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Beginners Guide to signaling and Giving Count

#1 User is offline   Laird 

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Posted 2003-June-11, 04:38

Hello Everyone

I know Luis has started a topic on signalling in tha advance section but could someone please do something similar here, but at a basic level.
Using a hand to show how such signalling could be helpful...or otherwise...
attitude, count, suit preference etc.

What happened to Revolving Lavinthal discards? What is the advantage/disadvantage of using them?

Fred's learn to play bridge 2 program gives some very useful information regarding signalling.

regards
John
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Posted 2003-June-12, 18:09

Hi, giving your partner legal signals by the cards you play is an important part of the defense.

So let's start with the very first opportunity you have to signal, trick one. As opening leader, you have several ways you can give your partner a clue to your holding....

Honor leads is one way. You have to agree with your partner what an honor lead means. IF you lead the King to due you promise the ACE or deny it? If you lead the Jack will you have higher cards or does it deny it? You will frequenty see or hear people say... "A from AK, J denies". What this means is they will lead the A when they have AK, and if they lead the JACK, they deny having the AK o rQ.

Sadly, we often lack a suitable honor sequence when on defense, so we will have to lead something else. There are a number of useful (and not so useful) agreements. Many, many people lead either "fourth best" or "top of nothing". What this means is they will lead the fourth highest card when they have some useful card in the suit or they will lead their highest spot card when they lack honors in the suit they lead.

Each of these convey information to parnter (AND DECLEARER). If you lead top of nothing, your partner can work out what high cards declarer has in the suit... but declerer can do the same with partner's hand. Fourth best provides lots of information through use of rule of 11 and starts partner off on the right road to counting out the hand. I personally am not fond of top of nothing, but that is just me. Also, top of nothing could be confused for a doubleton (less likely to be confusing if you have 4 or more than if you have 3 card suit).

Other choice for leads are a mixture of 3rd/5th best or 2nd/4th best, as well as "attitude" leads, where the lower the card lead, the more the leader "likes the suit." I recommend at first, beginners stick with 4th best and learn the rule of 11. Later, when you are ready, you can switch to the other methods.

Ok, we have discussed the opening lead, what about as 3rd hand to the first trick? Of course if you have to try to win the trick, you do so. But what if partner leads a high honor or dummy plays a high honor, what choices are there for you?

The three most popular choices are to give either a "count signal", an "attitude signal", or a "suit preference signal." Generally, you need to agree with your partner the prefernce for such signals. Note a signal can not serve all three purposes. The spot card you play has to be one or the other of these three. In other words, if you first choice is attitude, playing a low card to discourage in this suit can not also mean switch to specific different suit, or that you have an "odd" number of cards in this suit. Discuss with your partner the preference for signals at trick one... Attitude-count-suit preference seems like a good order to me, but I play with partners who have a different preference, and that is ok too.

So to review... first trick signals...What does our opening leads show (honors? spot cards?), and what is our preference of spot cards as third hand ("attitude? suit preference? count?). I will tell you something that you will hear many, many times.... having an agreement (even perhaps an inferior agreement) is better than no agreement at all. Decide what you like here, and get your partner to agree to it.

Next post... unusual signals at trick and what they mean, and when if you normall give "attitude" at trick one, the signal might be one of the other two.

Ben
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Posted 2003-June-12, 21:37

Ok.. you have now decided on your spot card and honor sequence leads. And you have decided your own priorities for signals to partner's opening lead (read reply #2 if you haven't).

Before we leave trick one, let's look at a few other signals available to you at trick one. Assume you have agreed to lead Ace from AK. Think about what it means if you reverse this normal theme and lead the KING (partner will not know you have the ACE yet), but then you lead the ACE to trick 2. You did something odd here, since your agreement was to lead ACE first from this holding. When you do something unusual like this, it is suppose to convey a SPECIAL meaning... that is take Ace then King, you are just grabbing tricks. Reverse the order (unusual sequence), you are trying to tell partner something is unusual about your hand. Perhaps it is that you have a doubleton in this suit... so that partner knows if he gets in he can give you a ruff. Perhpas, if this is a suit you have bid naturally, it maybe that you have a surprize void elsewhere. But KEEP THIS IN MIND, when you play your cards in a non-standard sequence, your partner will think you are tying to convey something unusual to him.

A perfect example of this is if you open 3H and your opponents get to 6SPADES. And you lead teh 2 of hearts (playing 4th best). Can the heart 2 be fourth best after you preempt at the 3 level? Of course not. This is an unusual lead (that is not 4th best), and partner will be able to read it. This lead suggest you have a void in one of the minors and if partner can win the heart or an early trump, he should try to guess in which suit and give you a minor suit ruff.

Another trick one signal, is if you lead the ACE and partner plays the QUEEN, he promising the JACK, and it is safe to underlead the KING if you want to get to his hand.

Next time... when to signal attitide, suit preference or count at trick one no matter what your "priorities" are.

Ben
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Posted 2003-June-14, 09:25

QUESTION? When is the 3rd hands spot card not your agreed preference (attitude, count, or suit preference)?

If you agree that your signal to trick one will ALWAYS be attitude or count or suit preference, you can skip this reply. However, I am assuming you have agreed to a sequence of preferences for these signals. My personal preferences are Attitude-Count-Suit Preference, so for this discussion that is what I assume yours to be. If it is different, the same type of rules will apply.

The first priority of a signal (my way) is attitude. So if I play the right card (either hi or lo), I convey the information that I like the lead. Generally this means that I have a supporting honor. If partner leads the ACE (playing ACE from AK) against a suit contract, this could mean I can ruff the third round.

QUESTION: Does the presences of a singleton in dummy at a suit contract when dummy has several trumps mean that attitude is off, and therefore attitude makes no sense, and thus my signal has switched down to one of the other two?

The answer is a resounding MAYBE. It would be so much easier on all of us, if dummy has a singleton (or even a void), that our spot cards meant something other than attitude... after all, the next round will be ruffed anyway. But sometimes as 3rd hand that is EXACTLY what you want. Perhaps by forcing dummy to ruff, you can remove a critical late entry to dummy. Perhaps by forcing dummy to ruff, you will be able to establish a critical trump promotion in your hand. The only way to convey this NEED to force dummy to ruff is if you signal meant "please continue this suit".

At other times when dummy is short in the suit lead, the dummy will have plenty of late entries and the trump spots clearly indicate that no trump promotion is going to be possible. It is in these situations, where the "attitude" clearly no longer makes bridge sense. So, what kind of signal does your 3rd hand play mean? If you preference is for "attitude-count-suitpreference" you might think it would drop to count. But that would be wrong. Your partner is going to switch to something now, it is best if you give him some help. So here your card should be suit preference. When declearer leads partner's original suit (and he will) and ruffs it in dummy, THEN you give your partner a COUNT signal in that suit.

Queston? What if dummy comes down with a stong holding in the suit partner started? What does my card mean?

Sometimes it will become obvious that you can not REALLY desire partner to continue a specific suit. Say against a 3NT contract, and dummy hits with KQT9 of a suit partner lead the small and dummy played small. Here you can give count or suit preference, which ever you and your partner think is most important. I give count now, because partner will not be on the lead at the end of this trick.

What if they bid 6Hearts and partner leads the spade ace of king and dummy hits with SPADE-QJx ? Well, attitude is not important here. What partner needs to know is if he can cash a second high spade or if he has to switch. The way you tell him that is tell him how many "spades" you have with a count signal. Then he adds his, to yours to dummy's and he knows whether or not a second high spade will win.

Notice I didn't discuss what kind of count or attitude or suit preference signal you give. There are a variety of kinds... "standard" , "UDCA", "odd/even" lavinthal, reverse lavinthal, etc. Some of these can actually serve two purposes.. for instance, playing odd/even signals, an "odd" spot card (3,5,7,9) is encouraging attitude, while and "even" spot card is discouraging, and the height of the card is related to suit preference. I do not favor this odd/even for beginners. If for no other reason than the incredible huddle when they lack an odd card to encourage with or when they lack an even card to show suit preference and discourage (or only have one even card that is either high when they need a low, or vise versa)...after a long huddle, they eventually play a spot card. Somehow, when the card is played fast, their partner always interpets and follow its meaning with deadly accuracy, when played slow, their partners become geniuses and work out that perhaps this is a good time to ignore partner's signal. No one meant to convey unauthorized information, it just sort of happens.

Anyway, next time, we shall discuss the various methods for signalling, including options of "present or original count", "Smith Echo", "obvious shift principle" and the types of signals listed in the above post.

Ben
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Posted 2003-June-14, 10:00

As a short addendum to Ben's post...

Remember, bridge is a partnership game, ;D.
Communication in the bidding is important; communication in defence can be vital.

Especially on the opening lead, partner did not have the information avalable that you do! In the light of that, consider what your partner needs/wants to know.
Like most things in bridge, there is no quick-fix. However, experience guides your judgement as to what partner needs/wants to know; and when you should keep your own council.
"I know that there is only one power worth having. That is the power, not to take, but to accept; not to have, but to give."
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Posted 2003-June-14, 11:02

Dragon's say in 20 words, what it takes me a books to express.... :)

Now on to choices of signals.
------------------------------------------------------------------
Attitude signals


"Standard" - parnter leads a suit, a "hi" spot card encourages in this suit, a "low" spot card discourages. This is sometimes call a hi-lo signal or for some reason a peter. If you pay in the US, this is the "standard" signal. So if you are an american beginner, and are going to be playing in the real world with real people, I suggest you adopt this signal.

UDCA - partner leads a suit, playing UDCA (which stands for upside down count and attitude), a now a "low" card encourages while a high card "discourages". This is called "upside down" because the meaning of a high and lo card is reversed from their normal meaning in standard. This signal is much more popular in the rest of the world than in the US, and IMHO is superior. If you play with real people outside the US, a suggest you adopt this signal. And if you are in the US but play mostly on line, I also suggest you adopt this signal... this is what I play.

odd/even signalsThis is an extension of Roman discards (more on that in signalling to tricks other than trick one later). This is where an odd card is encouraging and an even card is not only discouraging, but also convey's suit preference. It takes a highly ethical beginner to play these signals because all too frequently you will not have an odd or an even spot card when you need one. And this leads to huddles that have the potential to convey unauthorized information. I recommend that you either not play these signals, or force yourself to play in tempo when you lack the type of card you need.

------------------------------------------------------------------
Count signals


"Standard" - This is used anytime a suit is lead and it is appropriate to give "count" A "hi" spot card shows an even number of cards in the suit, a "low" shows an odd number. Again you pay in the US, this is the "standard" signal. So if you are an american beginner, and are going to be playing in the real world with real people, I suggest you adopt this signal.

UDCA - This again stands for upside down count and attitude. Now a "low" shows an even number of cards while a high card shows an odd number . This is "upside down" because the meaning of a high and lo card is reversed from their normal meaning in standard. Again, this is what I play.

Often you will have played a card to the first trick that was an attempt to win the trick, or maybe was a required suit preference or attitude signal. When you next play a spot card in that suit, you should give your partner the count. There are two ways to do this.....

Remaining Count - where you signal the number of cards in this suit you have "remaining". Thus with K852 after playing the king on the first round when partner leads the suit, you would signal "3 cards" when giving count, becasue you have 852 left. This is my choice, or....

Original Count - where you signal the number of cards in this that you were originally dealt. Thus with K852 after playing the king on the first round when partner leads the suit, you would signal "4 cards" when giving count, becasue you started with four cards in the suit.

------------------------------------------------------------------
Suit Preference Signals


Important suit preference signals are when discarding, so we will cover those first, and then apply those principles to a trick one (or other time) suit preference signal).

Standard discards - a discard of a high card in a suit shows values in suit, a low card discourages him from that suit.

Upside down discards - a discard of a low card in a suit encourages partner to lead that suit, a high card discourages.

This above two discards convey no information about what other suit the discarder maybe interested in if he discourages with his discard. Enter the "typical" suit preference discards....

Lavinthal discards - discourage in the suit discarded, and the height of the card discarded shows which of the other two suits you are interested in. A big card says the higher of the other two suits (not hte suit discarded, no the suit on which the discard was made... there are only two other suits), and a low card says the lower of the other two. Some people play "reverse lavinthal".. I see no difference between the two.

Roman Discards - an example of the odd/even signaling. However, this is much less problematic, as you have several suit in which to find the right odd or even card. A discard of an odd card encourages partner to lead the suit discarded. A discard of an even card ask for one of the other two suits, and height of the even card conveys suit preference attitude (eihter normal or upside down). I have never seen unauthorized information passed playing Roman Discards, so I find these much less objectionable than o/e signals to trick one.

Now that you see how suit preference signals work as discards, you can apply the same principles to trick one where a suit preference signal is needed. Just use lavinthal (standard or upside down).

You have many opporunties to apply these principles during the play of the hand. After giving count, your second spot card might be useful as a signal, assuming you have at least two such cards, to convey which of hte other "obvious" suits you hold some value. When returning a suit, for your partner to ruff, the size of hte card you lead can provide information about which side suit he can use to enter your hand so he can get a second ruff.

This post is longer than I thought, so we will chat about, smith echo, foster echo, and obvious shift principle in the next post.

Ben
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Posted 2003-June-14, 13:49

Revolving discards

More confusing than Lavinthal...

However, the contract is 3NT, Diamonds are led & you wish a Spade from P; how do you signal with a discard?

Playing Lavinthal a high Heart or a high Club; playing Revolving? A high Heart or a low Club! You wish a Heart? A low Spade or a high Club, etc.

They are also played the other way round... Partnership agreement, which opps should be informed of.

The difference is... Can I afford a high card signal?
Revolving is an attempt to avoid that probem, ;D.
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#8 User is offline   Laird 

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Posted 2003-June-14, 16:40

Hello All

I hope you are finding these posts as interesting as I do....
One small point.. Cave_Draco when discussing 'Revolving Lavinthal' discards states that when asking for a 'Heart' then a small Spade or high Heart should be played ( should be a high Diamond I believe).....

Is there any reason that revolving lavinthal didnt seem to catch on. To my mind it seems so logical and offers some flexibility if you cannot afford to play a high card for instance?
Thank you for your contributions and I look forward to the next episode.

Kind regards

John :)
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Posted 2003-June-14, 17:27

Still talking about first trick signals. Here are some more signals for the first lead, or at least RELATED to the first trick.

Obvious Shift Principle - A very simple idea that combines attitude signal with a kind of suit preference signal. As 3rd hand, you look at two suits... the one lead, and the "obvious shift suit" (the suit partner is sure to lead if he doesn't continue. If you want partner to continue the original suit, you encourage in that suit. If you have a tolerance for the obvious switch suit, you discourage the original suit. Read more about this at: http://www.bridgeguys.com/OGlossary/Obviou...tPrinciple.html or at
http://www.ny-bridge...bt/switch3.html

Smith Echo - is a signal related to the first suit played on defence to a NT contract (if attitude could not be given on trick one). 3rd hand plays low on the next suit lead by the declarer denies liking the original suit, a high spot encourages the continutation of the original suit. Some player play reverse smith echo (reversing the meaning of the carding). And some partnerships even allow the original leader to play similar signals, where he shows rather or not HE is interested in his partner continuing the suit.... but such carding by opening leader are not normal part of this convention.

Foster Echo - another signal played against Notrump contracts. 3rd hand uses this signal as part of an unblocking manouever. Basically 3rd hand plays his second highest card to suit lead. Then, if he had 4 card suit, his his third highest next, with a three card suit the second highest is discarded first followed by the highest.

I am not fond of the Foster Echo at all, and I can take or leave smith echo. The obvious shift principle is very good if you and your partner can handle it and mutually agree what the obvious shift suit is.

Next time. Putting together your partnership signalling agreements.

Ben
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Posted 2003-June-15, 06:56

Quote

Hello All

I hope you are finding these posts as interesting as I do....
One small point.. Cave_Draco when discussing 'Revolving Lavinthal' discards states that when asking for a 'Heart' then a small Spade or high Heart should be played ( should be a high Diamond I believe).....

Is there any reason that revolving lavinthal didnt seem to catch on. To my mind it seems so logical and offers some flexibility if you cannot afford to play a high card for instance?
Thank you for your contributions and I look forward to the next episode.

Kind regards

John B)


Sorry about the error, corrected it now, ;D.
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Posted 2003-June-15, 08:29

Quote

Is there any reason that revolving lavinthal didnt seem to catch on.


Hi John,

Glad you are enjoying the post... but then, after all, it was your idea. In response to your question, I suspect there is two answers. First, Lavinthal came first, and became well established so more people play it. Second, Lavinthal requires a little (but a very little) less thought to decipher. Third, when using suit preference when returning a suit for partner to ruff or when signalling in a suit to which you are following suit, such "revolving" signals are not available, so you have to revert to "standard" lavinthal (or reverse)...so by not playing revolving, you use the same signalling scheme all the time.

BTW, there are two generally accepted forms of revolving discards, just as there are two versions of "lavinthal" (normal and reverse). The two variations are:
1) a lo card shows suit below the discarded suit
and a hi card the one above;

And the upside down version....

2) a low card requests the lower of the other two suits;
a high card requests the higher.

Like any other signalling method, you simply need to agree with partner and then USE THEM wisely.
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Posted 2003-June-15, 08:51

Ok.. now that a large number of signalling options have been discussed (but by no means all of them!!!), it is time to come up with a strategy for picking the ones you want to play.

This takes just a few seconds on-line to agree to....You can post them on your profile, or fill out a convention card with them on it (THE BBO convention card has a whole section on carding). You can post this CC and ask partner if it ok (including carding).. and let him look at it. This also makes bidding agreements EASY!!! People should start doing this IMHO.

Under carding.."signal" options include.. "natural" (that is the standard signals discussed earlier, "ud attitude only", "ud count only", ud att&cnt" which is upside down signals discussed earlier, and odd/even.

There is a box for the priority of the signals, A-C-SP means attitude, count then suit preference, that is the default option. Other sequence optons are A-SP-C, C-A-SP, C-SP-A, SP-A-C, SP-C-A

The carding options are there too... 4th best, 3/5th, best, attitude leads, and "other".. if you play 2/4th best, choose other and type 2/4 in the box under signals. There is also a box for honor card leads, and specificaly what you lead from AK.

Next decide the meaning of your discards... Lavinthal? Reverse Lavinthal? Standard? UD-Discards? Odd/Even discards? Revolving Lavinthal (or reverse revolving)?

Next decide if you are going to play any unique signals like smith echo, foster echo, or obvious shift principle.

Then finally, and importantly, decide if you signal "remaining count, or "original count".

For beginners, I think, a simple agreement approach is best: 4th best leads, A from AK, either standard or UDCA, remaining count, A-C-SP priority, and plain lavinthal discards and Suit preference signals are best... but any agreement is better than no agreement.

Next time, how to put these signals into useful action.

Ben

For what it is worth, my personal preferences are....
Attitude-Count-Suit preference
UDCA,
remaing count,
Reverse revolving lavinthal,
obvious shift principle,
2/4 leads,
coded J and T leads,
A from AK,
King ask for "count".
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Posted 2003-June-16, 06:53

Now that you have your agreements firmly in place, it is now time to see how these signals can be help to you. Here is one that my partner faced in the BBO in the middle of last week.

IMPs
All Vul

Quote

Dummy
S-AKJ32
H-97
D-AQ642            You
C-9                    S-T986
                        H-QJ852
                        D-K7
                        C-AKined



Bidding...
You LHO Pard RHO
1H Pass Pass 1S
Pass 1NT DBL 2D
Pass 3C Pass 3D
Pass 3NT Pass Pass
DBL RDBL ALL Pass

Your partner disappoints you by leading the SPADE-QUEEN right into dummy's AKJ-fifth suit...the ACE wins. Now is the time to think about the distribution, and what cards partner has from the bidding and from his "signals".

Partner will not be getting in too many times, so giving him count or attitude is not so critical. You might decide to play a low SPADE no matter what your carding.

Dummy then plays the diamond 2, You jump up with the Diamond King, LHO plays the 5 and partner the 3 if playing UDCA and the T if playing standard.

Time to really think as a LOT of imps are on the line here. Why did partner, who couldn't keep the bidding open over 1H dbl 1NT? How many spades can we infer partner has? What was the diamond signal?

These are all logical. Partner's dbl was an attempt to get you to bid a minor, he must have both minors...you knew this when you doubled 3NT. Partner will not have 3H's or when he decided to compete to the 2 level he would have bid 2H's rather than try to get you to bid a minor. The diamond signal shows a four card suit. By inference, he must have a four or more likely five card club suit (given he didn't just bid 2C over 1NT with six). West is unlikely to have 3 Spades and never support East, and with three Spades, and partner would not have lead the unsupported SPADE-Queen. So because of the Diamond signal, the distributions are double dummy. Partner is 2-2-4-5 and declarer is 2-4-2-5... all this from the combination of a) a bidding clue, B) a clue from the opening lead, and c) one count signal in Diamonds.

Armed with this information, plan your defense... A WHOLE LOT OF IMPS are at stake.....

After counting distribution, your next task, which is much easier, is to count tricks. Does partner have Heart A or K? No with heart honor and spade Queen, he would have bid. So give 2 heart tricks to west. You can see 3 Spade tricks and 4 diamond tricks, AQJ (for if partner could afford the TEN, if he had the JACK, he could afford the JACK) and the long diamond. That is 9 tricks for the taking for declarer... EXCEPT.... ta da... your partner's SPADE lead now looks BRILLIANT. A spade back by you cuts their transportation. Instead of 4 diamond tricks he can only enjoy two. That drops him from 9 to 7 tricks. He can establish a long spade by giving one to you, but that will still be one trick too little if partner holds SOMETHING for his DBL in the form of the club QUEEN, and surely with S-Qx and DTxxx, he must hold a club honor.

So a spade return will beat the contract, the full hands are:


Quote

          Dummy
          S-AKJ32
          H-97
          D-AQ642    You
S-Q4    C-9          S-T986
H-T3                H-QJ852
D-T983              D-K7
C-QT832              C-AK
          S-75
          H-AK64
          D-J5
          C-J7654



Now I will not say that this was an easy defense to find at the table, but clearly without counting the hand, the defense has no chance to go right here. Notice too, that one signal in one suit by partner (in Diamonds) can help you determine the entire hand and play it double dummy at trick two. Using the signal and beating 3NTXX one is worth 400 points, letting them make is -1000 points. The imp swing would be win 11 imps for beating it one, lose 14 imps for allowing it to make. More use of signals to come....

Ben
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Posted 2003-June-16, 07:35

I will place in you in partner's seat. We have agreed UDCA (both COUNT and ATTITUDE) here you will use both... Opening lead a trump two on the following hand

Quote

Dummy
S-AQ9
H-AQJ86
D-AK2
C-96                You
                        S-T
                        H-T732
                        D-9854
                        C-AK74



Bidding....
Sou Pard Nor You
1C* Pass 1S Pass
2D* Pass 2NT Pass
4NT Pass 5S All Pass

1C = polish club, forcing, may not have clubs
2D = artifical game force
2NT = "balanced"

The Ace wins in dummy, and the S-9 to the jack. Partner follows suit. The heart 9 to five Jack, and the heart ACE, partner drops the king and all follow.

Declearer cashes the dummy's last spade, and then goes into a small huddle (on these spades, my partner didn't think a lot about his discards, throwing away two small clubs) Finally he leads a low club. You win the ACE as declarer plays CLUB-2 and partner CLUB-3.

Time for your think, if you haven't done so already. Parnter and opponent both had 2 hearts (partner signal 2, but of course, you have full count anyway... you had 4, dummy 5, and both followed suit twice...hearts are 5422 around table).

Partner has given an "even" count in clubs (UDCA). Clearly Declarer doesn't have 7S, and if he had 6S, why didn't he just go ahead and claim 12 tricks... 6S, 2D, 4H (after ruffing one, to set the little one up). Thus, partner still has a trump left, and Declarer has two including the KING. Thus you have a full count on south's hand as "5-2-3-3" from the bidding and the play (again, partner's signal in CLUBS along with both following twice in hearts gives the entire hand away. If partner had 2 clubs, south would have singleton diamond, if partner had 6 clubs, south would have singleton Club. Neither consistent with the 2NT rebid.

You cash the second club, and partner does something ususual. He throws the CLUB QUEEN under the CLUB KING. Whats up with that? Maybe he wants antother club, but you have thrown your two little ones away...but he knows there is only one club out (he saw everyone follow twice, and he saw you pitch two). This club QUEEN therefore has to be some unusual signal.

Partner must know I am going to have to switch or declarer is out of clubs. It was mearly suit preference. He wants me to switch to the higher of the other two suits. Could he really want me to lead away from my HEART=T7 right into dummy's Tenace of Heart Q8? Yes, that has to be it. Why didn't declarer ruff a heart, pull partner's trump, and enjoy the two good hearts in dummy? Because partner's spade must be the eight. If he had lead a heart, it would have given partner a trump promotion. You can lead a heart yourself to the same effect. You probably would have worked out the heart lead anyway, but your partner who could see the defense clearly, gives you a nice boost with a dramatic suit preference signal on the second round of clubs. It takes a heart lead from you now to beat it. The undisclosed hands were....

South S-KJ654 H-94 D-JT3 C-J52

Pard S-8732 H-K5 D-Q76 C-QT83

A club lead would have been easier on the defense. But then, the opponents bidding didn't disclose much to make an intellegent lead. Letting it make 5 is a matchpoint disaster for you, beating it one is a disaster for them.

Ben

PS. I can post more application of these signals if there is any interest
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Posted 2003-June-16, 15:50

[glow=red,2,300]OFCOURSE !! there is INTEREST[/glow]
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Posted 2003-June-16, 15:53

Ok then. Another long one.

This time, a different (and much more risky) type of suit preference signaling. I hesitate to introduce this because you can over-interpret your partner's spot card play if you believe he is trying to signal with every card he plays… sometimes, he will just have to play a card because it his your turn to play. :-)

Quote

IMPs
                      Dummy
                      S-KQT43
                      H-5
                      D-KJ92
                      C-Q42                    You
                                                      S-AJ7
                                                      H-A984
                                                      D-63
                                                      C-A985



Bidding
South Pard North You
Pass Pass 1S Pass
2H Pass 2S Pass
2NT ALL Pass

Opening Lead D-5 (4th best leads vs NT)

Dummy plays the JACK, which wins, south plays the 4. Next Heart-5 to 4-King-3 (standard signals). Come up with tentative distributions for South consistent with bidding and play so far (two tricks).

From the fall of the cards at trick one, partner appears to have lead from a 4 card diamond suit (although 3 is not impossible). While it is possible south could have 6 hearts on this auction, partner played a low heart, showing odd number. We doubt south has 7 hearts, so south must have 5 hearts. So far, South thus appears to be 5-3 in the red suits. Surely he should not have 3 Spades, so south's hand pattern is either 1-5-3-4, 2-5-3-3, or occasionally you will catch a south who can't stand to rebid 3C with 0-5-3-5. Clearly it is best to assume 2-5-3-3 or 1-5-3-4.

Declarer continues with the Heart Queen and partner plays the 6 and dummy discards a small spade, you duck. No real info there from partner's second heart: maybe partner had J63 and had to play low. South continues with the JACK of hearts, partner plays the heart 7. Dummy throws 2 spades. Now partner could have played the hearts in either order (the 7 and 6), so in fact while books call touching cards like these "equals" (as in "split equals"), they are really not equals: one is larger than the other!! You can use this to convey information in some situations. Here, both you and your partner can see a that spade back BY YOU can't be right, and partner knows you have the SPADE ACE (declearer has thrown 2 SPADES). With nothing in clubs, partner would have played his high spot to "encourage" a diamond lead, no matter how bad it looks with those Diamonds in dummy. So by playing the 6 then the 7 your partner might have been suggesting a useful club card (must be the king if true).

What about South? He passed as dealer, and has shown up with KQJTx of hearts, nothing in spades (you see the AKQJ). If partner has the club King, then at most club JACK. Clearly must have one of the missing diamond honors, but not both. Why? Because with D-AQ and those hearts he would have opened. South also can not have both the Diamond-A and Club-King for same reason… he didn't open..

So while it is risky to draw too much inference from the your partner's play of a second and third spot card as suit preference (partner has to play the 7 or the 6), here the situation is ripe for him to try to help you out. Without a club honor, he would clearly signal for a "diamond" lead by playing low then higher in hearts, and then let you work the hand out. Also, you have to be aware that we all get lazy sometimes, so don't rely on these spots cards as the sole solution to your defenses problems. But if your partner thinks about them, he can sometimes provide an important and necessary clue (like the Club Queen discard on the reply before this one).

Time to count their tricks. Assume South has a Diamond entry, he has 4H, 3D and 1S, that is enough for his game (and surely he has C-Jxx or C-Jxxx). So you have to either play south for no diamond entry, or a blockage in diamonds so that he either enjoys his 3rd diamond or his 4th heart but not both. In other words, you need to scramble to your 6 tricks before he claws his way to 8. But if the diamond entry is the Diamond ACE, then he still can always score 8 tricks - 1S, 4H, and 3D. So you are now down to double dummy defense again. Partner must have the Diamond ACE, the club King, and four spades so that south's hand is 1-5-3-4. There is no need to play your partner for the club-TEN. You have won your HEART, and you can win 2C, 1D, and 2S more, all you need is for your partner to shift to a spade when he gets in.

Which minor do you lead first? I lead a club… partner maybe thinking too, and may decide you have club AJ if you lead a low club to him. A final note, did you remember to try and make it easy for him by playing the heart 9 on the second round of hearts? You can use these signals too!. There is a good chance he may not be able to read your 9, but it certainly doesn't hurt you to try… your 98 are really not "Equals" either!!!. So while partner will not read too much into your spot card play just as you don't read too much in his… here is a case where you both can signal in hearts (their suit) to help you with the thought process to find the killing line of defense. Your partner will know that you have ace and another, the nine shows something useful in the higher suit, but with declarers bidding and his spade discards, partner will work it out anyway. Led a minor *A DIAMOND IS BEST*, for partner to fire a spade through dummy.. Eventually, you will get to lead a club for a second spade lead from partner.

It is also important to note, the right DEFENSE can be found without either of you using these spot card signals in declarer's suit. This is almost always the case, the best that can be said for them is that it helps with the cognitive process. There are hands, however, when partner will get in, and must make the killing switch right then. It is best to use these spot cards for suit preference then, straight away.

IF you use this kind of spot card signals to show where you might have a little defensive strength, then you need to be sure to tell your opponent that you play frequent Lavinthal signals (not just discards or "returns" for a ruff), they have a right to know what your signals are so they can try to decipher them along with your partner. Also note, even playing these, COUNT generally comes first (yes, when shift is urgently needed and both partners know it, you can use lavinthal on the first play in the suit). And if you play with a partner is expecting you to be helpful on defense with such signals, you have to choose your spot cards very wisely (ie, non randomly). There are also all kinds of reasons why you will not use the signal… a) you can't afford a high spot card, B) you know your partner has no role to play in the defense, c) declarer has been believing every signal you use -- so it is time to cross him up, etc.

Ben
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Posted 2003-June-18, 08:21

I have covered a fair number of trick one signals (or signals related to the trick one suit, like Smith Echo). It is now time to introduce the "trump signal"

Standard Trump signal This is a signal you make in their trump suit. The standard "trump signal" is when playing trumps, if you play an intermediate spot card followed by a lower spot card you imply that you hold a third trump.

The trump signal is one that can help declarer more than your side if used all the time. So I recommend that a) you pick your spots to use it, and :) you sometimes false card, pretending to have a third trump when you don't. In general, I give the trump signal when I have hope of ruffing a side suit, say I just ruffed, and I think partner has an entry.

Another use for the trump signal is Vinje Trump Signal This is a killer signal that sadly is considered illegal in many places. Here the play of spot cards in their trump suit signals "hand patterns". That is, if you play High-lo in trumps, you show a hand pattern that has one even legnth suit and three odd length suits (6-3-3-1, 4-3-3-3, 5-4-3-1, etc). While if you play lo-high, you show three even suits, and one odd (4-4-4-1, 5-4-2-2, 6-4-2-1, 5-4-4-0, etc). Generally after the opening lead, and this Vinje trump suit signal, the distribution is double dummy to the defense.

Anyone know of other useful trump signals besides as suit preference?

Ben
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#18 User is offline   EarlPurple 

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Posted 2004-June-30, 08:19

These lists are useful, though I think the hands you displayed are not the simplest examples. (This is intended for beginners).

Also, I would encourage beginners (as well as any other players) not to go into "signal-mania". Not every card has to be a signal. If I follow 3-6-7 instead of 3-7-6 I am not necessarily signalling anything. I may vary the order so as not to help declarer, particularly with a higher sequence like JTx.

Here I will give a simple example of why lavinthal-style discards are a good thing.

You're defending 3NT after the auction 1NT pass 3NT, and you lead the SJ.

 [space] [space] [space] [space] [space] [space] [sp] Axx
 [space] [space] [space] [space] [space] [space] [he] Qxx
 [space] [space] [space] [space] [space] [space] [di] QJxxx
 [space] [space] [space] [space] [space] [space] [cl] Jx

[sp] J9xx
[he] xxx
[di] Axx
[cl] xxx



You try a spade lead, which goes to your partner's queen and declarer's king, and declarer starts playing diamonds (king from hand first). You hold up, not because you can block off dummy, but because you want to get a signal from partner.

Second round your partner shows out - so his first diamond can't be a signal!.

Partner's discard should here tell you what to lead. You may need to cash out fast. Maybe he has AKQx(x) in clubs or AKQx(x) in hearts. Or perhaps he has stoppers in both hearts and clubs and wants spades continued, so you can set up tricks.

(Some examples)

Partner's (whole) hand is: Qxxx Axx x Axxxx

You must continue spades and your side will get 2 spades and 3 other aces. But if partner has thrown a spade, declarer will hold up the next round and your side will get just 1 spade trick and 3 aces.

Partner's (whole) hand is: Qxxx AKJx x xxxx
You must lead a heart and grab those tricks now.

Partner's (whole) hand is: Qxxx xxx x AKQxx
A club lead for 2 off
You can't keep a good man down
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#19 User is offline   G-Bear 

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Posted 2012-March-14, 13:20

View Postinquiry, on 2003-June-15, 08:29, said:


Third, when using suit preference when returning a suit for partner to ruff or when signalling in a suit to which you are following suit, such "revolving" signals are not available, so you have to revert to "standard" lavinthal (or reverse)...so by not playing revolving, you use the same signalling scheme all the time.



Discarding and signaling in a suit to which you are following suit are two different animals. They are not the same thing. So there is no conflict between Revolving Discards and your partnership agreed signals for attitude or count or suit preference when following suit. Signaling and discarding are two different pieces of a defensive strategy.

Even if you play Lavinthal discards, you still play standard, UDCA, Odd/Even, or whatever type of signals partnership agrees to. You don't use Lavinthal for suit preference when returning a suit for partner to ruff or when signaling in a suit to which you are following suit and you certainly don't worry about it if you play Revolving either.
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#20 User is offline   Phil 

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Posted 2012-March-14, 13:47

Wow, blew the dust off of this sarcophagus.

This could have been a pinned thread though.
Where there's ink there's squid Phil.
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