Page 0043



Part I

HAVING considered the three basic forms Playing standard signals, East can either

of signals – the attitude signal, the count throw a low spade or a low diamond to

signal and the suit-preference signal, let’s discourage those suits, or he can throw a

turn to the issue of discarding. This time I high heart to encourage a switch to hearts. David Bakhshi

will focus on the methods employed by Which is the best card to choose? While it

many expert partnerships, and in the next may seem that throwing an encouraging

article I shall examine those preferred by heart makes it easy for partner to switch to Dummy plays low at trick one; East

many club players. your best suit, this is at a great cost. This plays the ´K and South wins with the ´A.

dilemma is made clearer if you ask: ‘Is it Declarer leads a diamond to dummy’s t8

Is discarding different to signalling? better to throw a winner or a loser?’ at trick two, then continues diamonds at

It is clearly desirable to retain your win- trick three. What should East discard?

Though many people treat them differ- ning cards, so you should prefer to dis- This is a situation in which one can

ently, the choice of card that one discards courage alternative switches. To achieve anticipate a fairly common dilemma for

constitutes a form of signal. The distinc- this, use the fact that dummy is visible to West. If he holds the tA and ´Q-10-x-x or

tion being that discards are signals made both defenders. In the case of Example A, it ´Q-10-x-x-x, knowing how many spades

when throwing away, and therefore occur is clear that East cannot want a switch to East holds (and as a result how many spades

at a point where more information is diamonds, so West will choose between the are held by declarer) will make a huge

typically available to the partnership. major suits. If East can eliminate spades as a difference to him. If declarer has the ´J-x

good option, then West should deduce that remaining, it will be necessary to find a way

How can the principles of attitude, East wants him to switch to hearts. The best to put East on lead so that East can lead a

count and suit-preference signals discard is therefore the ´3. Throwing a low spade through declarer. However, if declarer

be applied to discarding? spade eliminates spades, and in effect shows has just the ´J left, it could be crucial for

heart strength without having to throw a West to cash his spades immediately. It is

This is the area which sees the greatest heart winner. therefore most useful to give a count signal.

diversity between the approaches employ- When giving count in a suit which has

ed by experts and club players. Most expert Is it ever useful to give count already been played, the most common

partnerships tend to treat signalling as an signals when discarding? approach is to give remaining count, i.e. to

exchange of information and rely on their tell partner how many cards you have left

powers of logical reasoning and deduction We have previously seen that the preferred in that suit. The standard approach is to

to work out the best line of defence. Thus, order of priority involves count as a throw high from an even number and low

when discarding, the primary signal of secondary signal. The count signal being from an odd number. So, in Example B,

choice is the attitude signal. Example A most useful when declarer leads a suit, or East should throw the ´2, to show an odd

illustrates a classic use of such a discard: when a player’s attitude is already ‘known’. number remaining (or an original even

This last principle can be extended to number of spades). If West started with

discarding. Consider the situation that five spades, he will now know that declarer

Example A arises in Example B: has only one spade left, and that the suit is

´ J6 ready to run if he holds the ´Q.

™ J6

t AKQ3 Example B Are suit-preference signals useful

® K J 10 9 2 ´ 85 when discarding?

´ 9753 ™ AQ3

N ™ A K Q 10 t K Q J 10 9 8 Many expert partnerships consider the

E t 10 8 6 4 ® Q5 appropriate use of attitude and count

® 8 ´ K762 signals to be sufficient for effective com-

N ™ J74 munication when discarding, and save


t 6 suit-preference signals for the situations

South opens 1NT, and North raises to 3NT. ® K9863 discussed in my last article. However, it is

West leads the ®5; dummy plays the possible to make use of suit-preference

®2; East plays the ®8 and South wins with signals when discarding, and the ways in

the ®Q. South next leads the ®4; West South’s 1NT opening is raised to 3NT, and which this is typically done will be

wins with the ®A, and East throws . . .? West leads the ´4. something I will consider next time. r October 2011 English Bridge 43


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