Beginners Guide to Signaling and Giving Count 5

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Here are some more signals for the first lead, or at least related to the first trick.

By Ben Dickens
On 16 May, 2012 At 19:40

Category : Beguiners, Beguiners 1, Defense @en, Signaling @en

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Now you have decided on your spot card and honor sequence leads. And you have decided your own priorities for signals to partner’s opening lead (read Part 1 of this Guide if you haven’t). In Part 2 we looked at a few examples of other signals available to you at trick one. Part 3 deals with a few cases when the 3rd hand’s spot card is not your agreed preference (attitude, count or suit preference). Part 4 explains the most common attitude, count and suit preference signals.

We are 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 here or here

Smith Echo
This is a signal related to the first suit played on defence to a Notrump 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 normally 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 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.

Putting together your partnership signaling agreements

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 your signalling preferences on your profile, or fill out a convention card with them on it. The BBO convention cards have a whole section on carding. You can post this CC and ask partner if it is ok (including carding) and let him look at it. This also makes bidding agreements much easier. People should use convention cards, rather than the space in their profile…

On most convention cards, under “Carding”, the “Signal” options include

  • natural (that is the standard signals discussed earlier)
  • UD (upside-down) attitude only
  • UD count only
  • UDCA (which is upside down signals discussed earlier), and
  • Odd/Even.

There is a check-box for the priority of the signals. A-C-SP means give attitude first, then count, then suit preference. That is the default option. Other sequence options are A-SP-C, C-A-SP, C-SP-A, SP-A-C, SP-C-A

Lead 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)?

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

Finally, and importantly, decide if you signal “remaining count, or “original count”.

For beginners, I think a simple agreement approach is best. Here’s what I recommend for start:

  • 4th best leads,
  • A from AK,
  • either standard or UDCA,
  • remaining count,
  • A-C-SP priority,
  • Plain lavinthal discards, and
  • Suit preference signals

But any agreement is better than no agreement!

Next time we’ll see how to put these signals into useful action.

To be continued…

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