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Bridge can be as bad as NASA for confusing acronyms and
lingo! Welcome to the Jargon Jungle - a glossary of bridge terms designed to
help you hack your way through to a better understanding of the game of
bridge. Just click on the first letter of the word you wish to find!
Each letter of the alphabet reloads the page.
Also, if you would like to suggest a term not presently
included on the list, or see a correction that needs to be made, please
drop us a note.
Balanced Hand: A hand that has no short suits. Most
would consider any hand that has no voids, singletons, and no more than one
doubleton, to be balanced. And a hand with no void or singleton but two
doubletons is said to be semi-balanced.
Balancing: See Doubles - Balancing Double/Balancing Bid.
Bergen Raises: Bergen Raises are a system of responses to major suit
openings which stipulates that any nine card fit should be bid to the three
level as quickly as possible. Any time opener's partner holds 4 (or more)
trumps (even with 0 HCP), he is supposed to bid somewhere between 2NT
(Jacoby 2NT) and 4S at his first opportunity. This system is based on the
Law of Total Tricks, which is somewhat complicated and for more advanced
There is also a Bergen adjunct to Jacoby Transfers over
1NT in which any 9 card major fit must be bid to the three level.
Big Club: A strong club system in which all hands with 16+ HCP,
regardless of distribution, are opened at one club. Any other bid tends to
be limited to a far lower maximum. Exact HCP counts sometimes vary and
should be determined by partnership agreement.
Blackwood: A convention that asks partner how many aces (or kings)
she has. 4NT asks for aces and 5NT asks for kings. There are many variations
to Blackwood but the simplest and most common responses are: 5 clubs shows 0
or 4 aces; 5 diamonds shows 1 ace; 5 hearts shows 2 aces; 5 spades shows 3
aces. The same sequence is true when asking for kings after 5NT. A responder
who hears a bid of 5NT from his partner knows that his side has all 4 aces
and his partner is asking for kings and is interested in a grand slam.
A bid of a suit that can't be trump over the response to
4NT asks partner to bid 5NT usually to play. A bid of 5NT over 4NT usually
shows two aces and a void.
See also Roman Keycard Blackwood.
Blocked Suit: A suit in which the partnership holds cards that would
take several tricks, but the partner with the fewer cards in the suit has
only cards in the suit that are higher than partner's. Consequently, an
entry to partner's hand is required after all the higher cards are played.
Board-a-Match (BAM): A form of team game scored at matchpoints. Since
each board is played only twice, you simply win, lose, or tie on each one.
Bracketed: Essentially the same as flighted, except that the
masterpoint limits for each flight (bracket) are determined by the directors
after all the entries are in, either to equalize the brackets or to make
most of them convenient sizes (for KO play). Usually, players are required
to play in the lowest bracket for which they qualify.
Brozel: A convention that shows two suited hands over opponents 1NT
opener. Clubs shows clubs and hearts; diamonds shows diamonds and hearts;
hearts shows hearts and spades; spades shows spades and a minor; 2NT shows
both minors; double shows the equivalent or better hand of 1NT.
See also Astro.