I remember when I first started teaching bridge in 1975. I had only been at it a year, when I lucked into teaching 5 people who worked at the United Nations. They were of mixed nationalities, but they all claimed to be somewhat fluent in English. It was my first experience with beginners, and I was explaining the basics of bridge from ground zero. And brother, I was killing it. They were nodding their heads enthusiastically and a few even laughed at my jokes. At the end of the session, I asked if there were any questions. A woman with clipped, brown hair raised her hand. She spoke with a heavy accent. “Mr. Steinberg, I just need to know one thing.” “Yes?” I asked. “What’s a spade?” It was enough to make a grown man cry.
Auction: A collective term used to describe the bidding which always precedes the play.
Balanced Hand: A hand that has a relatively even distribution of the four suits – no voids, no singletons, and not more than one doubleton.
Blackwood: An artificial bid which asks partner for aces.
Book: The first six tricks won.
Contract: The final bid.
Cue Bid: When you or your partner bids a suit which was first mentioned by one or both of your opponents.
Dealer: The person who deals the cards at the beginning of each hand.
Declarer: The person who actually plays the hand. This is determined during the bidding.
Doubleton: Two cards in any given suit.
Dummy: The partner of the declarer. These cards are shown face up on the table.
Entry: A winning card which allows access to the opposite hand.
Finesse: A technique to win an additional trick(s) with a card that is nor a sure winner.
Fit: at least eight cards in a common suit.
Five and dime rule: Five cards in the suit that a player bids, and at least 10 points in the entire hand.
Grand Slam: Contracts bid on the seven level. Should have at least 37 total points.
Honor cards: There are 5 honor cards in each suit: Ace, King, Queen, Jack, and ten.
LHO: Left hand opponent.
Major suit: Spades and hearts.
Minor suit: Diamonds and clubs.
Notrump: You must have 15 to 17 points and a balanced or evenly distributed hand with at least one protected high card in three out of the four suits.
Opener: The person who opens the bidding.
Overcall: When one side opens the bidding, the other side can bid over them. In effect, they are calling over the opening bidder.
Overtricks: Tricks that are won in excess of your contract.
Part Score: When a partnership settles on a contract which is under game in any suit or notrump.
Penalty Double: Announces your belief that the opponents will not make their contract.
Point Count: Ace = 4 points. Kings = 3 points. Queens = 2 point. Jack = 1 point.
Preempt: An obstructive bid made on a high level which makes it difficult for opponents to enter the auction.
Responder: The opening bidder’s partner.
RHO: Right hand opponent.
Ruff: To trump
Singleton: When you’re dealt only one card in any of the four suits.
Slam: Contracts bid on the six level. They usually require at least 33 combined points to give you a good chance to make 12 tricks in the play.
Stayman: An artificial club bid after partner has opened 1 or 2 nontrump.
Stopper: Stoppers are protected honor cards that seem likely to win one of the first four tricks if the opponents lead that suit.
Suit: Spades, Hearts, Diamonds, Clubs.
Takeout Double:. An overcall that shows an opening hand, with some support for every suit, except the suit that the opener bid.
Trick: After all four people have played a card in clockwise order, that group of four cards is called a trick.
Trump: Trump is just another name for wild cards. The suit that’s designated as trump will be chosen during the bidding.
Void: This term applies when you hold a hand that lacks one suit.