By Joe Andrews, author of "The Complete Win At Spades"
Other columns by Joe Andrews:
Active Lead: A lead that emphasizes quickly setting up winners and taking tricks. Contrast with Passive Lead. Attitude: A partner's desire, or lack thereof, for his side to continue playing a suit. By means of signals, partner encourages or discourages the continuation of the suit. Avoidance: A play designed to keep a particular opponent off lead, often to prevent the lead of a suit through a Tenace position. Bath Coup: A holdup to prevent an opponent from continuing a suit. In the classic position, South holds ♠AJ2 and West leads ♠K from ♠KQ1098. By playing the 2 on West's K, South makes it impossible for West to continue spades without giving South a free Finesse. Blocked: A suit that cannot be run without an entry in another suit is blocked. If North holds ♦AK and South holds ♦QJ1098, South cannot cash all three diamond tricks without an entry in another suit. The diamonds are blocked. Captain (Captaincy): Some hands allow one player of a partnership more information earlier about the correct line of play. This player must take control as he will know how to steer the tempo. It is critical for the captain's partner to quickly follow his lead. Most hands do not have a captain as everyone is trying to find the correct line at the same time. But sometimes, a player will gain a quicker insight on a particular deal and needs to be the one to steer the ship. Cash: To take a trick with a card that is currently the highest in the suit, or to take all available winners in a suit. Clear: Knock out an opponent's high-card control of a suit, or Unblock one's own high cards. Control: A feature of a suit which prevents the opponents from taking immediate tricks. Aces are "first-round" controls and kings are termed "second-round" controls. Voids in combination with spades are also considered first-round controls and singletons second-round controls. Convention: Any of a variety of established systems or methods of bidding or playing that allows partners to convey certain information about their hands. Count Signal: A card play that shows whether the player has an even or odd number of cards in a suit. Crocodile Coup: A second hand play of a higher card than necessary to obtain the lead. The play is intended to prevent partner (North) from being forced into the lead to make a return favorable to West. Danger Hand: An opponent who, if he obtains the lead, can damage your prospects. Deep Finesse: A Finesse against 2 or more cards. Defense: The team that controls the least amount of time units available in a hand. Develop: To establish tricks in a suit, usually by forcing out the opponents' Stoppers. Discovery Play: A play intended to obtain information about the location of key cards. Doubleton: 2 card holding Drop: To fall under a higher card: "The ♠Q dropped under the ♠K." "He played for the drop instead of Finessing." Duplicate Spades: A tournament form of Spades in which identical deals are played in order to compare individual scores. Duplicate Values: Wasted values. For instance one partner has the ♠AQ and the other has the ♠Kx. If spades are led twice only two tricks will score. Echo: The play of first the higher, then the lower of two cards of the same suit on separate tricks to encourage or, by prior agreement, to discourage (see Attitude) partner's continuation of a suit; or to signal possession of an even number of cards. The opposite (low-high) normally signals discouragement or an odd number of cards (depending on the agreement). Elimination: The removal, by playing a suit or suits, of safe Exit cards from an opponent's hand, normally in preparation for an Endplay or to avoid bags. Endplay: To put a player on lead who is forced to give up a trick. En Passant: The lead of a side suit through an opponent who holds a higher trump so as to score a lower trump in partner's hand. Entry: A card that allows a partnership to enter into one hand after leading from the other. Exit: A card that is used to put a different hand on lead, normally to avoid making a self-destructive lead, to make an end play, or to avoid bags. Falsecard: A card played with the intention of deceiving an opponent as to one's true holding. Finesse: A technique that attempts to gain a trick or tricks by taking advantage of a favorable lie of the opponents' cards. The classic example is South's ♠AQ sitting over East's ♠KJ. Forcing Bid: A bid that, due to score, requires the opponents to make a higher bid than otherwise necessary. Forcing Defense: The lead and subsequent continuation of a suit that the opponents will have to ruff. The strategy is to shorten a long trump holding so as to leave your side in control of the hand. Hold-Up: To defer taking a winning card until an advantageous point in the hand, usually in reference to tricks that the opponents have led to. There are various purposes for holding up a winner, but it is frequently done to force the opponents to use their entries too soon. LHO: Left Hand Opponent Obligatory: A duck, made in the hope that a high card will fall. For example, South holds ♥K432 opposite North's ♥Q765. The ♥2 is led to the ♥Q, which wins. North now leads the ♥5 and RHO follows with the ♥10. South ducks, hoping that LHO must now play the ♥A. The play is obligatory because given the first heart trick, no other play can yield three tricks. Odd/Even Signal: A carding convention under which the play of an odd-numbered card is encouraging and that of an even-numbered card is discouraging. The rank of the card may be used to show suit preference. Offense: The team that controls the majority of time units available in a hand. Passive Lead: A lead that emphasizes waiting for tricks that the opposition must eventually lose, getting off lead safely, and avoiding plays that will set up tricks for the opposition. Promote: In the play, to cause a card to advance in status to a winner. RHO: Right Hand Opponent Ruff: Cut, trump Singelton: 1 card holding Smother Play: An Endplay that captures an opponent's finessable card when that card cannot be finessed in the normal fashion. Stopper: A high card (normally, an honor) whose primary function is to prevent the opponents from running a suit. Squeeze: A technical play in which a player is forced to give up a trick regardless of which card he discards. Tenace: A broken sequence (i.e. AQ, KJ, Q10, J9) Tempo: The number of tricks needed to execute a line of play. Early in the play, the way in which a player uses a tempo in his choice of lead often determines the outcome of the deal. Unblock: To play a card whose rank interferes with the use of cards in the opposite hand. Underlead: To lead a low card when holding the top card or cards in a suit. Uppercut: To ruff in the expectation of being overruffed, when the overruff will cause a trump in partner's hand to become a winner. Void: Empty suit