BBO Discussion Forums: Leads and carding - BBO Discussion Forums

Jump to content

Page 1 of 1
  • You cannot start a new topic
  • You cannot reply to this topic

Leads and carding A discussion starter

#1 User is online   DavidKok 

  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 2,374
  • Joined: 2020-March-30
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Netherlands

Posted 2024-July-08, 07:28

Helene and I very recently discussed and changed up our lead and signalling agreements, and as a result the topic has been on my mind. Over the years I've played a lot of lead and signalling agreements, and for a few years I played completely different sets with different partners depending on the day of the week. Some examples of the agreements I played are listed below, but rather than diving into the details immediately I had a few very broad observations.
  • Almost always, the actual lead and signalling agreements did not matter. What does matter a lot is being on the same page as partner. Conveying some amount of information accurately beats attempting to convey a lot of information through uncertain means.
  • Nearly all players around me picked a set of carding methods when young/just beginning, and changed it up maybe once or twice in their entire bridge career. Most people struggle tremendously to switch between different agreements, and struggle to reason through the implications of a change in agreements.
  • It is very difficult to find sources motivating one set of lead agreements over another. Almost all the sources I did find were little more than some cherry-picked example deals without acknowledging possible downsides, and/or "obviously it is better and the experts play this way".

To me this is quite unsatisfactory. I am really eager to learn more about differences in carding methods, along with their possible benefits and costs. I have found precisely one book that claims to investigate exactly this - "Systems in Defence" by Lukasz Slawinski - and I am not sure it is definitive. As a complicating factor, every bridge player has some just-so story prepared to explain why the signals they have been playing for 20 years are great. Obviously, if this is the case for everybody even while playing different methods, it casts some doubt on claims of relative merits of the treatments. I am looking for more thorough analysis on leads and carding methods - why pick one set over another, when do they win, when do they lose, what are we trying to achieve or which holdings are we catering for? This thread hopefully can spark a discussion, or suggest sources with more information on the topic.

These are (some of, I'm sure I have forgotten others) the carding agreements I've played over the years. I've only listed the names and a brief explanation, rather than the full explanation, as that would become very long very quickly.
Leads:
  • 4th best leads.
  • Attitude leads (low from Hxx or longer, high from empty suits).
  • 1st/3rd/5th leads.
  • Polish leads (2nd/4th, choosing 2nd from an empty 4(+) suit).
  • Journalist leads.
  • MUD.
  • Top of a sequence.
  • Top of an interior sequence.
  • Rusinow (versus NT, versus trump, or both).
  • Ace from ace-king/king from ace-king.
  • Ace attitude, king count/ace count, king attitude.
  • Honours request unblock versus NT.

Carding agreements:
  • Upside down/standard attitude.
  • Upside down/standard count.
  • Attitude on first discard.
  • Count on first discard.
  • Lavinthal(/McKenney) on first discard.
  • Roman Lavinthal on first discard.
  • Revolving discards.
  • Lavinthal "in specific obvious situations".
  • Second/third hand lowest of a sequence.
  • Second/third hand lowest of two connected honours, highest of 3(+).
  • (Standard or Reverse) Oddball/Smith Echo - by one hand, or by both hands.
  • Lavinthal in the trump suit.
  • Count in the trump suit.
  • Attitude shifts in suit.
  • 1st/3rd/5th shifts in suit.
  • Polish shifts in suit.

I've also played a bunch of these with more complicated conditions, such as "standard signals trick one, upside down for 2-13", or "attitude leads in suits we have supported, 1st/3rd/5th leads otherwise" or "at the 5-level, change up our ace and king lead agreements" or different rules for suit shifts through declarer and through dummy, and more. In the Netherlands it is very popular to play different agreements versus NT and trump suits, which seems reasonable (why should they be the same?) but I would like to have a much better understanding of the quantitative gains and losses from this approach.
Then there are more complicated questions, such as
  • Do we signal to suggest a defence, or to indicate a holding so that partner may decide on a defence?
  • How do your signals change in meaning as more information is revealed during the play (or during the auction?!), and how do we make sure our partnership stays on the same page as this happens?
  • How do we disclose all this to our opponents?

Lastly there are quite a few agreements I've seen that I have never played but would be very interested in hearing why people adopt them. This includes, for example:
  • Suit preference trick one.
  • The obvious shift principle.
  • Nonstandard signals, such as Slawinski Leads or Auken - von Arnim's signal against NT.
  • Coded 9s and 10s, or power leads.


My current understanding is that, for pretty much all of these, people play them almost exclusively because it is what they have always played and it is what their teachers played when they were learning the game. Do we have anything better?
4

#2 User is online   mw64ahw 

  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 1,028
  • Joined: 2021-February-13
  • Gender:Not Telling
  • Interests:Bidding & play optimisation via simulation.

Posted 2024-July-08, 09:05

One I see played locally, but am not a fan of is Dodds where the discard of an 'Even' card suggests a liking for the suit being discarded, whilst the discard of an 'Odd' card suggests a liking for the suit of the same colour.
0

#3 User is offline   mycroft 

  • Secretary Bird
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 7,200
  • Joined: 2003-July-12
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Calgary, D18; Chapala, D16

Posted 2024-July-08, 09:51

There's a big issue with Slawinski leads (and Vinje Signals) that may or may not override any benefit they may have over "nothing" or over "because we've always played it" for anyone else choosing to use them.

Of course, this is coming from an EHAA player - who I guess at least has 40 years of "water under the bridge" and at least significantly lower-rank "issues"?
When I go to sea, don't fear for me, Fear For The Storm -- Birdie and the Swansong (tSCoSI)
0

#4 User is offline   mycroft 

  • Secretary Bird
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 7,200
  • Joined: 2003-July-12
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Calgary, D18; Chapala, D16

Posted 2024-July-08, 09:53

On a serious note, I play what I play because it's "what I learned", and switching now may get me a benefit eventually, but there's a *lot* of automemory that needs to be broken (even to go to, say, 3rd and 5th).

But I do tell people that "I can't play Lavinthal/Odd-Even discards in tempo". I don't mention why, of course (it does not involve "a lot of automemory that needs to be broken").
When I go to sea, don't fear for me, Fear For The Storm -- Birdie and the Swansong (tSCoSI)
0

#5 User is online   DavidKok 

  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 2,374
  • Joined: 2020-March-30
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Netherlands

Posted 2024-July-08, 10:01

View Postmycroft, on 2024-July-08, 09:51, said:

There's a big issue with Slawinski leads (and Vinje Signals) that may or may not override any benefit they may have over "nothing" or over "because we've always played it" for anyone else choosing to use them.

Of course, this is coming from an EHAA player - who I guess at least has 40 years of "water under the bridge" and at least significantly lower-rank "issues"?
I was told that Slawinski leads in particular are much worse than the book suggests on account of being too complicated, and I also got some suggestive winks that people using them were cheating/using the tempo of their plays as a main way to convey information.

I've run into the Vinje/Prism signals but as far as I can tell they are inferior to standard signals, though I'm happy to see other methods that I hadn't included in my post.
0

#6 User is online   Cyberyeti 

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 14,012
  • Joined: 2009-July-13
  • Location:England

Posted 2024-July-08, 10:05

View Postmw64ahw, on 2024-July-08, 09:05, said:

One I see played locally, but am not a fan of is Dodds where the discard of an 'Even' card suggests a liking for the suit being discarded, whilst the discard of an 'Odd' card suggests a liking for the suit of the same colour.


Dodds and prism signals suffer from the same thing, not having the right card, then playing slowly and partner reading that as the issue
0

#7 User is offline   bluenikki 

  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Full Members
  • Posts: 581
  • Joined: 2019-October-14

Posted 2024-July-08, 10:55

View PostDavidKok, on 2024-July-08, 07:28, said:


[*]Polish leads (2nd/4th, choosing 2nd from an empty 4(+) suit).

The "+" is something I've never understood. It's in ACBL SAYC as well.

Mostly, when you lead an empty suit you hope partner has lots of honors. And in that case, they need to know how many will cash.
1

#8 User is offline   akwoo 

  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 1,327
  • Joined: 2010-November-21

Posted 2024-July-08, 13:23

View Postbluenikki, on 2024-July-08, 10:55, said:

The "+" is something I've never understood. It's in ACBL SAYC as well.

Mostly, when you lead an empty suit you hope partner has lots of honors. And in that case, they need to know how many will cash.


When I lead an empty suit I'm usually hoping partner has nothing in that suit either, so I didn't give away a trick or save declarer a dummy entry.

Perhaps I play too much matchpoints.
0

#9 User is offline   PrecisionL 

  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Full Members
  • Posts: 958
  • Joined: 2004-March-25
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Knoxville, TN, USA
  • Interests:Diamond LM (6700+ MP)
    God
    Family
    Counseling
    Bridge

Posted 2024-July-08, 14:15

Been playing Obvious Shift (1st Choice) for 20+ years (with only 3 partners). We had more arguments over what is the Obvious Shift than we did over sweep cue bidding. Posted Image

Very difficult to teach a new partner.

2nd choice is UDCA. (No O/E discards)

Coded 10s and 9s only through the strong hand (usually declarer).

(4+ = 4th or longer)
Ultra Relay: see Daniel's web page: https://bridgewithda...19/07/Ultra.pdf
C3: Copious Canape Club is still my favorite system. (Ultra upgraded, PM for notes)

Santa Fe Precision published 8/19. TOP3 published 11/20. Magic experiment (Science Modernized) with Lenzo. 2020: Jan Eric Larsson's Cottontail . 2020. BFUN (Bridge For the UNbalanced) 2021: Weiss Simplified (Canape & Relay). 2022: Canary Modernized, 2023-4: KOK Canape.
0

#10 User is offline   helene_t 

  • The Abbess
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 17,150
  • Joined: 2004-April-22
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:UK

Posted 2024-July-08, 14:46

View Postbluenikki, on 2024-July-08, 10:55, said:

The "+" is something I've never understood. It's in ACBL SAYC as well.

Mostly, when you lead an empty suit you hope partner has lots of honors. And in that case, they need to know how many will cash.

Yes but isn't it actually easier to give correct count after having led xXxxx than xXxx ?

The idea with xXxx is that you play the highest card next to complete your "even" signal. This is one of the beauties of Polish leads (as well as Norwegian leads): the leads are consistent with the carding system.

I can imagine leading from 9Xxx and then not being able to afford the 9 next time. With 9Xxxx you are supposed to show you odd number by playing a lower card next, if I understand correctly.

Although it doesn't happen so often that you want to lead from 9xxxx or worse. Unless you hope to give partner a ruff, in which case I suppose your count isn't so critical for partner.

We play current UD count also, this feels consistent with Polish leads and carding, and I find it easier. But some people think that you should play standard current count even if you normally play UD count. Any thoughts?
The world would be such a happy place, if only everyone played Acol :) --- TramTicket
0

#11 User is offline   awm 

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 8,334
  • Joined: 2005-February-09
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Zurich, Switzerland

Posted 2024-July-08, 14:48

When I was younger, I experimented with a lot of unusual system ideas and that includes leads and carding. Many of these ended up in the dustbin, but there are a couple I've stuck with:

1. Obvious shift. The book by Matt Granovetter gives a pretty good presentation with examples from world class events. My general view is that count signals are only occasionally useful, and suit preference to declarer's leads can help a lot more. Even in partnerships where we don't play the full obvious shift system, I've added a lot of suit preference signals (in the trump suit, discards, etc). The trick one signal is nice because it gives you two bits of information (whether to continue and which suit to switch to) and also removes a lot of "special exceptions" that people use with standard carding and gives the ability to signal for a continuation or for an unusual shift when this would be otherwise difficult (i.e. please continue even though dummy has singleton in a suit contract).

2. Rusinow from 4+ cards against notrump. I've noticed that I like to lead from holdings like JTx, QJx, KQx against notrump contracts more often than might be true in the classical literature. The problem is that partner can't always tell whether I'm leading from a real suit or just from an honor sequence in a three-card suit, and often partner needs to do something different in these cases (encourage vs. discourage, continue the suit when he gets in or not, etc). Rusinow from 4+ solves this for partner, without seeming to cause very many issues for our side.
Adam W. Meyerson
a.k.a. Appeal Without Merit
1

#12 User is offline   johnu 

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 4,925
  • Joined: 2008-September-10
  • Gender:Male

Posted 2024-July-08, 17:09

One of the worst carding agreements ever is the Foster echo. The concept was that against NT, if 3rd hand couldn't beat dummy, they played 2nd highest. This could be 8 from 982, or 8 from Q82. In addition to potentially wasting a good spot card, opening leader frequently had no clue about partner's holding.

For unknown reason, a lot of players were playing this in my area when I started playing tournament bridge. IIRC, this even was included on the ACBL convention card as a checkbox.
0

Page 1 of 1
  • You cannot start a new topic
  • You cannot reply to this topic

2 User(s) are reading this topic
0 members, 2 guests, 0 anonymous users