MANY partnerships have serious problems
resolving when they should be signalling either
attitude or count.
Indeed some partnerships take it to an extreme
and only play one or the other. This seems to me
very limiting, as clearly, assuming both members of
the partnership can get on the same wavelength,
there are many instances when both are necessary.
With reference to the opening lead, a style which
has come into vogue is to play:
Ace for Attitude (A = Attitude)
King for Count (K = Kount)
This alliteration can certainly help with memory!
The principle is that against trump contracts (I
will deal with no-trump contracts in the next
article) the opening leader can decide in advance
which signal he wishes to receive before he actually
makes the lead.
On the lead of the ace (or indeed any honour
other than the king, to be accurate) you will receive
an attitude signal (standard or reverse - this is by
partnership choice, of course). Whereas the lead of
a king will receive a count signal.
Defending High-level Contracts
People have known of these methods for a long
time; in fact many have always played that at high
levels (usually the five level or above) the necessity
to be able to 'cash out' side suits is vital. Thus at the
five level or above I strongly recommend leading the
king from an ace-king holding in a suit to receive a
count, not an attitude signal. So from A-K-x-x lead
the king, not the ace: partner's signal will be able to
tell you how many tricks you can attempt to cash in
this suit before declarer can ruff in. If defending
against a slam, playing this method gives you a real
chance to defeat the contract - if, of course, there is
any chance at all.
Defending Lower-level Trump Contracts
This method of playing ace for attitude and king for
count can most certainly be applied at lower level
contracts as well, of course, provided some ex amin ation
of principles and ideas takes place.
I recommend leading the king for count when
you have A-K-Q, K-Q-J, or indeed A-K only, but
with greater length. Thus:
But look at these also:
So essentially you make your standard lead, but
when holding both the ace (or another honour)
and king you can choose which one to lead. The
idea is that when holding nice solid sequences like
A-K-Q or K-Q-J, all you really need concern
yourself about is how many cards partner has in the
suit, rather than the added worry of whether it is
safe to even continue the suit at all.
There are actually 'negative inferences' to be
drawn sometimes. If for example partner leads an
ace at trick one, we can surmise that he does not
hold A-K-Q of the suit. This may well help in
building up a picture of the unseen declarer's hand.
Varying the Signal Once Dummy Appears
There are three very important extra factors to
44 English Bridge June 2015 www.ebu.co.uk
Ace for Attitude, King for Countby Neil Rosen
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