Ever since the game of bridge, in whatever form, has been played, the object of the defenders during the play period has been to employ defense methods in order to communicate information to partner via a play of a card. This action can also occur with the play of the very first card to the very first trick, which is called the lead.
If a defender is not able to play to the suit, which has been led, then the partner can play a card, which may carry certain information. This card is called a discard. These cards constitute the act of carding, the act of signaling, and which should be a part of the agreement formed by the partnership. Certain information is attached to the significance of this particular card and pertinent, vital information is communicated via this card.
The attempt has been made to list various carding methods, to present discarding methods, and to provide the information in the best possible and most accurate manner.
This method of discarding or signaling partner at the bridge table was devised by Mr. Kai Bechgaard of South Africa. These signals include a delayed signal to show suit length, a continued signal to show suit length, and a double signal to show suit length.
Most of the information contained here is from the book Count Coded Leads, published by Mr. Jerry Fink and Mr. Joe Lutz. The origin of the designation Cincinnati Leads is unknown; otherwise the preferable designation is Count Coded Leads. Some references also designate this carding method as American Leads Convention Cincinnati Style.
The Cooper Echo was devised by Mr. Peter Cooper of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The concept behind the Cooper Echo is, simply stated, information passed to the partner of the declarer, or the dummy, that the contract will be made. This is the only information passed by the declarer, perhaps for the reason of assuring the partner that the contract will make. The Cooper Echo does not automatically establish a claim in any form by the declarer of a certain number of tricks and/or overtricks.
Finch Discard Signal System
This is a carding method registered in the year 1981 with the English Bridge Union. This is information contributed and authored by Mr. Alan Finch and is presented in a .pdf file format, which will be opened by your browser automatically in a new window.
Journalist Leads - Journalist Lead
The term Journalist seems to stem from a series of articles in the respected Bridge Journal in the United States. While these leads were popularized by the Bridge Journal in the 1960s, they were described earlier by Mr. Helge Vinje of the Oslo Academic Bridge Club.
These suit preference signals were devised and developed by Mr. Hy Lavinthal, who was born in the year 1894 and died in the year 1972. he concept and the principle of such suit preference signals began to be employed as early as 1933.
Obvious Shift Principle
A carding method from A Switch in Time by Pamela and Matthew Granovetter. At Trick 1, partner of opening leader compares the led suit and obvious shift suit. Encouragement, upside-down or standard, denies tolerance for the obvious shift suit. Discouragement actively confirms tolerance for the obvious shift suit. This applies whether opening leader will maintain the lead or not.
Rusinow Leads - Rusinow Lead
The principle behind Rusinow Leads is simply the leading of the second-ranking of touching honors. Rusinow Leads are used only on the first trick against a suit contract in a suit, which the partner has not bid during the auction, if at all. It is uncommon to employ the Rusinow Leads also against a No Trump contract since the purpose of the lead against a No Trump contract is entirely different in nature, but it is not illegal.
This designation is otherwise known as Informative Discard From a Sequence. The origin of this discarding method is unknown, although there is a strong argument that the method has been adopted from developments practiced in the early days of the game of Whist and integrated into the game of bridge at an early stage of the evolution of duplicate bridge.
Smith Signals - Smith Echo
The Smith Signal is sometimes attributed to Mr. T .R. H. Lyons of England, but the concept was mainly devised and developed by Mr. I. G. Smith of England, who published the elements of this defense concept in the British Bridge World magazine in 1963, and for whom the concept is designated.
Summary of Defensive Signaling
There are many ways to indicate, show, promise and inform a partner by the lead of a certain card or via a discard of a specific card the expectation of the ensuing play. These defense signals have a definite meaning and belong in every partnership agreement.
Upside Down Count
This designation applies to a carding and/or discarding method, which communicates certain information to a bridge partner. The origin is unknown, but this particular method has gained popularity with the bridge community. The name of this carding method is also referred to sometimes as reverse signals.
This method of signaling the partner is credited to Mr. Karl Schneider, but was apparently first published by Mr. E. K. O'Brien in a The Bridge World magazine article published in 1937. Regarding defensive card play, playing upside-down reverses the traditional meaning. Therefore, playing an upside-down attitude means that a low card encourages the continuation, and/or per partnership agreement a shift to an indicated suit, whereas a high card discourages such action. An upside-down count means that a low card shows an even number of cards, whereas a high card shows an odd number of cards.
The main theoretical advantage of this method is that a player may not have the opportunity to discard a high card from a strong holding, which could eventually also become a trick-taking winner. A second, possible advantage to this method is that it is more difficult for the declarer to falsecard effectively, and that a single discard signal during the defense may be clearer than with other methods of signaling.
Note: Mr. Alan Truscott, in his bridge column for The New York Times, dated and published September 18, 1966, writes that this concept dates back to the days of Whist, and its prototype was originated by Lord Henry Bentinck in 1834. This bridge column has only been preserved and archived in .pdf file format on this site for future reference.
Note: The family portrait of Lord William Henry Cavendish-Bentinck, born in the year 1774 and died in the year 1839, is presented below as he stood in his royal uniform of a britisher General and Statesman.
In his book, New Ideas in Defensive Play in Bridge, Mr. Helge Vinje of the Oslo Academic Bridge Club devised a series of defensive signals, which pinpoint distributions and situations that are somewhat ambiguous in standard signaling.
If you wish to include this feature, or any other feature, of the game of bridge in your partnership agreement, then please make certain that the concept is understood by both partners. Be aware whether or not the feature is alertable or not and whether an announcement should or must be made. Check with the governing body and/or the bridge district and/or the bridge unit prior to the game to establish the guidelines applied. Please include the particular feature on your convention card in order that your opponents are also aware of this feature during the bidding process, since this information must be made known to them according to the Laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge. We do not always include the procedure regarding Alerts and/or Announcements, since these regulations are changed and revised during time by the governing body. It is our intention only to present the information as concisely and as accurately as possible.
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