Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Games A combination of two high cards of the same suit separated by two degrees, such as the king and jack of hearts, especially in a bridge or whist hand.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An interrupted sequence of high cards of the same suit, such as the king and jack or the ace and queen.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The holding by the fourth hand of the best and third best cards of a suit led; also, sometimes, the combination of best with third best card of a suit in any hand.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In whist. the best and third best cards, or the second and fourth best cards, in play, of a suit: known in the former case as a major tenace, in the latter as a minor tenace.

Etymologies

French, from Spanish tenaza, tongs, tenace, from tenaces, pl. of tenaz, tenacious, from Latin tenāx, tenāc-; see tenacious.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • If declarer believed that Sementa had chosen the unorthodox lead of a low card from a doubleton, he could now have made the contract easily because he had a tenace in diamonds – the eight would force West to cover with the nine, and declarer's six would beat West's three.

    Two unorthodox leads

  • If the Professor switches to a club at once, without cashing his last spade, declarer wins in dummy and throws West in with the last heart, compelling him to lead another club into the tenace on the table.

    VICTOR MOLLO’S BRIDGE CLUB

  • A lead from a tenace or a guarded king or queen is to be avoided.

    Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 4, Part 3 "Brescia" to "Bulgaria"

  • But with ace and knave, if dummy has either king or queen, the knave should usually be played, partly because the other high card may be in the leader's hand, partly because, if the finesse fails, the player may still hold a tenace over dummy.

    Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 4, Part 3 "Brescia" to "Bulgaria"

  • With this holding the King is manifestly most advantageous, as if the Declarer hold Ace, Knave, it will either force the Ace and hold the tenace over the Knave or win the trick.

    Auction of To-day

  • If two high cards be missing from the tenace suit, as in the case when it is headed by Ace, Queen, Ten, or King, Knave, Ten, and the

    Auction of To-day

  • This, while not nearly so desirable an opening as a singleton, is better than leading from a tenace.

    Auction of To-day

  • Therefore, as a general proposition, unless the partner have declared, the tenace suit should be led.

    Auction of To-day

  • He should avoid opening a tenace suit, regardless of its length.

    Auction of To-day

  • In this situation, with a tenace in the long suit, it is sometimes advisable to try, by leading another suit, to get the partner in, so that he may lead through the Declarer's strength in the suit called by the leader.

    Auction of To-day

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