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Discard systems

#1 User is offline   goggleboxw 

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Posted 2017-October-25, 11:52

I want a discard system to signal my partner a suit preference which does not involve discarding with high cards, or signalling with alternative options. Hence Attitude, Roman, Revolving Discards, Laventhal, McKenney all require high card discards or high/low signals, or odd/even signals.

The system I prefer (and I can’t find where it originated from) is very simple. The card I discard signals that I want the suit above (skipping the missing suit). Therefore, if I want a spade, I discard a heart; if I want a heart I discard a diamond, if I want a club I discard a spade. This is somewhat like revolving discards, but doesn’t involve the option of low or high discards.

It seems to me that discarding a high card in a suit that you want to take tricks in is wasteful. And the various options in other systems mean partner has to work out what you want led.

So, what is wrong with a very simple system? Where does it fall down?
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#2 User is offline   TylerE 

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Posted 2017-October-25, 11:57

It falls down very simply: You only have one way to signal for a given suit... what do you do when your holding in the "discarding" suit is, say, AJT?
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#3 User is offline   Tramticket 

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Posted 2017-October-25, 12:31

I think that you are over-thinking this.

why not just play standard attitude discards (high encouraging, low discouraging) - but with the general approach that you will usually discard a low card in a suit that you don't want. You will rarely discard a high card and never a high card that you consider important. Partner will make sensible decisions, knowing which suit you don't want and eliminating other suits based on his hand, dummy's hand and the bidding.
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#4 User is offline   Stephen Tu 

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Posted 2017-October-25, 13:23

The main problem with your proposed method is that you often simply need to keep cards in the suit you propose to signal in, to prevent declarer from taking too many tricks in the suit or preserving a guess for declarer in the suit. So if you can't spare a card from your signal suit you can't signal for the suit you actually want.

If you are concerned about wasting high cards in a suit you want led, just play upside down attitude (low encourage), you can usually afford a low card in that suit, or a high card (discourage) in a different suit, and partner can usually figure out what shift makes sense. Or play odd even, can usually find a low odd or appropriate even to show the suit you want.
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#5 User is offline   goggleboxw 

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Posted 2017-October-25, 13:43

View PostStephen Tu, on 2017-October-25, 13:23, said:

The main problem with your proposed method is that you often simply need to keep cards in the suit you propose to signal in, to prevent declarer from taking too many tricks in the suit or preserving a guess for declarer in the suit. So if you can't spare a card from your signal suit you can't signal for the suit you actually want.

If you are concerned about wasting high cards in a suit you want led, just play upside down attitude (low encourage), you can usually afford a low card in that suit, or a high card (discourage) in a different suit, and partner can usually figure out what shift makes sense. Or play odd even, can usually find a low odd or appropriate even to show the suit you want.


Thank you for this. I know partnerships that play the upside down attitude, and it does seem to be the most inexpensive method. I've been trying to find a system that requires the minimum of options...
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#6 User is offline   TylerE 

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Posted 2017-October-25, 13:54

I would rather play NO special discards (aka "standard") than something that lobotomized.
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#7 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2017-October-25, 21:27

View Postgoggleboxw, on 2017-October-25, 11:52, said:

I want a discard system to signal my partner a suit preference which does not involve discarding with high cards, or signalling with alternative options. Hence Attitude, Roman, Revolving Discards, Laventhal, McKenney all require high card discards or high/low signals, or odd/even signals.The system I prefer (and I can't find where it originated from) is very simple. The card I discard signals that I want the suit above (skipping the missing suit). Therefore, if I want a spade, I discard a heart; if I want a heart I discard a diamond, if I want a club I discard a spade. This is somewhat like revolving discards, but doesn't involve the option of low or high discards.It seems to me that discarding a high card in a suit that you want to take tricks in is wasteful. And the various options in other systems mean partner has to work out what you want led.So, what is wrong with a very simple system? Where does it fall down?

goggleboxw's method is new to me. Sometimes, he will have to hunt for an appropriate discard but his method does seem simple and playable.

We play a method that goggleboxw would hate:
  • Low shows like (interest in the suit discarded).
  • High shows odd-even suit-preference (odd for higher suit, even for lower suit).

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#8 User is offline   The_Badger 

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Posted 2017-October-25, 22:47

Many experts nowadays play UDCA (Upside Down Count and Attitude) as their default discarding system, and whilst there are plenty of other discard systems available to use, as you mentioned, what really matters with a partnership, especially one that you want establish on a regular basis is taking on board a discard system that is easy to learn and both feel comfortable with.

Any discard system, even the basic high encouraging, low discouraging still requires a modicum of common sense to prevail. What if you can't spare a high card, etc.

From your post you say that what you want to be simple, so why not use a basic form of UDCA (low encouraging, high discouraging) as a starting point, and then build on it if you wish, reading up further on UDCA, or even incorporating the basic part of UDCA with maybe another discard system?
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#9 User is offline   goggleboxw 

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Posted 2017-October-26, 02:44

View PostThe_Badger, on 2017-October-25, 22:47, said:

Many experts nowadays play UDCA (Upside Down Count and Attitude) as their default discarding system, and whilst there are plenty of other discard systems available to use, as you mentioned, what really matters with a partnership, especially one that you want establish on a regular basis is taking on board a discard system that is easy to learn and both feel comfortable with.

Any discard system, even the basic high encouraging, low discouraging still requires a modicum of common sense to prevail. What if you can't spare a high card, etc.

From your post you say that what you want to be simple, so why not use a basic form of UDCA (low encouraging, high discouraging) as a starting point, and then build on it if you wish, reading up further on UDCA, or even incorporating the basic part of UDCA with maybe another discard system?


Thanks for your suggestion, and I shall look at UDCA, which I know is popular with other partnerships. The reason I've been looking for something simple is that I am playing with a new partner and we're trying to establish a bidding system together (Andrew Robson looms large), and we need a discard system, and my brain is now full up!.........
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#10 User is offline   Vampyr 

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Posted 2017-October-26, 04:34

View Postnige1, on 2017-October-25, 21:27, said:

goggleboxw's method is new to me. Sometimes, he will have to hunt for an appropriate discard but his method does seem simple and playable.


The hunting part is why odd/even discards were illegal in England for a long time. I am not positive why this changed; it was possibly the observation that all players take a bit of time over their first discard.

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We play a method that goggleboxw would hate:
  • Low shows like (interest in the suit discarded).
  • High shows odd-even suit-preference (odd for higher suit, even for lower suit).



Does this often leave you with no suitable cards to discard?
I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones -- Albert Einstein
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#11 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2017-October-26, 05:34

View PostVampyr, on 2017-October-26, 04:34, said:

The hunting part is why odd/even discards were illegal in England for a long time. I am not positive why this changed; it was possibly the observation that all players take a bit of time over their first discard. Does this often leave you with no suitable cards to discard?
Whatever discard system you use, you sometimes lack an appropriate discard. Some partnerships, using standard methods, seem to use tempo or body-language to solve this problem.

In our system (Low encouraging. High-odd or high-even shows suit preference), if you lack cards of the appropriate parity, then you can try discarding high-cards, upwards, in the wrong parity. We're less likely than most partnerships to encounter this problem, however, because we can signal for any suit in 3 simple ways.
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#12 User is offline   ggwhiz 

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Posted 2017-October-26, 09:55

I find that o/e is a little better defined than udca, especially if you include signalling for the impossible suit (ie dummy has the stiff ace and trumps remaining) to show zero or two interest in the green suits.

That could be a medium honour in each or none of the above and partner can work it out from the auction.

My partnership has never had a tempo issue once we got used to this and it is a definitive signal and I have played against world class players where they get a lead through a Kx(x) and take forever to play the J from AJ(x) with no concern.
The race may not go to the swift nor the battle to the strong. But that's the way to bet it.
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