Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

Being On The Same Wavelength

Most of the time Isabelle and I understand each other during the bidding.  Even more important is to be tuned into partner’s defense.  Isabelle and I do fairly well on defense. At the moment I think this is just as much a matter of instinct as it is technique. Both of us understand defense fairly well.  Usually we can get the message that partner is trying to send. 

I don’t believe in giving much count.  I think knowing where high cards are is much more important.  Besides I have seen too many hands where counters have given away the treasure.  Just the other day we played against a very good pair who decided to give me count when I needed to decide whether to finesse or play for a break.  Did I say give me count, sorry I meant give each other count.  So most of our signals are either attitude or suit preference.  We are still feeling this out at the moment.    If we lead the suit we would normally play attitude first, suit preference second unless there is some reason to play count.  We play upside carding.  Here is an example.

West    North   East    South


1D        DBL      RDBL    2C

2D        3C        3D        all pass

You North hold S Q974 H Q642 D 8 C Q1095

You start the CQ and dummy hits with

S AJ32 H A1095 D Q62 C62

To be fair, I am going to tell you that nothing you do actually matters.  The only discussion here is what does the signal mean.  Even an earthquake won’t break this contract.

On you CQ partner plays the C8 which holds the trick.  What does it all mean?

Partner is known to have club length and unless declarer is playing a pretty deep game from Ax partner has the AK.  Often in these situation when partner has known length in a suit the c8 has to do double duty.  First it is discouraging and second it is suit preference.  If you don’t like the suit you play a highish spot for the lower suit and a really high spot for the highish suit.  What does that make the C8?  Probably asking for a heart?

But when partner lets the CQ hold they probably don’t want clubs continued.   Then that C8 has only one job suit preference.  Maybe declarer has the CJ and that C8 is partner’s highest spot.  Ergo the C8 should ask for spades.  If you think this way then if partner wants a heart he should play the C3, right?

Isabelle read the card as a request for a spade and I think that is right.  Does any of this make sense to any of you?  Comments are welcome as usual.

Now on to a more interesting hand that I screwed up.  Why do I always want to focus on hands that I get wrong.  Maybe it is in the hopes of improving.

Here is the hand


West    North   East    South


pass      1H        pass   2NT

pass      6NT      all pass

S A107 HQ972   DAJ95  CK10

SKQ4   HK105   DKQ7  CAJ95

The opening lead was the S5 and I put the 10 in East following with the S9.  Now it seemed to me that if I could play the heart suit for 3 winners I wouldn’t need to find the CQ.  And finding the CQ wouldn’t be enough most of the time.  So I thought I should try to find the HJ.  If you decide to play a couple of winners first, you will find out that West started with 6S and East with 4 diamonds.   How do you play it?  What I did is play a H to the HK and when West won and returned a heart I still played him for the HJ.  My reasoning pitiful as it was, was that since he had made a passive lead he was more likely to have something in hearts and perhaps in clubs too.  Here is the whole hand.

S A107 HQ972 DAJ95 CK10
SJ86532 HA86 D62 C84 S9 HJ43 D10843 CQ7632
SKQ4  HK105   DKQ7  CAJ95


Jeff SmithDecember 5th, 2007 at 8:46 am

When partner is known to have a long suit of 5 or more cards, I have always played that hi and low are suit preference, and a middle card says please continue. On this hand I would have played the Jack to ask for a spade, your lowest spot to ask for a heart, and a middle card to say keep em coming!

Roy HughesDecember 5th, 2007 at 11:30 am

Jeff’s comment shows how important it is for partnerships to make an agreement, since otherwise it is possible for reasonable people to see things different ways. For me, attitude comes first, and since I play upside-down, I play low to encourage. If I am known to have 5 or more in the suit, then I play very high to suggest the higher side suit. Of course, this doesn’t cover every message you might want to send. You might want to be neutral, or suggest a trump shift. Sometimes you can do that by asking for a shift that doesn’t look urgent, like a shift to a strong suit in dummy.

If you play “right-side up”, you need to clarify whether extravagant high cards (kings, etc) are encouraging — they tend to look like suit preference.

lindaDecember 5th, 2007 at 3:20 pm

Thanks for the comments. I think we are going to follow this plan. In the case that we have a known long suit we are going to follow Jeff’s plan and in the case that we don’t then attitude is first, as Roy suggests. So if we have the chance to throw a very high card that probably suggests a shift to a high suit but otherwise partner has to work it out. You just can’t do everything with one card for signaling.

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