DEFENCE – SIGNALLING
Since the defenders can’t see each other’s hands, they must try communication their strength and distribution thru the use of defensive signals.
They have a opportunity to make a signal whenever they have a choice of cards to play to a trick. The types of signals the defenders can use, in order of priority are:
WHEN your partner is on lead against a suit contract and leads from their suit, if they lead a low card, you play to win the trick and later lead back partner’s suit.
If partner plays a high card, and you have an honour, you play as high as you can afford (6+) to say “YES, Partner WE LOVE THAT SUIT PLEASE CONTINUE PLAYING IT!”— you have shown “ATITUDE”.
or you play a LOW card (5 or under) that says “NO” please SWITCH TO ANOTHER!
SUIT.”—we have shown “ATTITUDE.”
You are, in effect, asking Partner to take a look at the DUMMY HAND and lead thru the strength on the board so you can capture Declarer’s high cards! You also plan to lead back partner’s led suit to trap any high cards Declarer has in hand in the suit partner led.
If ATTITUDE is ruled out , you give “count”. This usually happens when Dummy comes down with a string of high cards in the suit your partner led. Now your partner needs to know how many cards you hold in the suit led!!!
High followed a low card shows an even number of cards in the suit. Low followed by a higher card indicates an uneven number of cards. When that suit is played for the second time you get a proper reading of the count by watching the next card partner plays in that suit!
Once we rule out attitude and count, there are times when we need to find a way to tell partner which suit to switch too. This is called showing “SUIT PREFERENCE”
SHOWING SUIT PREFERENCE
When partner will have a choice of leading one or two suits, a high card played by you, shows preference for the higher ranking suit, a Low card played by you, shows preference for a lower ranking suit.
Here is one example where SUIT PREFERENCE would be used.
The opponents are playing a contract of 4 Hearts ♥️
Partner leads the Ace of Diamonds ♦️ (we know our partner holds the King of diamonds as well as partner would not lead an unsupported ACE).
DUMMY goes down and there is a SINGLETON diamond ♦️ on board –
Do you or partner now care that partner has the KING of ♦️?
Answer : NO – ATTITUDE DOES NOT MATTER
Do you or partner need to know how many diamonds between you?
ANSWER: NO – COUNT IS RULED OUT
YOU NOW HAVE A GREAT OPPORTUNITY TO USE SUIT PREFERENCE —TELL YOUR PARTNER WHICH SUIT TO SWITCH TO!!!!
Let’s rule out Declarer’s HEART SUIT (trump suit)
Let’s rule out the DIAMOND SUIT (Dummy is now void in that suit)
There are two suits remaining – CLUBS AND HEARTS – club suit is lower on the bidding ladder than hearts
YOU MUST FOLLOW THE SUIT LED AND PLAY A DIAMOND, RIGHT???
If you play a low diamond, YOU ARE REQUESTING A CLUB LEAD
if you play a high diamond, YOU ARE REQUESTING A SPADE LEAD
IMPORTANT : Your Partner Who led MUST PAY ATTENTION TO THE CARD YOU PUT DOWN ON THEIR ACE OF DIAMONDS to get the message!
ALSO, once you and partner agree to show attitude, count and suit preference, it will always be “ON” as part of your signalling.
For now start using Suit Preference when Partner leads his Ace and there is a void or Singleton on the board!!!!
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Happy Defence !