Source: BBO News
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).
Partner leads a suit, a «hi» spot card encourages in this suit, a «low» spot card discourages. This is sometimes call a hi-lo signal or for some reason a peter. If you play in the US, this is the «standard» signal. So if you are an American beginner, and are going to be playing in the real world with real people, I suggest you adopt this signal.
Partner leads a suit, playing UDCA (which stands for Upside Down Count and Attitude), and now a «low» card encourages while a high card «discourages». This is called «upside down» because the meaning of a high and lo card is reversed from their normal meaning in standard. This signal is much more popular in the rest of the world than in the US, and in my opinion is superior. If you play with real people outside the US, I suggest you adopt this signal. And if you are in the US but play mostly on line, I also suggest you adopt this signal… this is what I play.
This is an extension of Roman discards (more on that in signaling to tricks other than trick one later). This is where an odd card is encouraging and an even card is not only discouraging, but also conveys suit preference. It takes a highly ethical beginner to play these signals because all too frequently you will not have an odd or an even spot card when you need one. And this leads to huddles that have the potential to convey unauthorized information. I recommend that you either not play these signals, or force yourself to play in tempo when you lack the type of card you need.
This is used anytime a suit is lead and it is appropriate to give «count». A «hi» spot card shows an even number of cards in the suit, a «low» shows an odd number. Again, if you play in the US, this is the «standard» signal. So if you are an American beginner, and are going to be playing in the real world with real people, I suggest you adopt this signal.
This again stands for upside down count and attitude. Now a «low» shows an even number of cards while a high card shows an odd number . This is «upside down» because the meaning of a high and lo card is reversed from their normal meaning in standard. Again, this is what I like to play.
Often you will have played a card to the first trick that was an attempt to win the trick, or maybe was a required suit preference or attitude signal. When you next play a spot card in that suit, you should give your partner the count. There are two ways to do this:
Signal the number of cards in this suit you have «remaining». Thus with K852 after playing the king on the first round when partner leads the suit, you would signal «3 cards» when giving count, because you have 852 left. This is my choice, or….
Signal the number of cards in this that you were originally dealt. Thus with K852 after playing the king on the first round when partner leads the suit, you would signal «4 cards» when giving count, because you started with four cards in the suit
Suit Preference Signals
Important suit preference signals are when discarding, so we will cover those first, and then apply those principles to a trick one (or other time) suit preference signal.
A discard of a high card in a suit shows values in suit, a low card discourages him from that suit.
Upside down discards
A discard of a low card in a suit encourages partner to lead that suit, a high card discourages.
The above two discards convey no information about what other suit the discarder maybe interested in if he discourages with his discard. Enter the «typical» suit preference discards.
Discourage in the suit discarded, and the height of the card discarded shows which of the other two suits you are interested in. A big card says the higher of the other two suits (not the suit discarded, nor the suit on which the discard was made… there are only two other suits), and a low card says the lower of the other two. Some people play «reverse Lavinthal». I see no difference between the two.
An example of the odd/even signaling. However, this is much less problematic, as you have several suit in which to find the right odd or even card. A discard of an odd card encourages partner to lead the suit discarded. A discard of an even card ask for one of the other two suits, and the height of the even card conveys suit preference attitude (either normal or upside down). I have never seen unauthorized information passed playing Roman Discards, so I find these much less objectionable than o/e signals to trick one.
Now that you see how suit preference signals work as discards, you can apply the same principles to trick one where a suit preference signal is needed. Just use Lavinthal (standard or upside down).
You have many opportunities to apply these principles during the play of the hand. For example:
- After giving count, your second spot card might be useful as a signal, assuming you have at least two such cards, to convey which of the other «obvious» suits you hold some value.
- When returning a suit, for your partner to ruff, the size of the card you lead can provide information about which side suit he can use to enter your hand so he can get a second ruff.
We will discuss smith echo, foster echo, and obvious shift principle in the next article.
To be continued…