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ATTITUDE LEADS SHOULD BE BANNED?
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You was playing in an international tournament against a pair known to be not well concerned with ethics, to say the least, and in the middle of the match you got this hand as dealer:

Q 6 4

Q J

A 6

A Q J 10 6 3

You decided to open 1NT for good or bad, and after a normal Stayman inquiry from your partner 3NT was  the contract. A fast 7 was leaded from LHO (attitude leads against NT said their CC) and dummy's hand was exposed on the table.

North
K852
8653
KQJ
K2
South
Q64
QJ
A6
AQJ1063
W
N
E
S
1NT
P
2
P
2
P
3NT
P
P
P

You ordered to play the 2 from dummy and after some 10 seconds, RHO played also very fast A, followed by AK4 for West to overtake with the 9 and place the 10 in the table, one down. Thrilled by the precision showed by your RHO in finding the right defense, you asked to show his hand and congratulate him for his clever play at trick one and continuation in spite that his spades were AJ9.

After finishing the round, joining your team's partners in the coffee shop, you found that the team lose the match by 3 IMP's, mainly due to the result of this hand. How was it possible?, argued one of your friends, I also lead the 10 but the 8 in dummy protects the fifth trick, they just made the contract. What? you say, our opps did not lead the 10 but the 7 and the clever East won the Ace and shift to hearts taking  five defensive tricks. Hummm, this doesn't look normal let's see the hole hand, said your friend.

 

West
1073
10972
74
9875
North
K852
8653
KQJ
K2
East
AJ9
AK4
1098532
4
South
Q64
QJ
A6
AQJ1063
W
N
E
S
1NT
P
2
P
2
P
3NT
P
P
P
D
3NT South
NS: 0 EW: 0

The normal lead looks to be 10 unless the 7 is showing some kind of information for partner to being used in the count of the hand, and this is precisely what can happen when using attitude leads in defense, if the real information is not explicitly described in the Convention Card. As there is no showing of length in the suit leaded, anybody can take advantage of the system to send other kind of information at first trick just choosing one pip instead of other.

What if there is a defensive system in this hand for example, if West, with no points at all and knowing his partner has the hole responsibility in the defense of the contract leads his 4th suit, showing at the same time his even pattern in the other three suits?. Well, as East is looking four uneven sums of cards, suit by suit, between dummy and his hand, it's easy to deduce an even pattern in declarer's hand and his 4th suit also in spades. With such an extensive information at trick one, East knows that declarer's distribution is OEEE similar to your partner's one, with 3-2-4-4 or 3-2-2-6 as the two possibilities, so 9 or 10 tricks are at his disposal if you place the J on the table, while if you win the trick with A, you have 5 immediate tricks in defense, as declarer has only two cards in hearts and you partner four with the J9xx,  or 109xx, both of them taking four tricks in the red suit.

This kind of signals not exposed in the CC is something that should be analyzed in deep especially today, when we all bridge players in Bridge Winners are concerned with eliminating cheating and unethical behavior in bridge tournaments. I personally confronted very suspicious leads in South American championships in the late nineties with the argue that the opponents were leading the ultimate system in defense in those years, ATTITUDE LEADS, and still think that they are inappropriate to be used without a clear explanation of details.

Just something  to think my dear fellows.

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