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Bridge with a Twist by Simon Cochemé

The Language of Bridge Revisited

Simon has travelled the world to bring you more bridge terminology from other countries

TO FINESSE in Germany is schneiden, to is called an eau de cologne; being a mere suit of winners, and Greek defenders like

cut, and a tenace is Gabel, a fork. So if you man, I had to look it up. On a similar to call out ‘January, February, March’ and

want to cut in German, you need a fork, theme, I am surprised that the English so on as they cash their defensive tricks.

not a knife! And they say that Germans don’t call a 1-0-6-6 hand a Hastings, and a They would all have enjoyed this deal:

don’t have a sense of humour. Russians 1-4-4-4 hand could be a Botticelli (1444

also use ‘cut’ and ‘fork’ for finesse and being the year of his birth).

tenace, so it seems the joke has travelled. The Irish sport of hurling uses the phrase E/W Game. Dealer South.

Cutting may be used by the Germans and ‘puck out’ for restarting the game and I am ´ K J 10 9 5 4

Russians for finessing, but the Japanese use reliably informed that Irish bridge players ™ 854

‘cut’ (kiru) for a ruff, as do the Sri Lankans, sometimes say ‘Puck out’ to their partner to t 10 8 7

with the Singhalese word cupanoa. This is tell them it is their lead. ‘Puck off?’ I asked ® 3

all getting a bit complicated, with different my source hopefully. ‘No,’ he told me ´ A76 ´ Q832

countries using the same words for dif- firmly. ‘It’s always puck out.’ ™ A K J 10 9 7 6 N ™ 2

ferent bridge terminology. In India, dum- In Poland the minors are known as t Void W



t 942

my is called a ‘donkey’ but in Sri Lanka, it is ‘young suits’, and the majors are ‘old suits’. ® J95 ® AKQ42

a jack that is known as a ‘donkey’. The The Thais call themselves ‘adults’ when they ´ Void

Greeks use ‘hook’ as a nickname for a jack, are vulnerable and ‘children’ when they are ™ Q3

because of the shape of the letter ‘J’, but non-vulnerable; somewhat different to the t AKQJ653

Americans use ‘hook’ for finesse. And definitions of the English Social Services. ® 10 8 7 6

finesse is where we came in. One of the Japanese team at the World

English bridge terminology has its own Championships told me that a singleton

contradictions. Why do we simply bid king is sometimes called a kingleton. Isn’t West North East South

game, but always have to bid ‘the’ slam? that great? Most Japanese bridge words are 1t

And in the slam zone, why do we say we nipponised versions of English words. So, 1™ 1´ Pass 3NT

have bid ‘the grand’, but never ‘the small’? for example, a hand is hando and the suits All Pass

Australians use the names of cities with are speido, hearto, daiamondo and kurabu.

appropriate post codes as slang for some of The idiosyncratic pronunciation in this West led the ace of hearts against 3NT and

the larger penalties. Thus 2000 is known as last example is heard again with toranpu took the first seven tricks with his heart-

a ‘Sydney’ and 2600 is a ‘Canberra’. I (trump) and barunerbaru (vulnerable), train (January to July), plus the ace of

wonder if Americans say ‘Indianapolis’ for often abbreviated to baru. As an aside, the spades (August). East had held on to all his

a penalty of 500? Russian bridge players Japanese word for a suit is sebiro, a phon- clubs so the defence then took their five-

measure the size of a penalty in ‘balloons’, etic representation of Savile Row, where trick club-train (September to December,

so 1100 is eleven ‘balloons’. the suits come from! Alas, this is not the then January again, I suppose). Three no-

The word ‘bridge’ is believed to have word used for a suit in bridge, that is su- trumps nine down!

come from biritch, Russian Whist. The tsu, which sounds more like a martial art. Is this a silly result? Not at all. Zia

traditional name for diamonds in Russia is I have always been honest with you about (South) was Mr Tambourine Man, playing

boobni, tambourines, and a Russian re- the words and phrases I have found. I with David Gold in the 2010 Lederer Invi-

double is called riepa, a turnip. would hate it if you went to a bridge club in tational tournament. They were delighted

If an Italian has misplayed a hand, he or a foreign land and, in good faith, used some to score minus 450 on this deal. East-West

she might say: ‘Ho giocato coi piedi,’ ‘I played phrase I had told you about, only to dis- are cold for 6® and 6™; indeed East can

it with my feet’. When the French admit to cover that you had insulted declarer’s make 7® and 7™ (only the spade ruff

misplaying a hand (a rare occurrence) they mother-in-law. So I admit I am unable to prevents West making the grand slam). If

have a similar saying: ‘J’ai joué comme un confirm that the Swedish for a deal that has East-West had tried to give Zia a speeding

pied’. been completely butchered in the bidding ticket, he would have retreated to 4t

A couple of people told me that in their and the play is known as a smörgåsbord. rather than concede a Newcastle (New

countries a hand with 4-7-1-1 distribution The Dutch use trein (train) for a long South Wales) penalty of 2300. r June 2012 English Bridge 17


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