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Cullin formed the following hypothesis about how Fisher-Schwartz signal for opening lead:

The partner of the opening leader always controls the tray if they are on defense.  If he has no preference, he leaves the tray where it is.  If he has a preference, he removes the tray and places the board on the table.  The placement of the board signifies his preference as follows:

Spades: The board is pushed toward the opening leader.

Hearts: The board is placed on one side of the table.

Diamonds: The board is placed in the middle of the table.

Clubs: The board is kept on the side of the non opening leader.

Here is a board-by-board breakdown of what I observed from the video of the Israel-Norway match in the 2014 European Championship.  This was a good match to illustrate, since Fisher-Schwartz were on defense 10 of the 16 hands.  I will be adding in information from other matches when I get the chance.

I think it is very important to observe not only what Fisher-Schwartz are doing when they are giving a signal, but what they do when they are not giving a signal.  This gives us a comparison against their normal behavior.  A change in mannerism may be an indication of what mechanism they are using for signaling.

For example, I noticed the following:  When the final pass was made on Schwartz's side of the screen, he and his screenmate would scoop up their bids and then Schwartz would shove the tray over to Fisher's side.  This is all routine -- everybody does this.

Next, Fisher and his screenmate would scoop up their bids.  Again normal.

What would happen now with most pairs would be that either the tray is left alone, maybe a slight shove into the center of the table, or perhaps it is picked up at that point.  But with Fisher something very unusual happens:

When Fisher was on opening lead, he would always give the tray a big shove to get it to the other side of the screen.  This wasn't a little shove.  It was the type of shove one would normally make during the auction when the tray is being moved to the other side.  Apparently he felt he needed to do this so Schwartz would be able to remove the tray and give the lead signal.  This happened only when Fisher was on opening lead.  Under other circumstances, he would either do nothing or pick up the tray himself.

Another point:  On all of the 6 hands where Fisher-Schwartz were declarer, Fisher was the one who removed the tray -- even when the tray landed on Schwartz's side of the table.  There is nothing unusual about that -- in fact, it is normal for one member of the partnership to be the designated tray remover. But what is very important to notice is that on all of these hands Fisher placed the board right in the center of the table (the normal board placement).  On the hands where Schwartz was on opening lead, Fisher never placed it there unless giving a diamond signal.

I'm sure there are other changes in mannerisms which can be spotted by careful watching of the videos.  When a consistent pattern is found, that will be an indication of a signal being given.  It wouldn't surprise me if Cullen was able to break their code by first noticing such changes in mannerisms.

I will construct a table showing what I observed on each board.  I don't know how to construct pretty tables in the article, so we will have to live with my ugly table.

Column 1:  Board number

Column 2:  N or E, designating whether N-S or E-W is the declarer.  Schwartz was always North, Fisher South.

Column 3:  The player (F or S for Fisher or Schwartz) on whose side of the screen the board was after the bids were scooped up.  This would be the opposite side of the screen from the player making the final pass.

Column 4:  The player who is the partner of the opening leader, and thus would be giving the signal.  This is applicable only when FS are on defense.

Column 5:  The player who picks up the tray

Column 6:  The suit which I personally would have signaled for (N for no preference).  If there is a question mark, that means I wasn't sure.  Applicable only when FS are on defense.  

Column 7:  The suit for which a signal is observed.  Applicable only when FS are on defense.

Column 8:  The time on the video when the tray is picked up.

Board Declaring side Player with board last 3rd hand Player who takes tray Kit's signal Player's signal Timestamp

17 E F S S H? H 10:40

18 N F F 23:50

19 E S F F C C 30:50

20 N S F 36:27

21 N S F 43:59

22 N S F 57:06

23 E F F F H H 1:07:44

24 E S S S H H 1:12:05

25 E S S F X X 1:18:30

26 E S F F S? S 1:21:50

27 E F S S H H 1:27:58

28 E F F F C C 1:30:57

29 E F F F H? H 1:37:23

30 N F F 1:42:34

31 E F S S H? N 1:48:02

32 N F F 1:51:54

 

The following pages contain my comments on each board.  These are my observations and opinions, not facts.  The table above has all unquestionable facts, except for my opinion of what would be signaled for and my observation of what signal was given.

Charlsen
K102
Q1052
1093
A96
Schwartz
65
KJ873
54
KQ107
Hoftaniska
AJ4
A9
QJ76
J832
Fisher
Q9873
64
AK82
54
W
N
E
S
P
1
1
X
XX
1NT
P
P
P
D
17
1NT East
NS: 0 EW: 0
6
2
3
9
2
0
1
1

Board 17:  (Note: this board was incorrectly recorded in BBO vugraph but a commenter found the correct deal; see comments.)

East is declarer in 1NT.

Fisher is on lead.  The tray was on Fisher's side of the screen after the bids were scooped up, and Fisher shoved the tray over to Schwartz's side of the screen -- the pattern I noticed when Fisher is on lead and the tray ends on his side.  

What followed was very interesting.  At 10:40, the East defender grabbed the tray before Schwartz could get his hands on it.  You can see Schwartz reaching for the tray but being a little slow.  However that didn't stop Schwartz.  As East was pulling the tray in preparation for lifting it, Schwartz took the board out of the tray.  That is a very unnatural thing to do.  Normally the player who removes the tray is the one who places the board back on the table.

The board was placed in the heart signal position.

What Schwartz should signal for is unclear between a heart or a club.  But a heart looks like a reasonable choice since it is a 5-card suit.  

Fisher led a heart. 

 

Summary: A heart signal was observed, and third hand might reasonably signal for a heart lead with this hand. (Running total: 1/1)

Charlsen
QJ65
83
Q1096
J85
Schwartz
73
AKQJ5
K5
7643
Hoftaniska
1082
10762
84
AKQ10
Fisher
AK94
94
AJ732
92
W
N
E
S
P
P
P
4
P
P
P
D
18
4 North
NS: 0 EW: 0
A
1

Board 18:  Fisher-Schwartz declare.  At 23:50, Fisher removes the tray, and places the board in the center of the table.

 

Summary: No signal was given since F/S were declaring.  (Running total: 1/1) 

Charlsen
A9
KQ73
AK103
982
Schwartz
872
10942
QJ5
J107
Hoftaniska