Quick summary

After partner's lead in a new suit

Tell him about your attitude to his lead:

If you use the opposite signals, "reverse attitude" ("Low-Like High-Hate"), agree with partner first!

But after Declarer's lead DON'T reveal your "attitude" . Instead, tell your partner how many cards you have in that suit (give "count"):

Partner might even remember, when it's time for a ruff. . ...


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Example Deal

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Signals & discards. "Attitude"

Partner leads a new suit with a high card

Does it matter which low card you play ?

There's more than one 'attitude' language, just as with 'discarding'

  1. HELD
  2. LowLike HighHate (reverse HELD)

What exactly do we mean by 'Low' and 'High'?. Take a look at the definition


Why "HELD"? High=Encourage Low=Discourage.

Let's you've agreed with your partner that this is the language you use (and not the other one that has the exact opposite meaning!).

If you want your partner to carry on playing the same suit, then play 'High' to "Encourage" this suit, would you believe it. If you don't want them to carry on playing this lousy suit, play 'Low' to Discourage".

This is the same as one of the signal languages that can be used when 'discarding'

Consider this example, where partner leads Aheart, and thereby promising you the Khearttoo. You can encourage him to play again, or to avoid it, as follows:

  1. holding heartQ104, play the 10
  2. holding heartJ4, play the J
  3. holding heart974, play the 4

In the first case, after leading his Ace, partner will notice your encouragement and then, after leading his King, will lead another heart so that you can win the third trick with the Queen.

In the second example, after leading his Ace, partner will notice your encouragement and then, after leading his King, will lead another heart so that you can win the third trick by ruffing.

In the third case, being observant of the low card that you chose to play after his first lead, your partner will not rely on you to win the next heart trick, and will probably switch to another suit.

But what if none of my cards seem appropriate?

Obviously, you don't always have a choice of which card to play. In that case, try not to mislead your partner. For example, if you wish to discard high in order to encourage a particular suit, but if you also need to retain this high card for later powerful use, then you might be able to choose a 'Low' in another suit, rather than be forced to mislead partner by playing low in the suit you're actually trying to encourage.

Reverse attitude

The problem with playing the 10 in example 1 above is that the 10 could quite easily be a useful card. It might be that throwing this 10 on a winning Queen might defeat the purpose of the signal. For this reason some advanced players prefer a different system, "Reverse attitude" ("Low-Like High-Hate"), which statistically gives better results; in this example they would throw the 4 to "encourage", and keep the 10 for later use. Throwing the 10 would be a "discouraging signal".

It's quite easy to switch to reverse attitude, but needless to say it's important to agree this with your partner !

Alternatively, use the HELD method described above, and play low in a different suit.

Is it the same when Declarer leads a suit ?

No, tell partner about your count, not your attitude.

(But yes, it does still matter which low card you play !)



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