – a suit is said to be “established” when neither opponent had any higher cards left in the suit and neither can trump in if the contract is a suit contract, and the Declarer is on lead from his/her hand or the dummy and can lead the established suit.

Finesse – a finesse is a play in which you can get an extra trick by trapping a high card of an opponent; the classic example is a situation in which you have Ace-Queen in dummy and you’re missing the king – you lead towards dummy and play the Queen hoping your LHO has the king.

Fit – if both partners have four cards in one of the major suits, that represents a “golden fit” for playing a contract in that suit; 5-3 is also considered a fit.

Flat (I) – a hand is said to be “flat” when it has little or no distribution value, in other words it has no singletons or voids, no extraordinary length anywhere and close to a 4-3-3-3 shape.

Flat (II) – in duplicate bridge, the result of a board is said to “flat” if all or nearly all pairs in the competition played the hand in the same contract and made the same number of tricks.

Flight – another term sometimes used for stratification.

Forcing bid – a bid that demands a response from partner; it can be forcing for one round, or forcing to Game, depending on partnership agreements (the most typical example of a forcing bid is a strong 2 Club opening bid).

Game – a special contract on which players have the opportunity to earn bonus points, 500 for a vulnerable Game and 300 for a non-vulnerable one; Games need to total at least 100 points in tricks bid and made and can be scored in 3 No-Trump, 4 Hearts or 4 Spades and 5 Diamonds or 5 Clubs.

Go down – fail to make one’s contract; the corresponding penalty depends on the number of tricks by which the Declarer failed to make the contract, on vulnerability, and on whether it was doubled or not.

Gold points – MasterPoints earned by winning or placing high in events at Regional tournaments; some amount of gold points are needed to achieve different Life Master ranks.

Hand records – the complete record of all hands played during an event, given out at the end of every tournament pairs sessions and most club pairs games; hand records often give the “par” on every hand, meaning the best possible score for both sides (serious players study the hand records to see what they could have done better).

HCPs – abbreviation stands for High Card Points, adding up 4 for an Ace, 3 for a King, 2 for a Queen and 1 for a Jack (distribution points for singletons and voids are extra, but should be discounted if they are in a partner’s suit).

Hesitation – a noticeable break in tempo by a player during the auction or during play; partners should be careful not to draw any inferences from the hesitation and if they bid after a hesitation, they should be sure the bid is entirely justified on their hand alone and not partly based on partner’s hesitation (on the other hand, it is unethical to hesitate before playing a card when one has no real choice to make, as you were obliged to play a singleton or one of two touching cards).

Holdup play – a play in which you deliberately hold up a high card which could have taken a trick; this is often done to break the communication (or transportation) between the defenders to prevent them from running a suit in which they have length.

Honor – an honor is a high card in a suit, Ace, King, Queen, Jack or 10.

Howell movement – a system designed for small duplicate games (up to 6 tables) in which pairs continually switch from being North-South to East-West, although allowances can be made for stationary pairs for people with mobility problems; this movement guarantees you will get to play all or almost all of the other pairs in the event.

Insufficient bid – an illegal bid because it was not higher up on the bidding ladder from the previous made during the auction; it’ always a good idea to call the director and have him/her explain the options to the non-offending side.

Interior Sequence – a sequence of cards below the top cards in the suit, for example Jack-10-9 under a King.

International MatchPoints or IMPs – the method of scoring used in Swiss team events; a 10-point advantage by one table over the other is considered a “push,” while a difference of 20 to 40 points rates 1 IMP and successive margins result in greater numbers of IMPs (the difference between one table bidding and making a vulnerable Game while the other table bid only a part-score contract is at least 10 IMPs).

Invitational bid – a bid which invites partner to go to Game depending on his/her values; an invitational bid can be passed by partner as it is different from a forcing bid which demands a response.

Junior – a junior player is defined by the ACBL as a player under the age of 26; to encourage young players to get into the game, juniors enjoy many advantages such as free or reduced-price entries.

Jumps – a jump bid is a bid that skips a level of bidding (hence it is also called a “skip” bid); the meaning of jump bids is a matter of partnership agreement as they can be strong or weak (jump bids can be jump raises, jump shifts or jump overcalls).

Kibitzing – in duplicate bridge, kibitzing means observing play at a table by a non-player; kibitzers must obtain permission to do this from all four players at the table and may not say anything during bidding or play.

Knockouts – a form of Swiss team play in which you have to beat an opposing team head-to-head in order to survive and go on in the competition; these events generally last two days if your teams survives to the final and are available only at Regional or National tournaments.

Lead – is the opening card played on a trick; the person to the left of the Declarer has to make the opening lead; thereafter, the player who took the last trick has to lead to the next.

Lead out of turn – an illegal lead by a player who was not on lead, which may occur on the opening lead or at any time during play; it’s always a good idea to call the director and have him/her explain the options for remedies available to the non-offending side.

Left-Hand Opponent – often abbreviated in bridge literature as LHO, means the person sitting to your immediate left at a bridge game; it is their turn to bid after you, since bidding in the auction and play both proceed clockwise.

Level – the level of the contract, which can be from 1 to 7; a contract at the One level means Declarer has to win 7 tricks (adding 6) while a contract at the 7 level means all 13 tricks have to be won).

Limited bids – bids that have an upper limit, for example, a One No-Trump opening bid usually shows an upper limit of 17 HCPs, and 2NT shows an upper limit if 21 (these limits are useful for the responding partner or “captain” to be able to place the contract at the right level).

Limited games – limited games are limited to players with fewer than a certain number of MasterPoints; limits can be at 20, 50, 100, 200, 300, 500, 750, 1,000, 1,500 or 2,500 points, and they can be found at most larger clubs and tournaments.

Major suits – the major suits are Spades and Hearts; they’re worth more points (30 per trick vs. 20 for the minors) and it’s easier to obtain Games bonuses in them (the 4 level vs. the 5 level).

Membership club – a bridge club jointly owned by its members.

Minor suits – the minor suits are Diamonds and Clubs; they’re worth fewer points (20 per trick vs. 30 for the majors) and it’s harder to obtain Game bonuses in them (the 5 level vs. the 4 level).

Misfit – a misfit is not a maladjusted bridge player; instead, it describes a situation in which neither partner has support for the other’s suit, when it is difficult to find a “fit.”

Mitchell movement – a movement in which all East-West pairs move after every round and North-South pairs are stationary, frequently used for medium-size or larger games with 7 or more tables; there will be a North-South winner, an East-West winner and an overall winner.

Mixed pairs – pairs events in which one partner is a man and the other a woman (bridge has not yet had any transgender controversies).

Nationals – North American Bridge Championships held three times a year (spring, summer and fall) in various cities around North America that last 10 days and include many different events for pairs and teams where gold, red and platinum points can be won.

No play – a director may give you and your partner a “no play” score on a board if you’re late and you haven’t started bidding it at the two-minute warning before the end of a round; a no-play won’t hurt your sore and will not affect your average (however, if it was your fault you were late finishing the round or if your pair had already been warned once for lateness, you may be assessed an average-minus or 40% score on the board).

No-Trump – a No-Trump contract is the most difficult to make and is therefore worth more than a suit contract at the same level; it means that no suit is trump and the highest card in the suit that was led will win the trick (Games in No-Trump are at the 3 level while Games in suit contracts are at the 4 or 5 level).

Open games – duplicate bridge events open to all players without a limit on MasterPoints; games will be stratified to ensure that the lowest-ranked C players can still win points.

Opener – the first person to make a bid (not a pass).

Overcall – an interference bid made by an opponent after another player has opened the auction with a bid.

Overtake – if you’re trying to get to the dummy or to your hand to run a suit in which you have a series of winners, you may “overtake” a lower card with a higher one even though the lower card was already a winner; overtaking is often vital to preserving transportation or communication between the two hands.

Overtrick – a trick won over the level of the contract.

Part score – a contract below the level of Game in any strain; in duplicate bridge, making a part score earns a 50-point bonus.

Partnership agreement – any understanding of a particular bid or bidding sequence is known as a partnership agreement; as a matter of active ethics, unusual partnership agreements should be disclosed to opponents through convention cards, alerts, pre-alerts or post-alerts.

Pass-out – a board on which none of the four players makes an opening bid is scored as a pass-out; it is still a score that counts and you will get a better score than other pairs who went down or let the opponents make a contract, but you will lose to pairs who did the opposite (note: it is very different from a no-play).

Pitch – the discard of a card different from the suit that was led, and not a trump, also known as slough.

Platinum points – special MasterPoints won at National championships for which pre-qualification is necessary.

Point count – total number of high-card points (HCPs).

Post-alerts – unusual bids above the 3 no-Trump game level need not be alerted during the auction, but must be the subject of post-alerts by Declarer before play commences.

Pre-alerts – some established partnerships that use non-standard bids have their bidding peculiarities typed up on a special card and show this pre-alert card to their opponents before every round.

Pre-empt – a bid with a weak hand, skipping one, two or more bidding levels, intended to steal the contract away from opponents suspected of having more HCPs, by making it more difficult for them to find a possible fit.

Preference – when one player has given his/her partner two choices of suits in which to play a contract, the partner is asked to express a “preference” for one suit over the other; for example, he/she may bid 3 Clubs because he/she has a three-card Club holding as opposed to only 2 Diamonds, the other proposed suit (a pass may also indicate a preference).

Pro-am – a popular event at some clubs in which pros (Life Masters) have to play with amateurs (Non Life Masters).

Professional or pro – a bridge player who makes his/her living from bridge, by writing books or columns, directing, teaching, and/or charging less-experienced players for playing with them in n effort to gain MasterPoints.

Proprietary club – a bridge club owned by one or more individuals as a commercial enterprise.

Quacks – in bridge slang, this term does not refer to incompetent physicians; it refers to a hand in which the high-card points are concentrated in Queens and Jacks; it is a pejorative term since hands with lots of Queens and Jacks are obviously inferior to those with Aces and Kings.

Qualifying games – a club game designated as a qualifying game qualifies participants that place sufficiently high for the next phase of a national competition, such as North American Pairs (NAPs) or Grand National Teams (GNTs); usually some special-color MasterPoints can be earned in qualifying games.

Questions – when it’s your turn to bid – and only when it’s you turn to bid – you may ask a question about one of your opponents’ bids, but only if you need that information to decide whether you want to make a bid yourself; inappropriate or inopportune questions may be subject to procedural penalties.

Quick tricks – a number a tricks a Declarer or defender can most likely run off without the opponents being able to get in (example: if you’re on lead against a No-Trump contract and you have Ace-King-Queen-Jack of Hearts, you most assuredly have 4 quick tricks).

Raise – a bid by a partner raising the original opening bid to a higher level; it can be a simple raise of one level, a double raise, a raise to Game or, in exceptional cases, a raise all the way to Slam.

Rank of the suits – the suits (or strains) have a rank; Clubs in the lowest, followed by Diamonds, Hearts, Spades and No-Trump, in that order of hierarchy.

Rebid – the second bid a player makes.

Red points – special MasterPoints that can be won for lesser achievements at Regional tournaments as well as at certain qualifying events at club games; some number of red or gold points are need to achieve various Life Master ranks.

Redouble – a side bet by the Declarer after a defender has doubled a contract; if made, the contract will now be worth four times its original value; in other words, a One Spade contract redoubled is equivalent to (and actually more than) 4 Spades, but penalties are also diametrically increased if the contract is not made (but a special SOS redouble asks partner to get the supposed Declarer out of suspected bad contract).

Regional tournament – a tournament organized and sponsored by an ACBL district that lasts a week and includes various pairs and teams events; points won are of the gold or red variety needed to achieve Life Master ranks bestowed by the ACBL.

Responder – the partner of the player who opened the auction with a bid.

Revoke – a revoke occurs when a player does not follow suit even though he/she has one or more cards left in the suit (a revoke has been established when someone has led to the next suit); various remedies will be applied by a director depending on what happens next.

Right-Hand Opponent – often abbreviated in bridge literature as RHO, means the person sitting to your immediate right at a bridge game; after they bid, it’s your turn to make a call as bidding in the auction proceeds clockwise.

Round – a certain number of boards played against the same opponents; when the round has been called by the director, finish as quickly as possible and move to the next table.

Round-robin – when an odd number of pairs registers for a Swiss team event, the last three teams entered (or in subsequent rounds, the bottom three teams in the standings) will play a “round-robin” against each other in which they do not compare scores until both rounds are finished.

Ruff – same as trump.

Ruff-and-slough – a play in which a Declarer has no more cards left in a suit led by a defender in ether his hand or in the dummy, allowing him/her to ruff on one side while sloughing a loser from the other side.

Rule – duplicate bridge has many so-called “rules” (like “don’t open No-Trump with two doubletons,” “don’t open a Weak Two with a four-card major” or the “rule of 17” and the “rule of 2”), but in truth everything in bridge is situational and rules are only suggestions as to what may work best in most situations, so don’t get too hung up on rules.

Sacrifice – a sacrifice (also known as “sac” for short) is a bid which the player making it has no intention or hope of making; people making sacrifice bids expect to get doubled but even the doubled down points would give them a better score than letting the opponents make their bid – typical example: bidding 5 Diamonds over the opponents’ 4 Hearts as Down Two doubled not vulnerable is minus-300 while letting the opponents make a vulnerable 4 Hearts Game contract would be minus-620.

Scratch – a player is said to have “scratched” if he or she and his/her partner earned any fraction of a MasterPoint in a duplicate game, at a club or at a tournament.

Section – when 15 or more pairs register for an event, the director may divide the field into two or more sections of approximate equal strength; all sections play the same boards in a Mitchell movement and there will be Section winners for North-South and East-West and an overall winner.

Sectional tournament – a Sectional tournament organized and sponsored by an ACBL-sanctioned club and overseen by an ACBL director, generally lasting two or three days and consisting of pairs events and a team competition on the final day; points won are of the silver variety needed to achieve Life Master ranks bestowed by the ACBL.

Senior – seniors are defined by the ACBL as players over the age of 55, a distinction that seems somewhat unnecessary since the average age of the membership is over 70; however, young pros are barred from “senior pairs” events.

Session – certain tournament events consist of two sessions in which players have to commit to play two sessions; sores from two sessions are combined to determine winners.

Set – to “set” a contract means to defeat it, in other words not let the Declarer make his or her required number of tricks.

Silver points – special MasterPoints areaned at Sectional tournaments or at club events billed as Silver Tournaments at Clubs (STAC) games; some number of silver points are needed to achieve various Life Master ranks.

Skip bid – a bid that skips a level of bidding, also called a “jump.”

Singleton – you have a singleton when you have only one card in a particular suit; you almost always lead it on defense against a suit contract to try and get a ruff if your partner gets the lead.

Signals – defensive “signals” are used between defenders to indicate suit preference; examples are odd-even (odd means likes the suit – even means the opposite), upside-down attitude (high card means hates suit – low card encourages it), etc.

Slam – a special contract in which a Declarer takes all or all but one of the 13 tricks and earns bonuses (in addition to the Game bonuses); a Grand Slam in which all 13 tricks are taken earns 1,500 points vulnerable and 1,000 points non-vulnerable and a Small Slam in which 12 tricks are taken earns 750 points vulnerable and 500 non-vulnerable.

Slough – a discard of a card different from the suit that was led, and not a trump, also known as pitch.

Split – the way the missing cards in a suit are divided between the two opponents; Declarers love 2-2 or 3-2 splits, while bad splits like 4-1 splits are often problematic, and 5-0 splits, especially in the trump suits, can often sink a contract.

Spot cards – lower-ranking cards in any suit, the opposite of honors (for example, a player may refer to his/her holding in Hearts as King-spot-spot, meaning he had a three-card suit to the King and the rank of the two lower cards probably did not matter much, although all players are advised to watch the spots).

Strain – in duplicate bridge, contracts can be played in five different strains, the four suits, Clubs, Diamonds, Hearts and Spades as well as No-Trump; No-Trump is the highest of the five strains.

Stratification – a method of ranking players by experience as expressed in MasterPoints in pairs and team games and let them earn points for how well they did against their peers; a team that places first among all lowest-ranked C teams will still earn MasterPoints even if the team finished nowhere near the top spots (if a B or C team places ahead of A teams, the team will get the same points as if it had been an A team).

Stopper – a high card in a suit capable of stopping the opponents from running that suit.

Summary – a recap of the scores your pair earned on every hand played in the event, which can be obtained from club directors and often from tournament directors at the end of the session; summaries tell you what you did on each board, but not necessarily why, since that depends on what other pairs did on the same boards – that information can only be gained from the club’s or tournament’s websites.

Swiss teams – a format for a duplicate bridge game in which players compete as four-person teams, rather than as pairs (championship teams often have five or six players and not all members of the team play all hands); each board is played only twice and the combined net result from the two tables counts.

Tempo – the pace at which a player makes his/or bids or plays his/her cards; players should attempt to bid and play in the same tempo – except that a 10-second pause is required after a skip or jump bid (breaks in tempo, also called hesitations, may give away the location of an important missing card to a Declarer, but also may convey Unauthorized Information to one’s partner, which could result in penalties an score adjustments by a director).

Touching honors – two or more face cards in the same suit adjacent in rank, for example the Queen and the Jack.

Transportation – in bridge it means the concept of being able to take tricks sequentially by moving back and forth between Declarer’s and dummy’s hands; if you have “no transportation” you may not be able to get to good tricks in either hand (the concept is sometimes also called “communication”).

Trick – since all four players play their 13 cards in turn, a bridge hand consists of 13 tricks; the number of tricks made determines whether the Declarer has made his/her contract, or how many overtricks were made, or by how many tricks the declarer was “off” and went down.

Trump – If a Declarer wins the contract after the completion of the auction in a particular suit, that suit becomes “trump” and if any player is out of a suit being led, he/she may use a trump to try and win the trick.

Unbalanced hand – a hand with length in one or more suits, and shortness in at least one other.

Victory points or VPs  – how Swiss team events are scored to determine the top teams in the competition; they can be on a 20-point or a 30-point scale; For example, on the 20-point scale, a team scoring a blitz gets 20 points and the losing team gets nothing, but in case of a tie, the VPs are evenly split, 10-10, and victories by smaller margins result in proportional splits of the VPs at stake).

Void – you have a void when you have no cards in a particular suit; this can be great on offense (you may be able to trump opponents’ high cards in the suit, as well as on defense if you can trump Declarer’s high cards.

Vulnerability – the status of a pair on each deal that determines the size of bonus points for Game or Slam bids that are made, as well the amount of Down points for the opponents if the contract is not made (the term comes from social or rubber bridge, where an extra hurdle of difficulty was added, with extra rewards as well, for making a second Game that would complete a rubber); in duplicate bridge, vulnerability alternates between both sides.

Waiting bid – an artificial bid whose purpose is to ask partner to describe his/her hand further.

Weak Two – a weak 2 bid is a pre-emptive opening bid at the 2 level indicating a weak hand (usually between 5 and 11 HCP and a six-card suit).

X-ray vision – expert players are often said to have x-ray vision, meaning they seem to be able to “see” the cards in their opponents’ hands even without the opponents showing them; these expert players draw conclusions where the missing cards are from the bids or plays that opponents made or did not make.

Yarborough – a hand with zero HCPs; some say it shouldn’t even contain a 10 (nobody likes getting it but in duplicate bridge you have the consolation that all other people playing in the same direction will share your misery).

Zero tolerance – almost all bridge clubs now adhere to the zero-tolerance policy against unacceptable behavior, which includes gloating, browbeating and intimidating opponents as well as partners and other actions that detract from the enjoyment of the game by players at all levels; penalties may include point penalties for the event, but up to expulsion from the event.