When playing bridge, players are not allowed to give body signals, such as a gasp, a wink or a nudge, and they are not allowed to throw their card on the table or give any sign of discussion or approval.
Players need to follow the leads and discards of their partner, as signalling in this manner is legal and proves to be most helpful in mounting a defense. Discards are the traffic lights of the hand and should state a desire to continue or stop a suit. A high card may indicate an interest to continue and a low card no interest in the suit.
If partner signals that he/she wants the suit continued, continue it even though this play does not look right to you, you have been asked and should comply as bridge is a partnership game.
There are different conventions that cover discarding — standard, odd even, upside-down, Smith echo, trump suit preference, Lavinthal, Foster echo — and these choices must be marked off on your convention card. But the most common is standard signalling; high to continue and low to change the suit.
In No Trump, when the ace of a suit is led, partner is required to discard his highest card in the suit. The king, queen, it does not matter, the ace lead unconditionally requires the discard, except when dummy shows that such a discard would cost a trick. Signalling at No Trump is slightly different as the defender is trying to set up his or his partner’s long suit or is trying to get into partner’s hand to trap declarer’s stopper. Sometimes players throw a high card to unblock a suit and sometimes they have to keep their high card and watch for a signal from partner to determine the action needed.
Signals can help the defense by getting a cross rough going and cross roughing is devastating to a declarer. They can help the declarer picture which defender has a certain card, so honing those communication skills is important to both declarer and defender.
The Bridge Bulletin publishes the American Contract Bridge League “Top 100 Lifetime Achievement Master List,” and players listed have an automatic entry into the Edgar Kaplan Blue Ribbon Pairs, from Nov. 24 to Dec. 4, at the Fall North American Bridge Championship Games in Seattle, Wash.
Jeff Meckstroth of Clearwater Beach tops the list, and Martin Baff, a Naples resident and member of the Naples Bridge Center, placed 70th on the list, with a lifetime total of 20,483.22 master points.
The Naples Bridge Center will have a 299’ers Sectional on Dec. 2 and 3 and a holiday party on Dec. 11 at the Royal Palms Country Club. For more information, call 455-4445.
The Bonita Bridge Club’s holiday party is Dec. 17 at Highland Woods Golf Club (call 495-9232 for more details), and the Bridge Deck Club’s is Dec. 7 at Eagle Creek Country Club (call Anne O’Connell at 261-6435). Reservations are required.