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Discarding on the opponents' lead

#1 User is offline   Wainfleet 

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Posted 2020-August-22, 10:57

Is it a good or bad idea to use an attitude discard (e.g. revolving) when declarer has lead a suit in which I am void? We play at a low level and our opponents never ask what discard system we use, but if we were playing at a higher level it might give information to declarer.
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#2 User is offline   Vampyr 

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Posted 2020-August-22, 13:20

View PostWainfleet, on 2020-August-22, 10:57, said:

Is it a good or bad idea to use an attitude discard (e.g. revolving) when declarer has lead a suit in which I am void? We play at a low level and our opponents never ask what discard system we use, but if we were playing at a higher level it might give information to declarer.


When declarer has LED a suit, you need to decide whether your attitude signal will be useful to partner. If you judge that partner’s knowing your attitude will be beneficial for your side, then give a signal, especially if there is nothing declarer can do to capitalise on the information. If, however, your attitude is useless to or known by partner, you might as well give a false signal or just play the card closest to your thumb.

Some people always play count signals. I find this unplayable, but YMMV.
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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#3 User is offline   Stephen Tu 

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Posted 2020-August-22, 13:47

Probably most important is to have some agreement with partner on what your discard means. As for the various possible systems, there is no overwhelming expert consensus, you can find good players playing anything.

The main systems I am aware of:
  • Attitude discards, by far the most common. Can be std (low don't like, high like), or upside down (low = like, high = don't like). You should assume this without other discussion. Advantages, simplicitly, and you can make a neutral signal (discouraging one suit doesn't particularly encourage anything else), to leave best defense to partner's own devices.
  • Odd/even aka Roman, on first discard. Odd card = encourage this suit. Even = discouraging and size = suit preference. Advantage is that you can usually (but not 100%) find a card to encourage a particular suit. Disadvantage is no neutral signals as everything tends to encourage one suit or another.
  • Lavinthal, discard suit you don't want led, size = suit pref. Disadvantage also no neutral, in addition sometimes you really can only afford discard suit you want to encourage. I think Odd/even dominates this (little/no downside, more flexibility upside) so I would never play this one
  • Count discards, discard a suit you don't want led simultaneously giving count. Helps partner count out the hand, but also can help declarer, and also there are hands where partner needs to know which suit to shift to way more than the count, and sometimes like Lavinthal you can only really afford discard in the suit you want led.
Personally I like just playing attitude. If dummy has a long suit that declarer is probably going to try to set up and limited side entries, discards in that suit should be count so partner can know how long to hold up.

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#4 User is offline   Vampyr 

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Posted 2020-August-22, 14:02

View PostStephen Tu, on 2020-August-22, 13:47, said:

[*]Odd/even aka Roman, on first discard. Odd card = encourage this suit. Even = discouraging and size = suit preference. Advantage is that you can usually (but not 100%) find a card to enecourage a particular suit. Disadvantage is no neutral signals as everything tends to encourage one suit or another.


Itís not as bad as all that; an even card ďtends to beĒ suit preference, and the higher the odd card, the less encouraging it is. If all else fails you can encourage a suit that you obviously donít want.


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If dummy has a long suit that declarer is probably going to try to set up and limited side entries, discards in that suit should be count so partner can know how long to hold up.


Yes, and of course this is the case when following to this suit; this takes priority over Smith or anything else.
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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#5 User is offline   paulg 

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Posted 2020-August-23, 01:39

View PostWainfleet, on 2020-August-22, 10:57, said:

Is it a good or bad idea to use an attitude discard (e.g. revolving) when declarer has lead a suit in which I am void? We play at a low level and our opponents never ask what discard system we use, but if we were playing at a higher level it might give information to declarer.

The simple answer is yes, it is a good idea.

Defence is the hardest part of the game as you are competing against a declarer who can see and controls half the pack. Signalling is the legal way of trying to offset this advantage.

Although it is true that you are giving stronger declarers information, you will find that it helps partner more and you will learn, through experience, when it is a poor idea to signal strongly. This is one of the improvement pains that we all go through and the learning never stops!
The Beer Card

I don't work for BBO and any advice is based on my BBO experience over the decades
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#6 User is offline   Huibertus 

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Posted 2020-August-23, 02:31

Regardles of which type of signal you use, signals will always help your side and they will always help the opponents. Which side is helped the most does depend on the actual hand, but also on the relative strenght of the opposing partnerships.

That said, there will be nothing that will hurt your side more than lack of agreement, due to misunderstandings, so decide on what type of signals you use and stick to it. Only when you become experts become a bit more flexible and agree on being allowed to apply switch signal types once it the play and dummy makes clear the agreed signal doesn't add value.
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#7 User is offline   Vampyr 

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Posted 2020-August-23, 06:02

View PostHuibertus, on 2020-August-23, 02:31, said:

Regardles of which type of signal you use, signals will always help your side and they will always help the opponents. Which side is helped the most does depend on the actual hand, but also on the relative strenght of the opposing partnerships.

That said, there will be nothing that will hurt your side more than lack of agreement, due to misunderstandings, so decide on what type of signals you use and stick to it. Only when you become experts become a bit more flexible and agree on being allowed to apply switch signal types once it the play and dummy makes clear the agreed signal doesn't add value.


Yes, that is a good point. Attitude (reverse for preference) is normally the default, but count or suit preference might be what partner really needs to know.

If you use some dual-message signal like odd/even, decide on your first discard (the only one where it applies) long before you have to make it. Otherwise you may run into a tempo issue if you donít have suitable cards.
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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#8 User is offline   dsLawsd 

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Posted 2020-August-23, 14:43

What they all said/
Plus consider using Upside Down signals so that a small card tends to encourage and high discourage. Sometimes you cannot discard in a suit that needs a shift.

Zia+Rosenberg use them EXCEPT at Trick 1. That could be extended in some cases I suppose.

And always disclose your agreements on your Convention Card or wherever your organization says...
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