Marty on Carding

 

LEADS VS SUITS

 

HONOR CARD LEADS

 

***** opening lead only *****

LEAD RUSINOW

 

Rusinow is totally unambiguous. We will play it all the way thru the 10/9. You always lead `9' from 10/9. Always! Rusinow only works if you can trust partner. When partner forgets and leads the 10 from 10/9 and declarer wins in hand with the `J', it's very frustrating. You lead `8' from 9/8 but partner doesn't have to believe an `8'.

When leading a suit either actually bid by partner, or implied as a suit of 5 cards or more, lead Standard American (Akx). The reason for this is that Rusinow is more accurate than Standard American only when you can trust partner. When we lead partner's suit against a suit contract, we want to lead J from Jxx. This will fit nicely into our system of top from 3 small. It also begins an upside-down count signal. Since we want to lead like that, we can't allow partner to trust us when leading his suit. If we play standard leads here, partner knows the highest card that we have. We seldom lead the 'A from Axx. This is because we lead third and low instead, just like in any other suit. Partner will always play the `K' (or `Q', from KQxxx) in the probability that we have the subordinate honor or length, and it's right to. This will put declarer to a heck of a guess at trick one if the `K' comes down in dummy, although sometimes he has no choice but to play it.

 

SPOT CARD LEADS

 

***** opening lead only *****

 

When leading low from appropriate strength holdings in suits of 3 or more cards, lead

3rd best from even suits

low from odd suits

This helps solve the ambiguity that exists when making normal 4th best leads. When you lead from a 3 card suit to the deuce, you lead the deuce, just as you would from 4 to the deuce. This 3rd best lead is often paired with so-called 5th best, as in `third & fifth'. Better yet is `third & low'. The advantage here is in leader being able to give partner count immediately whenever he leads a suit in which he has preempted. Partner knows immediately whether the weak-two was on a 5-bagger or the 3-club was a 6- bagger.

The only other thing to mention regarding third & low, the Rule of 12, the Rule of 10, and the Rule of 8 for 7 card suits. These are the magic numbers to use instead of the Rule of 11 for 4th best. The better thing to commit to memory is the generalization of the rule:(type of lead employed) + (the "Rule") = 15

Aha, the "RULE OF 15". Apply it whenever necessary; but you don't always need this information. For example, if partner preempts at the 3 level and leads a 2, 3, or 4 (or more if one of these cards are visible), it must be from a 7 card suit (7 + 8 = 15), so you must use the Rule of 8 to deduce declarers holding. Conversly, if partner's card is high, its a 6 card suit and you need to apply the Rule of 12 since his lead is 3rd best (12 + 3 = 15). It becomes easy.

 

***** subsequent leads *****

 

During the play of the hand, use 4th best

During the play of the hand, defenders have other motives for leading a new suit. It is more important to send a different message to partner - your attitude (spot size) about that suit, whether or not you want it returned, etc. The old 4th best leads accomplish this as well as providing some count information.

 

***** at all times: lead from 4+ worthless - use roman mud *****

Roman mud 2nd best, then 3rd best from even suits

2nd best, then low from odd suits

this caters to upside-down "present count"

 

 

LEADS VS NO TRUMP

 

HONOR CARD LEADS

 

Ace - honor or count

The ace asks for an honor (except Ax in partner's suit - partner will know). An honor, in this case, is 'A thru `J' only. If you don't have an honor, give count (upside-down, of course).

 

King - 2nd highest

The king asks for 2nd highest (except Kx as above) if you can afford it. When deciding borderline questions about `affording' it, remember that partner is waiting for your 2nd highest. The follow-up carding is just as important:

original holding next play next play

2 other

3 low high

4 third fourth

Next plays can always be changed if a different card is needed. Notice that subsequent carding is upside-down "present count".

 

Queen - drop the `J' or show attitude without the `J',

Follow-up carding will show remaining count.

 

Jack - denies any higher card; show attitude,

Follow-up carding will show remaining count.

 

Ten & nine - specifically 0 or 2 higher cards; show attitude,

Follow-up carding will show remaining count.

 

 

SPOT CARD LEADS

We lead 4th best

This is used instead of 3rd & low because there will be more times at `no trump' that you don't want to waste your 3rd best.

 

 

Following Suit

we use upside-down count & attitude -

 

Attitude

The idea, of course, is not to have to waste a high card in a suit in which we are interested. Therefore, we need only reverse the standard meaning of the spots and declare that high cards are discouraging and low cards are encouraging. The meaning of following suit with honor cards (jack thru ace) remains the same as standard.

 

Count -

It follows that if we play upsiode-down attitude, we must play upside-down count also. When partner leads the `K' against a suit contract and we have the 72, we want to play the 2 to encourage - remember, upside-down attitude. Therefore, if we must play the 2 then the 7 to show a doubleton, we are now playing upside-down count - low, high to show an even number. Conversly, high, low shows an odd number and we lead "top" from 3 small. But, we lead "low" from 3 to an honor.

A special situation develops when we lead "low" from qxx in partner's suit and a doubleton appears in dummy. Your low spot lead is a come-on to partner because he knows that you've either led from a doubleton or qxx. If partner has a 5-card suit all will be well if he wins the a,K and leads a third round. But, if he has a 6-card suit, it will be ruff/sluff time if you have led from qxx. This means we must communicate. Third-hand, when winning partner's low spot lead with akxxx or akxxxx, must signal length by playing `a,K,x' with 5 (high-low - odd number) - or - `K,a,x' with 6 (low-high - even number). Thus, assuming we led `x' from qxx and partner wins the `K' and then plays the `a', we must drop the `Q' to show that it will be ruff/sluff time if he leads it again. We could not have started with qx as we would have led the `Q' from this holding - remember - upside-down is for spot cards only.

Another word regarding count - "present (or remaining) count". There are often occassions when we do not give count until the second time a suit is led. At these times, always! Give present (or remaining) count - the number of cards that you currently hold when starting your count signal... Not how many you started with.

 

COUNT, ATTITUDE, OR SUIT-PREFERENCE?

 

COUNT situations

 

1.When following suit with a spot card when declarer (or dummy) leads to a trick.

2.When following to trick one and the situation is one in which you cannot have a good attitude - e.g. Partner leads `K' and dummy hits with qxx.

 

 

ATTITUDE situations

 

1.When following to partner's lead and you are not playing the highest card (of the 3 played).

 

 

SUIT-PREFERENCE situations

 

When following suit to a trick that has just been ruffed by either declarer or dummy, or on partner's winner when dummy plays its last card of the suit and can ruff the next lead. Obviously, partner has to be aware that your choices may be limited.

There are other general situations which can be defined - if you want to jot them down and discuss them i'll inset them into this section.

 

DISCARDING VS. SUIT CONTRACTS

 

WE USE ODD/EVEN -

All odd spot cards are encouraging in the suit of the discard. All even spot cards are encouraging in either the higher or lower of the remaining suits, disregarding the trump suit and the discarded suit.

This means that each suit has 3 ways of being signaled; e.g., spades are trump:

Interest

Discard

Discard

 Discard

Hearts

Odd Heart High Even Diamond High Even Club

Diamonds

High Even Heart Odd Diamond Low Even Club

Clubs

Odd Club Low Even Diamond Low Even Club

 

These signals have just the same meaning as a standard signal; they tell partner that you have an interest in a particular suit - normally a lead indication. The only difference is that we have much greater flexibility than standard carding - we can use any suit and therfore won't be forced to signal with a card that we can't afford or to signal with a card which is hard to read. Using odd/even, cards which are hard to read are indicative of "no preference". "hard to read" cards must, by definition, be middle even cards.

Honor card discards retain their standard meaning, depending on context.

 

DISCARDING VS. NO TRUMP

WE USE LAVINTHAL

 

All spot cards (odd or even) are encouraging in either the higher or lower of the remaining suits, disregarding the suit led and the discarded suit.

This means that each suit has 2 ways of being signaled; e.g., spades are led:

Interest

Discard

Discard

Hearts

High Diamond High Club

Diamonds

High Heart Low Club

Clubs

Low Heart Low Diamond

 

These signals have just the same meaning as a standard signal; they tell partner that you have an interest in a particular suit - normally a lead indication. The only difference is that we have greater flexibility than standard carding - we can use either of two suits and therfore won't be forced to signal with a card that we can't afford or to signal with a card which is hard to read. Using Lavinthal, cards which are hard to read are indicative of "no preference". "Hard to read" cards must, by definition, be middle spot cards.

Honor card discards retain their standard meaning, depending on context.