Frequently Used Abbreviations
And Technical Terms
In CardShark BidBase

Here are a few abbreviations BidBase often resorts to in the interest of conciseness, as well as a few technical bridge terms. Please refer to the BidBase help files for more information on the use of these abbreviations and other terms.

For a more extensive list of bridge terms, see this Wikipedia page.

and are used to indicate that either of the two suits shown can be bid. This saves space and avoids needless repetition. For example, we say...

    1-2 shows at least a 5-card suit and 11+ HCP.

rather than

    1-2 shows at least 5 clubs and 11+ HCP
    1-2 shows at least 5 diamonds and 11+ HCP
    1-2 shows at least 5 clubs and 11+ HCP
    1-2 shows at least 5 diamonds and 11+ HCP

When the suit icons don't change, it means the suit is raised, such as 1-2 which is the same as saying 1-2 or 1-2. 

C, D, H, S, N, x, T - suit abbreviations used in bids, where C=Clubs, D=Diamonds, H=Hearts, S=Spades, N=Notrump, x="x" Suit (see the Editor file), T=Trump suit agreed by the bidding; e.g.: on bidding of 1S-P-2S, then a reference to T, as in 4T, means 4S. Some bids, such as slam bidding conventions, may use TA, TK, TQ to indicate the trump Ace, trump King, and trump Queen. 

Other bidding abbreviations include D=Double, R=Redouble, and P=Pass. Obviously, in 1C-D the D means double while in 1C-1D the D means Diamonds.  

When showing cards in a hand, T means "10" not "Trump".  

Using N, D, R, P and T saves a little space but mainly it allows columns of bids to line up better. It also makes calls in a bidding sequence uniform as each call takes only 1 space.

advancer - partner of overcaller or take-out-doubler.

bid - some number of a suit or notrump. See call.

BON - Bid Order Number. (See docs.)

call - any bid, as well as double, redouble, and pass.

CHO - Center-Hand Opponent (sarcastic). Your partner. See LHO, RHO.

constructive raise - bidder believes the contract belongs to his side; searching for the best contract.

    competitive raise - fighting for a part score; may sacrifice if contract belongs to opponents.
    preemptive raise - contract belongs to opponents; trying to hinder their finding the best contract.

docs - documentation. Help files for BidBase as well as for many conventions.

HCP - High Card Points, where Ace=4, King=3, etc. Just saying "Points" include distribution.

Lefty - The player on the bidder's left. See LHO.

LHO - Left-Hand Opponent. The player on the left of bidder.

Losing Tricks - see this page

Opp - opponent.

pard - your partner. See CHO.

QTs - See: Quick Tricks in the docs.

responder - partner of opener or of any player making a conventional bid. See advancer.

RHO - Right-Hand Opponent. The player on the right of bidder.

Righty - The player on the bidder's right. See RHO.

sac - sacrifice: a bid expected to go set for fewer points than the opp's could make in their suit.

S.O.S. redouble - asks partner to bid his best suit to get out of a doubled contract.

specs - specifications for an entry, such as HCP.

solid suit is defined on the ACBL web site as follows:

    A holding that is expected to win as many tricks as there are cards in the suit in one's hand.

    Theoretically, it should contain as many high cards as there are outstanding cards in the suit ["really solid"]: nine to the A-K-Q might lose a trick if all four missing cards are in the same opponent's hand [so a 9-card suit must be headed by the AKQJ].

    Culbertson's rule of thumb is that a suit is "solid" if half the outstanding cards are in one hand and could still be picked up by successive leads.

By Culbertson's definition, a 7-card suit would have 6 cards out and half of that would be 3, so a 7-card suit must be headed by the top 3 cards -- AKQ. For Culbertson, it's not that a suit must be absolutely able to run, but that it has enough high cards to run most of the time, even if partner has none of the suit.

In the chart below, the 2nd number under Suit Length is the number outstanding which is the number of top cards the suit must have to be "Really Solid", limited by the length of the suit, of course. That number divided by 2 is the number of top cards a suit must have to be "solid" by Culbertson's Rule.



    5 : 8
    6 : 7
    7 : 6
    8 : 5
    9 : 4
    10: 3
    11: 2


Culbertson's definition is used in BidBase.

Bidding Database codes:

These are codes used in BidBase's database entries. See CardShark BidBase Editor Input Boxes for more information.

For Cnv, Sub, and Pct:
    W = We
    T = They
    [blank] = both use it
    0 = neither side uses it
      0 in Cnv will deselect ALL entries for a Convention.
      0 in Sub deselects ALL entries for the same Subcategory of the same Convention.
      0 in Pct deselects only the current entry.


    M = entry is for use in Matchpoints, not IMPs.
    I = for IMPs only.
    D = Double Dummy Analysis
    0-99 = percent of time to use one of 2+ alternative bids.
    [Blank] = always use it unless Cnv or Sub is 0.

Hand Strength:

    Standard HCPs (ONLY - Do not include distribution points.):
      HCP1N = range of HCPs a hand must be in for opening 1NT
      HCP2N = range of HCPs a hand must be in for 2NT
      Min = minimum for an adjusted NT opening (either 1NT or 2NT);
      Min+ = anything more than the minnimum
      Min+1 = the middle value for opening NT
      Min+2 = the maximum for opening NT
      Min+3 = 1 over the maximum for opening NT (e.g.: a "bad" 18 if 1NT is 15-17)
      Min-1 = 1 under the minimum (e.g.: a "good" 14)
      1N+2+3 = 2 over 1N Min to 3 over 1N Min (e.g.: 18-19 if 1NT is 15-17)
      2N+2+3 = 2 over 2N Min to 3 over 2N Min (e.g.: 22-23 if 2NT is 20-21)

    Distribution Points:

      e.g.:  3+, 5+, 2-4
      T... = Total HCPs + distribution points. (e.g.: T11+, T6-10, T<15)

Suit Point Specs:

    Suit points can be specified in the usual manner: 2-4, 4+, <=2, etc

    A or K specify Ace or King for a suit.

    Points may be specified by using the following codes:

      x = use the "x" specs, as described in the Editor docs.
      a = "AK, KQ, or AQ"
      b = "AJT, KJT, or QJT"
      c = "KQJ, AQJ, or AKQ"
      d = "AKQJ, KQJT, AKQT, or AKJT"
      2stop = "AK, AQ, AJTx, AT98x, KQJ, KQT, KQ9x, KJTx, or KT9x",
      1stop = "A, Kx, QJx, QT9x, Q98x, JT9x, J98xx, or T98xx"
      hstop = half-stop = "Qxx or Jxxx". (See Western Cue Bids.)
      0stop = no stopper. (Opps can take 5 tricks off the top.)
      FRC = First Round Control (either an Ace or Void)
      SRC = Second Round Control (either King or Singleton)
      P = honors are protected by the bidding.
      i# = Intermediates (e.g.: 4+i1 means 4+ HCP and 1 intermediate.)

      X-suit Specs: (See the editor's doc file for more detail.)

        When more than 1 suit matches the specs, BB bids the higher one.
        "U" tells BB to bid "up-the-line" from Clubs to Spades.
        "x,4+" says that if a suit does not match the "x" specs, it must have at least 4 cards.

        When entering a number requirement for a suit, entering "<x" says that the suit is not an x-suit itself but that it must have fewer cards than the x-suit. You can also use <=x, >x, >=x.


    U = Unfav = Unfavorable (you are, opponents are not)
    F = Fav = Favorable (opponents are vulnerable, you are not)
    V = Vul = You and opponents are vulnerable (If opponents are not, use U/Unfav.)
    N = Not = You and opponents are not vulnerable (If opponents are not, use F/Fav.)
    E = Eq+ = Equal or Favorable (either F, V, or N)

    If you leave the field blank, than any vulnerability is accepted.



    1 = bidder is in 1st seat
    2 = bidder is in 2nd seat
    3 = bidder is in 3rd seat
    4 = bidder is in 4th seat
    F = bidder is in First or Second seat
    T = bidder is in Third or Fourth seat.
    Y = bidder is a passed hand
    N = bidder is an unpassed hand
    P = bidder's partner is a Passed hand
    U = bidder's partner is an Unpassed hand

    If the field is left blank, it means that position does not matter.


Asks Partner:

    Hx = Help in suit bid (C, D, H, S)
    Cx = Control in suit bid
    Bx = examples of "x": B2C, Bm = bid a minor, BM = bid a major
    P = Pick a suit or pick a slam.
    D = Decide on final contract. (Also see PC.)
    A = number of Aces
    K = number of Kings
    KC = number of key cards
    1 = 1-round force
    G = Game force.
    PC = Pass or correct
    SO = Sign-Off.

Disclosures for opponents if asked:

    Start a disclosure with a left bracket "[" for any notes which you do not want displayed during a game.

    Hx = invites to game if partner can help in suit 'x' (x = HC, HD, HH or HS).
    Cx = asks partner for a control in suit 'x' (x = CC, CD, CH or CS).
    Bx = asks partner to make the specified bid, such as B2H (="Bid 2H"). Bm=Bid minor.
    P = asks partner to pick a suit and bid game/slam.
    A, K, KC = asks for Aces, Kings, or Key Cards as in Roman Key Card Blackwood.
    1 = forces partner to bid 1 more round.
    G = game force; must keep bidding until at least game is reached.
    O = optional or semi-forcing.
    PC = pass or correct.
    SO = sign-off.

Disclosure of Strength Expected:

      Description HCPs Example Bids
    B = Bust 0-5  
    W = Weak 6-10 Minimum raise, 1/1 response or overcall.
    I  = Intermediate 10-12 Or Invitational response to opener.
    O = Opener 13-15 Opening strength, game force by responder, TOX strength.
    P = Plus 15-17 Min. opening Plus about a King, strong 1NT opening, Precision 1C strength.
    S = Strong 18-19 Opener's jump-shifts, jump-2NT, reverses.
    V = Very Strong 20-24 Strong 2C or balanced 2NT.
    X = eXtreme 25+  

Disclosure of Suit Length:

    See the Editor docs for a lengthy explanation of this disclosure.

    Here are some codes used:

      F shows a fit for partner's suit.
      H shows a help suit for partner.
      S shows a short suit.
      C is a cue bid of an Ace or King.

Abbreviations for some sources:

    Aces - Bobby Wolff's newspaper column
    BD - Alan Truscott - Bidding Dictionary
    Becker - newspaper column
    Cohen - Larry Cohen's web site
    Bul - ACBL Bridge Bulletin
    BW - Bridge World
    MB - Marty Bergen - P-S (Points Schmoints)
    MH - Max Hardy (Bidding For The 21st Century)
    ML - Mike Lawrence (various books)