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Best card to play? And any other suggestions...

#1 User is offline   pstansbu 

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Posted 2017-June-18, 16:51

Played this hand the other night (MP Pairs - we play 4 car Majors)



Partner led 5 with King played from dummy I played the 3 (standard count). Opponents attacked clubs and when I won the third round I played 4 having been torn between this and J . Partner won with the Ace and switched to a spade. Things didn't go well from there. Partner is adamant I should have played Q so he knew where it was. This scenario has come up a few times - leading an unprotected honour so partner knows where it is. This feels awkward here for all sorts of reasons, I presumably have the longest hand and don't want it blocked, I would probably switch to spades without the Q , I have no other entries.

I'd appreciate the usual, helpful comments :)
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#2 User is offline   steve2005 

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Posted 2017-June-18, 17:09

Say partner lead 5 from A65, returning the Q will block the suit.
I think many people would show attitude on opening lead say the 9 (or 3 if udca). When you return the suit you lead a low card so partner should be assuming an honour.
Also, if playing Smith echo you could show they like diamonds on opening lead and opening leader can show good diamonds on the play of the clubs. Then you both will be on same page that diamonds is the suit to beat NT.
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Showing count you have shown 3 or 5 diamonds which doesn't help as North could have 4D
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#3 User is offline   manudude03 

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Posted 2017-June-18, 19:29

Just return original 4th best (the 4). Here, partner should know you have the Q anyway once the ten appears. If declarer had it, he would have had started with at least QTx and they would surely have played low from dummy. Yes, there will sometimes be ambiguity, but it will normally work out.
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#4 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2017-June-19, 03:18

Your partner is being particularly obtuse here. First of all, most pairs would show attitude on the opening lead under a king, which would provide an immediate solution. But let us put that aside and look at things under your carding. Your 3 shows an odd number, which your partner can read as 3 or 5. If you have 5 then declarer is out of diamonds. If 3 then you would play the higher card here and all is clear. So your partner's suggestion of the queen is absolutely wrong and in fact the best way of confusing the situation. When you instead play the 3 followed by the 4 you are showing 5 diamonds and your partner should have no difficulty in understanding the layout.
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#5 User is offline   pstansbu 

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Posted 2017-June-19, 05:36

View Poststeve2005, on 2017-June-18, 17:09, said:

I think many people would show attitude on opening lead say the 9 (or 3 if udca).

View PostZelandakh, on 2017-June-19, 03:18, said:

most pairs would show attitude on the opening lead under a king, which would provide an immediate solution.

You both allude to a point I was pondering - our agreement is to play count if we can't cover RHO's card. This makes complete sense when this is quite a small card, but a King? At this risk of complicating life are you saying there is merit in agreeing a cut off - e.g. for Q/K show attitude - for J and below show count?

I like the Smith Echo, I'd like to introduce this but partner not keen. The hand is a good real world demonstration (with attached pain) on the merits. However I can support partner's reticence on the basis if we misinterpret the current signals adding Smith could compound our woes :(
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#6 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2017-June-19, 05:59

View Postpstansbu, on 2017-June-19, 05:36, said:

You both allude to a point I was pondering - our agreement is to play count if we can't cover RHO's card. This makes complete sense when this is quite a small card, but a King? At this risk of complicating life are you saying there is merit in agreeing a cut off - e.g. for Q/K show attitude - for J and below show count?

Precisely. The most common agreement appears to be showing attitude on Dummy's A/K and count on a lower card, though this is by no means universal and some pairs have much more complicated agreements. At the top level, almost all partnerships play some form of Smith Echo but even here the precise nature of the agreement varies from pair to pair.
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#7 User is offline   billw55 

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Posted 2017-June-19, 09:34

Possibly relevant quote from bridgeguys page on Smith Echo:

"After the opening leader has chosen the lead against a No Trump contract, then the partner must play third hand high. If the partner of the opening leader is unable to win the trick, then the partner can show via a normal attitude signal whether or not to continue the suit." (emphasis original)
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#8 User is offline   rmnka447 

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Posted 2017-June-19, 14:24

David Bird in his book Defensive Signaling in Bridge offers that signaling falls into a hierarchy. Namely, you first show attitude, then if attitude doesn't apply show count, then suit preference if neither attitude or count apply.

Starting with the opening lead, partner has led a low card indicating length 3 or 4 to an honor or honors.

Does partner need to know your attitude toward the lead? Yes, count doesn't do partner any good at this point. A count signal still wouldn't tell partner your exact count -- low would show 3 or 5, high 2 or 4. So your play should be attitude and you should play 8 -- you like the lead.

Then when you get in with a , you return a low . It should be apparent to partner that you held 4 or 5 to the Q to start. With an original holding of 98x, 98xx, 98xxx, or similar, your original play on the opening lead would be the lowest .

If you signaled with the 8 from Q8x originally, then you should return Q and partner should play 6 indicating 3 or 4 to start. If partner had held 5 opposite Q8x, the original 5th best would be played under your Q and you would know could be continued. When partner plays the 6 under your Q, you know that you will only have 3 tricks at most and your trick, so you have to guess which other suit to switch to instead of continuing .
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#9 User is offline   silvr bull 

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Posted 2017-June-20, 02:26

I have concerns about both count and attitude signals in NT. If partner expects count and hi-lo is an even number, what do I play from T2 after a low spot is led and dummy plays an honor? The ten can easily be too valuable to waste as a signal. If partner expects attitude, I will have the same problem but with T9 doubleton, and no way to show a negative attitude. Another problem can be if a doubleton or stiff honor wins in dummy after partner leads a spot card. What should I play from T92 and no attitude? If I give count with the 2, Declarer may have KJ or QJ doubleton, and the suit is blocked.

I prefer Foster Echo the first time we lead any suit against NT. Foster Echo is an easy signal to understand (and easy to remember too!), but knowing that I have one card higher than I have played will often give partner enough information.

At trick one with the OP West, I would play the D9 to promise that I have one card higher than the 9. Then after winning the C, I would lead back the D8. Partner would not know for sure who had the not yet played 4 and 3, but he would know that I still have one card higher than the 9.
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#10 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2017-June-20, 08:26

All signaling methods suffer from the problem of not having an appropriate card, or not being able to afford to play it.

The benefit of upside-down attitude is that you don't have to waste a possibly useful high card in a suit you like, so it's less likely to suffer from the problem of not being able to afford a card. But if you have T98, any card you play will look discouraging.

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