Join Bridge Winners
Asking About Uncommon Defensive Agreements

Here's a hypothetical situation I thought up, curious how everyone would handle it. During the first day of a national pairs event you're declaring a notrump contract.  LHO leads a low card in an unbid suit and your holding is 




Let's suppose that bridge logic dictates that you play the Q from dummy and that RHO plays low.  If your RHO gave a (presumably negative) attitude signal on this trick, you need to play the J, since you are known to hold that card, and LHO might play you for AJ later.  If your RHO gave a count signal on this trick, you need to play the T, since if you play the J, LHO will know you don't hold AJ from the count and will conclude that you hold AJT at least.  AFAIK, there is (at this level anyway) no clear standard for what RHO's card means here, so I don't think you could be sure without asking.  There are two problems with asking:

1) It may let the opponents get on the same page about what RHO's card means.  Yes this *shouldn't* ever happen, but in practice it does, even if it's just firming up what one or both opponents thought the agreement "probably" was.  I feel like many players wouldn't even realize there was an infraction, and it's pretty much impossible to police.

2) Asking before you play to the trick implies that you care about the answer, and thus gives away information about your hand.  Is it even ethical to ask about the meaning of RHO's card before you play from, say, AJ tight?  I'm not sure, but it seems like it would be at best shady.   It seems like a wary opponent could deduce your holding, particularly if you're going to be playing the J.  Even if you could think ahead and ask before playing from dummy, it seems like this implication would still be there.

Maybe this is much ado about nothing, but I thought it was interesting that your correct play depends on an agreement your opponents might not even have, and frustrating that it seems like that there's no good way to get that information.  Falsecarding a spot card frequently depends on whether your opponents are playing upside down or standard, but it's totally normal to ask about that at T1 so it seems like this is different.  


Getting Comments... loading...

Bottom Home Top