Online Practice with Defensive Signals

Best eBridge Defensive Signals

This Guide shows how to make and receive defensive signals that conform to Audrey Grant (AG) and Best eBridge (BeB) systems. You may practice such bidding at BeB. Most signals in this Guide would be the same whether made from AG’s Defense or BeB’s principles. You may receive a 1-month free BeB membership by registering with this link: https://bestebridge.com/?lps=70001234.

You may download this lesson: BeB Signals for Blog

Attitude Signals

1st Lead by Left Hand Opponent (LHO)

  1. RHO’s Long Suit: LHO is encouraged to lead a suit bid by RHO. However, LHO should not expect an attitude signal from RHO. The most important action by LHO is to unblock, meaning that LHO must save a low card for their last play in the suit. By playing low on their last card, LHO ensures that RHO will win the lead and can continue the suit. Leading RHO’s suit is acceptable for all contracts. Even if Declarer can overtrump, Declarer may be in a “trump promotion” dilemma where Declarer either trumps high but promotes a trump in Opponents, or trumps low and loses the trick. See Hands 3, 10, 13.
  2. 3-Card Honor (3ch) Sequence: LHO has 3 of a suit’s top five honors. These honors may be solid, such as AKQ; broken, such as AKJ; or interior, such as AQJ. The correct lead is the highest touching honor. The lead would be the underlined card. Leading from a 3ch sequence is acceptable for all contracts. See Hands 1, 2, 5, 7, 9.
  3. 2ch Sequence: LHO has 2 of a suit’s top five honors. These honors are touching. The only examples on BeB are leads from AK. Leading from a 2ch sequence is acceptable for suit contracts but not for notrump contracts. See Hands 3, 4, 6, 10.
  4. LHO’s Long Suit: LHO has a 4c+ suit. This suit does not have a 3ch or 2ch lead. LHO leads the 4th best card in the suit. Leading from 4th best is acceptable for all contracts. LHO with a long suit generally does not expect an attitude signal, but would certainly welcome a 3rd-Hand High play. None of the BeB hands shows a 4th-best lead. See the count signals for 4th-best leads.
  5. Singleton: LHO may lead a singleton under exceptional circumstances. LHO seeks a ruff. Remember that the average singleton has a 5, 6, or 7 spot value. Declarer will win such a low lead, pull trumps, and thus defeat the purpose of the singleton lead. However, if LHO has either the Ax or Kxx of trumps, there is hope for a ruff. LHO makes their singleton lead, RHO recognizes it as a singleton, and RHO signals suit preference, not attitude. When Declarer starts to pull trumps, LHO wins with the A or K, leads to RHO’s entry, and RHO returns the lead suit for a ruff. See Hand 8.

1st Signal by Right Hand Opponent (RHO)

  1. High Honor: RHO signals a positive attitude if RHO holds a useful honor. A useful honor would be an A, K, Q, or J that would qualify as a touching honor if it were held by LHO. RHO knows that LHO will lead the highest touching honor from a 3ch or 2ch sequence. RHO will respond positively if RHO holds the next higher honor or the 2nd lower honor. Any other honor holding would be evidence of a gap, with Declarer likely to hold this gap card. If LHO were to continue, Declarer’s gap card would be promoted to a ranking card. RHO shows their holding of an honor within two of the honor led by signaling with a 9, 8, 7, or their closest match (say a T or 6). See Hands 1, 2, 3, 5, 10, 11.
  2. No High Honor: RHO may not hold an honor within two of the honor led. In this case, RHO signals negatively with a 4, 3, 2, or their closest match (say a 5). See Hands 4, 6, 7, 9.
  3. LHO’s Long Suit: LHO may lead their own long suit, RHO’s bid suit, or RHO’s hidden suit. In all three cases, the short side must win the initial tricks, then transfer the lead to the long side. The short side will reserve their lowest card to use for this transfer. On the lead, the short side must play 3rd Hand High or, if this is impossible or duplicative, signal their positive attitude. A long suit is always useful in a notrumps contract, and may be useful as a forcing defense in a suit contract. See Hands 3, 10.
  4. LHO’s Short Suit: LHO may lead a suit that was not bid by Defenders. The lead may or may not match traditional leads such as an honor or a 4th best. The lead suit will likely be a long suit in Dummy. In this case, the lead is shortage. RHO signals suit preference. If RHO signals with a high card (9, 8, 7), they have an entry in a high-ranking suit. If RHO signals with a low card (4, 3, 2), they have an entry in a low-ranking suit. Two suits don’t count in the ranking: trumps and the current lead. That leaves only two suits, with the high one signaled by a 9, 8, 7, and the low one signaled by a 4, 3, 2. See Hands 8, 9.

2nd Lead by LHO

  1. High Honor: RHO signaled a positive attitude. Both Defenders will continue the suit at each opportunity. Whichever Defender is short should unblock. If trumps were a misfit, then either RHO or LHO may be long in trumps and may be forcing Declarer to ruff, so that the long Defender can gain control of trumps. See Hands 1, 2, 3, 5, 10, 12.
  2. No High Honor: RHO signaled a negative attitude. LHO will discontinue the suit. LHO may pick any other reasonable suit to lead. RHO will continue to signal attitude with the new suits. If RHO gains the lead, RHO may lead the original suit through Declarer’s strength up to LHO. Another possibility is that RHO will shift suits. If RHO does shift suits, then the partnership should give preference to the new suit rather than to the original lead. See Hands 4, 6, 7, 9.
  3. LHO Seeks a Ruff: LHO may know at the original lead that they want a ruff. RHO should show a suit preference. Now LHO leads to the suit preferred by RHO. If RHO wins the trick, RHO will play the original suit so that LHO may ruff it. Another possibility is that RHO signaled a negative attitude on the lead, so LHO switched to shortage. LHO unblocked in their short suit, then led the short suit again. RHO should win the continuance to send a ruff in the short suit to LHO. See Hands 8, 9.

BeB Hands (You are always LHO. Declarer is either W or E.)

  • Hand 1: 4♠ Contract. 1♦-P-1♠-P-2♠-P-4♠. LHO leads the K from a broken sequence. RHO has the gap card, so signals. A high spot card that is not an honor is a signal of positive attitude. LHO continues. RHO plays 3rd hand high (3hh). Whenever RHO gains the lead, RHO returns LHO’s suit.
  • Hand 2: 4♥ Contract. 1♥-P-3♦-P-4♥. LHO leads K from a broken sequence. RHO has the gap card, so signals. On the 2nd round, RHO plays high from their remaining doubleton. If Declarer ducks, these established tricks win immediately for Defense. If Declarer does not duck, these promoted tricks win later for Defense.
  • Hand 3: 3NT contract. 1♦-P-2♣-P-2N-P-3N. LHO leads top of AK major-suit tripleton to get a peek. From the bidding, Defenders know the Declarer does not have majors (otherwise contract would be 4M). RHO signals a high honor. LHO runs their two high cards, then transfers to RHO so that RHO can run the suit.
  • Hand 4: 4♥ contract. 1♥-P-1♠-P-1N-4♥. LHO leads top of AK minor suit to get a peek. Opponents have bid 2 suits. RHO has no high honor in the minor, so discourages. When RHO regains the lead, RHO plays as high as possible to trap the Declarer’s honor.
  • Hand 5: 4♠ contract. 1♦-P-1♠-P-2♠-P-4♠. LHO leads the K from a broken-sequence. This is a good lead in a suit contract. LHO should not lead from a singleton honor. RHO holds the gap card, so plays high to indicate a high honor. The attitude signal tells LHO that a continuation will not set up a Declarer trick. LHO continues each time LHO gets the lead.
  • Hand 6: 4♠ contract. 1♣-P-1♦-P-1♠-P-4♠. LHO leads top of an AK sequence. RHO knows the gap card (Q) is missing, so discourages. However, each time RHO is on lead, RHO returns the suit to trap the gap card.
  • Hand 7: 4♥ contract. 1♥-P-2♣-P-3♣-P-4♥. LHO leads the K from a broken sequence. The lead indicates either KQJ solid or KQT broken. Two honors (AJ) are missing. If LHO were to continue, this would promote the J to a winner. RHO can’t help, so discourages with a low spot card to show no high honor. When RHO regains the lead, RHO plays a spot card to trap the gap card.
  • Hand 8: 5♣ contract. 1♦-P-2♣-P-3♣-P-5♣. LHO leads a low spot card in a suit bid by Declarers. This could be shortage. RHO has an entry in a side suit, so shows suit preference. LHO leads RHO’s entry suit to get a ruff.
  • Hand 9: 4♥ contract. 1♥-P-2♣-P-2♥-P-4♥. LHO leads top of JT9. The lead works only if RHO has a high honor. RHO has no high honor, so signals no high honor. LHO must shift strategies, in this case to shortage. When LHO regains the lead, LHO plays high from a doubleton, winning as RHO ducks. RHO wins the next round and LHO ruffs the last round.
  • Hand 10: 4♥ contract. 1♥-P-2♥-P-4♥. LHO leads top of an AK tripleton. RHO has 4 trumps, so best play will be a forcing defense. RHO signals a high honor by playing a high spot card. RHO holds up on trumps until Dummy is void, then wins with a high trump and returns LHO’s lead. Declarer is forced to trump each time RHO leads LHO’s suit. Later, RHO wins with the last trump and switches again to LHO’s suit.
  • Hand 11: 4♠ contract. 1N-P-2♣-P-2♠-P-4♠. LHO leads a probable doubleton. RHO can win, but desires to win the 2nd round. RHO ducks the 1st round with an encouraging card. When LHO regains the lead, RHO wins and return the suit for a ruff.
  • Hand 12: 4♠ contract. 1♦-P-1♠-P-2♠-P-4♠. LHO leads a probable doubleton. RHO signals attitude with an encouraging card. RHO ruffs the 3rd round. In this case, RHO has a pair of high trumps. Declarer is caught in trump promotion. Declarer can ruff high, but in doing so promotes one of Opponents’ trumps, or Declarer can ruff low and lose this trick.
  • Hand 13: 4♠ contract. 2♥-2♠-P-3♠-P-4♠. LHO leads high in RHO’s preempt. RHO encourages. RHO wins the 2nd round, cashes their honors, and sends a ruff to LHO.

Count Signals

Basic Defense

  1. RHO Guards Dummy: If RHO gains the lead, but is endplayed in the sense that RHO holds a gap honor card to every Dummy tenaces or void, then RHO should play passively. A return of trumps is an excellent play in this situation. So is the return of a suit in which both LHO and Dummy are void, as LHO will trump, Dummy will overtrump, and Declarer will not get a sluff/ruff combination. See Hands 2, 17.
  2. LHO has Led RHO’s Suit: If LHO has led a suit suggested by RHO, that lead will show count. If the count indicates that RHO can set the contract by running winners, then RHO should do this even if such play promotes Declarer’s remaining cards to winners. See Hand 4.
  3. Trust Partner: Declarer may falsecard. If given a choice between the information in Declarer’s play and Partner’s signals, trust Partner. See Hand 17.
  4. Tell Partner: LHO may seem capable of setting the contract. RHO can show suit preference if RHO has a ranking card. However, rather than showing suit preference, RHO should overtake one of LHO’s leads, run their winners (such as Aces), and return the lead to LHO. See Hand 18.
  5. Just One Count: Once a partner has shown count, there is no purpose in repeating. On the second opportunity to signal, the partner should show suit preference for any suit in which the partner has ranking cards. That is, signals in order are attitude, count, suit preference. See Hand 19.
  6. LHO Wants Two Ruffs: If RHO’s count shows that RHO is now void, LHO should lead a card that signals suit preference. RHO will take the ruff, then return the lead in LHO’s preferred suit so that the partnership can attempt a second ruff. See Hand 20.
  7. Declarer in NT has Stoppers: If Declarer has bid NT, then Declarer probably has stoppers in all suits not bid by Dummy. A RHO should not play unnecessarily high on a trick if RHO expects Declarer to win the trick anyway. See Hand 3.
  8. Declarer is on Lead: Whenever Declarer opens a new suit, Opponents who are not winning the trick should give count. This assists the other Opponent in knowing when to win in the suit, and what suit to hold if squeezed. See Hands 6, 10, 11, 12, 23
  9. NT Entries: The lead suit becomes Opponent’s primary suit. RHO should lead the suit whenever gaining the lead. LHO may also lead the suit whenever gaining the lead, but this is more complicated, as LHO may not have sufficient entries to promote and run the suit, so will require RHO to provide some of the entries. See Hands 9, 10, 11, 13, 14
  10. Dummy Has Length and an Entry: Whenever Dummy shows promise for Declarer making the contract, Defenders priority should be the elimination of Dummy’s entry. Only after the entry is gone should Defenders consider stranding the long suit. See Hand 12.
  11. LHO Can Duck: If LHO cannot promote the lead suit without voiding RHO, then LHO should duck the return. This will save an entry in RHO. If RHO gains the lead, RHO will lead the suit through Declarer’s strength. See Hand 16.
  12. RHO is Very Weak: There is not much purpose in RHO’s signals. LHO can tell from the bidding and their own hand that RHO has nothing. On the lead, RHO can show a positive attitude on an honor lead, or true count on a 4th-best lead. RHO should make no further signals for the remainder of the hand, as Declarer will read these and know to finesse LHO. A weak RHO should play passively, but maintain length in any of Declarer’s or Dummy’s long suits to prevent these from being run. A strong LHO who requires leads from RHO should also play passively, hoping that a frustrated Declarer rather than a weak RHO will lead into LHO’s strong suit. See Hands 9, 15, 21, 22.

Count Signals if Declarer is in a Suit Contract

  1. LHO Leads an A or K: A lead of an Ace suggests an AK sequence. RHO gives count. RHO must save their lowest card to play last. This means that when holding a doubleton, RHO may need to overtake LHO’s lead, then return the suit. RHO may hold winners in their own hand, and should on the second round of LHO’s suit signal a suit preference for how LHO can reach RHO’s winners. It is unlikely that Declarer will permit 3 rounds of LHO’s suit, so LHO should welcome a shift on the third round. See Hands 1, 2, 5, 8, 17, 18, 19, 20.
  2. LHO Leads RHO’s Suit: RHO may have suggested a lead by bidding a suit or by doubling. LHO should lead the suggested suit, with the lead itself showing count (ie, Hi-Lo or Lo-Hi). See Hand 4.

Count Signals if Declarer is in a NT Contract

  1. LHO Leads Top of Sequence: LHO may lead the top of a 3c solid, broken, or interior sequence. If Dummy or RHO has one of the required cards in the sequence, then LHO has something else. For instance, if Dummy has the K, then a lead of J is not an interior sequence of KJT; it is either a solid or broken sequence if it is not shortage. An Ace lead in NT asks for an attitude signal. A King lead in NT asks RHO to drop and honor, or not holding an honor, to signal count. See Hands 3, 11, 13, 14, 21.
  2. LHO Leads 4th Best: With nothing better to lead, LHO will lead 4th best from a long suit. RHO will play 3rd Hand High, or signal. RHO can give count on the 1st round if weak, otherwise on the 2nd-round return. This suit is now Opponent’s primary suit. RHO should lead the suit whenever gaining the lead. LHO may also lead the suit whenever gaining the lead, but this is more complicated, as LHO may not have sufficient entries to promote and run the suit, so will require RHO to provide some of the entries. See Hands 6, 7, 9, 10, 12, 15, 16, 22.

BeB Hands (You are always LHO. Declarer is either W or E.)

  • Hand 1: 4♠ Contract. 1♠-2♣-3♣-P-4♠. LHO’s lead of an A suggests a K. With a doubleton, RHO signals count with Hi-Lo.
  • Hand 2: 4♠ Contract. 1♠-3♥-4♥-P-4♠. Like Hand 1, RHO shows count when LHO leads an A. If RHO gains the lead, but has nothing but the gap cards in Dummy’s tenaces, then RHO should return a safe suit such as trumps.
  • Hand 3: 3NT contract. 1NT-P-3NT. A lead of a J is probably from JT9 since Dummy has the K. In NT, expect Declarer to have a high card in any suit not bid by Dummy. If that high card will win, then RHO should not play unnecessarily high. RHO needs to retain any ranking honors that guard Dummy’s lower honors.
  • Hand 4: 5♠ contract. 1♠-P-4♠-4NT-5♠-P-P-X. LHO will lead from one of Doubler’s suits, and show count. RHO should use the count to set the contract. RHO should not be concerned that taking their QT will promote Declarer’s winners, rather RHO should set the contact before Declarer can discard losers.
  • Hand 5: 6♥ contract. 1♠-2♥-P-3♥-P-4NT-P-5♦-P-6♥. If LHO leads a partnership-bid suit, then RHO gives count.
  • Hand 6: 3NT contract. 2NT-P-3NT. With nothing better, LHO leads 4th best. RHO plays 3rd hand high (3hh), but gives count on the 2nd round. When Declarer leads a new suit, 2nd hand gives count so that 4th hand knows when to win the final round.
  • Hand 7: 3NT contract. 1♠-P-2♦-P-3♦-P-3NT. With nothing better, LHO leads 4th best. RHO wins, and gives remaining count on the return (in this case, playing low from 3 additional cards).
  • Hand 8: 6♥ contract. 1♠-P-2♥-P-3♥-P-4NT-P-5♥-P-6♥. LHO leads high from a 2cH sequence (where H=AK and h=QJ). RHO gives count. Now knowing that Declarer had a singleton, the Defense plays passively. Defenders do NOT give Declarer a sluff and a ruff.
  • Hand 9: 3NT contract. 1NT-P-2♣-P-2♦-P-3NT. LHO leads 4th best. RHO wins or signals. In this case, RHO is very weak, has no attitude, so gives count for an odd number. Declarer is 3-2. LHO can establish sufficient winners in the suit. LHO wins in side suits whenever possible, and drives out the stoppers to establish the lead suit.
  • Hand 10: 3NT contract. 1♦-P-1♠-P-2NT-P-3NT. LHO leads 4th best in ♥. RHO plays high. Declarer tries to develop a long suit in dummy. The weak Defender (in terms of Dummy’s promising suit) gives count. The strong partner wins a trick and leads a ♥, helping LHO conserve entries. RHO captures Declarer’s last round in Dummy’s suit, effectively blocking the suit. RHO then leads towards LHO’s promoted suit.
  • Hand 11: 3NT contract. 2♣-P-2♦-2NT-P-3NT. LHO leads top of 3c sequence. Dummy has one entry. When Dummy’s suit is played, partner gives count. RHO wins on Declarer’s last card in the suit. RHO returns LHO’s suit. Since RHO has nice ♣, RHO protects them so that RHO can regain the lead for LHO.
  • Hand 12: 3NT contract. 2NT-P-3NT. LHO leads top of 4c sequence. Dummy has a long suit and a side entry. Defenders’ 1st job is to kill the entry. Defenders do this by leading that suit. Then Dummy has a long suit. The stronger Defender (in terms of Dummy’s suit) waits for partner’s count, and use this information to capture the trick in which Declarer goes void.
  • Hand 13: 3NT contract. 1NT-P-2♣-P-2♦-3NT. An Ace lead in NT asks for attitude. A King lead in NT asks partner to drop an honor if possible, otherwise show count. In this case, LHO leads a K holding 4 honors in a 5c suit. RHO gives count. Declarer has two cards remaining. LHO plays passively in another suit. When RHO gains entry, RHO leads LHO’s suit, trapping the 2c held by Declarer.
  • Hand 14: 3NT contract. 1NT-P-2♣-P-2♦-P-3NT. LHO has a 5c suit w/ 4 of the top honors. LHO leads the K to get partner to drop the other honor. Instead, partner gives count by showing a doubleton. Declarer has 3 cards in LHO’s suit. LHO plays passively in a side suit. When RHO gains the lead, RHO traps the honor in Declarer’s hand.
  • Hand 15: 3NT contract. 1NT-P-3NT. LHO has a 5c suit with 2 top honors. LHO leads 4th best. RHO is very weak, so signals an odd count rather than attitude. Declarer began with doubleton Kx. LHO runs the suit, starting with the Ace to drop the King.
  • Hand 16: 3NT contract. 1NT-P-3NT. LHO has a 5c suit with 2 honors. LHO leads 4th best. RHO plays 3hh, returns the lead with a count signal. RHO’s count is sufficient to infer Declarer’s count. LHO ducks. When RHO wins a side trick, RHO will have one card remaining to lead in LHO’s suit.
  • Hand 17: 4♥ contract. 1♦-2♣-X-P-2♥-P-4♥. LHO has a 6c suit with AK. LHO leads top of sequence. RHO signals count but Declarer plays high as if void. LHO must trust RHO’s count. LHO continues with the K, which wins. LHO continue again, by playing passively (RHO will ruff, but Declarer will overruff). Eventually LHO’s side-suit tenace takes 2 tricks.
  • Hand 18: 4♠ contract. 1♣-P-1♠-1NT-P-4♠. LHO leads from KQ♦ sequence. RHO unblocks by playing A from doubleton. RHO cashes any QT, then returns LHO’s lead.
  • Hand 19: 4♠ contract. 1♠-P-2♣-P-2♠-P-4♠. LHO has AKTxx so top of sequence is great suit lead. RHO signals odd. LHO takes the K now before Declarer can sluff in the suit. RHO signals Hi, a suit preference for ♦. LHO returns RHO’s requested suit to set the contract.
  • Hand 20: 3♠ contract. 1♠-X-2♠-P-P-X-P-3♣-3♠. LHO leads from AKTx. RHO signals a doubleton. LHO continues with the K, but on 3rd trick LHO show suit preference. RHO ruffs LHO’s 3rd round and returns LHO’s requested ♦. LHO does a forcing defense to prevent Declarer from getting a sluff and a ruff. Eventually Declarer has a loser in hand.
  • Hand 21: 3NT contract. 1NT-P-2♣-P-2♦-P-3NT. LHO leads a K sequence. RHO does not have much, but signals count. When LHO changes suits, RHO should not give count. Any count information is useless when Declarer has adequate entries to Dummy. Also, count information helps Declarer with successful finesses. For a discard, RHO stays even with Dummy in ♠, not fearing any Declarer ♥ length as Declarer denied Stayman. That is, Dummy has an obvious long suit, while Declarer has denied holding a 4c major.
  • Hand 22: 3NT contract. 1NT-P-2♣-P-2♦-P-2NT-P-3NT. Lead is 4th best from 5c suit. RHO will either play 3hh or show count. In this case, RHO signals a doubleton. Declarer has a tenace. LHO wins whenever possible, always playing back passively in a side suit. Eventually Declarer must lead the suit that LHO opened, and is set.
  • Hand 23: 6♥ contract. 1N-P-2♦-P-3♥-P-4NT-P-5♣-P-4♥. LHO is very weak, so leads trumps passively. Declarer places RHO in a potential endplay. In this case, RHO is not endplayed because LHO gave count in a suit led from Dummy. RHO knows the correct suit to defeat the contract.

Suit-Preference Signals

1st Lead by LHO

  1. Doubleton: A lead of a high spot card shows a doubleton. RHO should play 3hh, continue the suit, and win or signal suit preference on the 3rd round. If RHO wins the last round, then LHO should show suit preference for entry to their hand. If RHO loses the last round, then RHO should show suit preference. LHO will ruff and return the desired suit for a possible 2nd ruff. See Hands 1, 5.
  2. Opponent’s Suit: LHO leads a non-trump Opponent-bid suit, or an unusual suit. LHO gives count if possible (doubleton or singleton). RHO signals suit preference when not playing 3rd-Hand high, generally the 2nd round. However, there may not be a 2nd round, as RHO may be void, in which case RHO will need to wait for a future suit-preference signal from LHO. The signal will be a Hi-Lo card from LHO’s next discard. See Hands 2, 12, 13, 14, 26, 27.
  3. RHO’s Suit: LHO leads RHO’s suit. LHO signals count, most likely shortage if LHO did not support RHO’s suit. RHO plays 3hh, and then returns the suit with a suit-preference signal. LHO ruffs, returns the desired suit, and gets a 2nd ruff. See Hands 3, 10.
  4. LHO’s Suit: In a NT contract, LHO will lead a long suit. Declarer may duck until RHO becomes void. When Declarer plays high, LHO can play suit preference. If RHO regains the lead, RHO will lead the entry suggested by LHO. See Hand 22.
  5. Splinter Suit: LHO leads high in Dummy’s or Declarer’s singleton splinter suit. RHO gives suit preference. LHO continues in the suit suggested by RHO. See Hand 4.
  6. RHO Blocks LHO: LHO leads 4th best from a long weak suit. RHO wins and returns. Unfortunately, RHO’s 3rd card will block the suit. LHO wins and gives suit preference. RHO wins the 3rd round and returns the desired suit. LHO runs their long suit. See Hand 7.
  7. Lead is a Peek: LHO leads top of AK. RHO plays Q, suggesting a J. LHO leads a suit-preference to RHO, who wins with the J and returns the desired suit. See Hand 16.

1st Signal by RHO

  1. RHO Has Shortage I: RHO overtakes the lead and changes suits, suggesting LHO lead this 2nd suit. RHO returns the lead in the 1st suit to LHO, who then returns the 2nd suit for a ruff. See Hand 6.
  2. RHO Has Shortage II: LHO leads top of AK sequence. Dummy has the Q. RHO gives count. LHO continues for 2 more rounds. On the third round, LHO shows suit preference and RHO ruffs. RHO returns the desired suit, with count. LHO wins, then leads to Dummy’s Q so that RHO can ruff and Declarer can overruff. The purpose is to destroy the Q as a winning trick. Declarer squeezes LHO, but given count by RHO, LHO saves the correct suit to win the 13th card. See Hand 18.
  3. Dummy Has Shortage: LHO leads top of 3c sequence. Dummy becomes void. RHO shows suit preference. LHO leads the suit, with count [BeB suggests 2nd highest to show 4c count]. RHO runs the required tricks. See Hands 19, 20, 21.
  4. RHO Does Not Have the Gap Card: LHO leads K from a broken honor sequence, in a NT contract. RHO does not have the gap card, so shows negative attitude. LHO shifts to a passive suit, in this case Dummy’s suit with a tenace. RHO wins the free finesse, and returns the original suit to trap the gap card. Declarer wins the 3rd round, but the suit is established. LHO waits passively until winning in a side suit, then runs the original suit. See Hand 8.
  5. RHO Has a High Honor: LHO leads from an honor sequence. RHO signals encouragement. On the 2nd round, RHO plays 3hh but Declarer plays higher. The suit is now established. When LHO or RHO eventually gain the lead, they run their established suit. See Hand 9.
  6. RHO Has QJ: LHO leads top of AK sequence. RHO signals with an honor, showing QJ. LHO continues, but plays suit preference to RHO’s Jack. RHO leads LHO’s desired suit. See Hand 23, 24.
  7. RHO Has no Honors: LHO leads low in a suit that cannot be developed and was not bid by RHO. The suit may be a singleton. RHO wins, then returns the suit with suit preference. The problem is that LHO has bid a suit and RHO has supported the suit, but RHO has no useful honors in the suit. RHO does not want LHO to assume RHO has an honor in the suit. RHO gives preference for any other suit. LHO then takes their top cards in the bid suit, and returns the suit that RHO requested. Eventually RHO wins a trump or side-suit trick. See Hand 25.
  8. RHO Needs a Switch: LHO leads an honor sequence from RHO’s suit. RHO needs a side-suit lead to a tenace or shortage, so gives a suit-preference signal. RHO then cashes winners in the side suits. See Hands 11, 15, 17.

BeB Hands (You are always LHO. Declarer is either W or E.)

  • Hand 1: 4♥ Contract. 1♣-1♠-2♥-P-3♥-P-4♥. A lead of a high spot card shows a doubleton. RHO should play 3rd-hand high (3hh), continue the suit, and signal suit preference on the 3rd round. LHO will ruff and return the desired suit for a possible 2nd ruff.
  • Hand 2: 4♥ Contract. 1♥-P-2♦-P-3♦-P-4♥. LHO leads a non-trump Opponent-bid suit. LHO gives count if possible (doubleton or singleton). RHO signals suit preference when not playing 3hh, generally the 2nd round.
  • Hand 3: 4♥ Contract. 1♣-1♠-2♥-P-3♥-P-4♥. LHO leads RHO’s suit. LHO signals an odd count, most likely a singleton since LHO did not support the suit. RHO wins the singleton, and then returns the suit with a suit-preference signal. LHO ruffs, returns the desired suit, and gets a 2nd ruff.
  • Hand 4: 4♠ Contract. 1♠-P-4♦-P-4♠. LHO leads high in Dummy’s singleton splinter suit. RHO gives suit preference. LHO continues in the suit suggested by RHO.
  • Hand 5: 4♥ Contract. 1♥-P-2♥-P-4♥. LHO leads a murky spot card (eg, 765, neither Hi such as T98 nor Lo such as 432). RHO can see all honor cards but not all low cards. Lead is likely a worthless doubleton. RHO wins 3 top honors. On the 3rd round, LHO signals suit preference, such as discarding a low card to show a ♣ preference. On round 4, RHO returns the requested suit.
  • Hand 6: 3♥ Contract. 1♦-1♠-2♥-2♠-3♥. LHO leads an honor sequence in RHO’s suit. RHO overtakes the lead and changes suits, suggesting LHO lead this 2nd suit. RHO returns the lead in the 1st suit to LHO, who then returns the 2nd suit.
  • Hand 7: 1NT Contract. 1NT-AP. LHO leads 4th best from a long weak suit. RHO wins and returns. Unfortunately, RHO’s 3rd card will block the suit. LHO wins and gives suit preference. RHO wins the 3rd round and returns the desired suit. LHO runs their long suit.
  • Hand 8: 3NT Contract. 1♦-1♥-1♠-P-2N-P-3N. LHO leads K from a broken honor sequence. RHO does not have the gap card, so shows negative attitude. LHO shifts to a passive suit, in this case Dummy’s tenace. RHO wins the free finesse, and returns the original suit to trap the gap card. Declarer wins the 3rd round, but the suit is established. LHO waits passively until winning in a side suit, then runs the original suit.
  • Hand 9: 3NT Contract. 1♦-P-1♠-P-2N-P-3N. LHO leads from an honor sequence. RHO signals encouragement. On the 2nd round, RHO plays 3hh but Declarer plays higher. The suit is now established. When LHO or RHO eventually gain the lead, they run their established suit.
  • Hand 10: 4♥ Contract. 2♠-3♥-P-4♥. LHO leads RHO’s suit. The lead suggests a singleton. RHO wins the trick and returns the lead with a suit preference, in this case a J to show a strong preference for the higher suit. Defenders begin a crossruff.
  • Hand 11: 4♠ Contract. 1♠-P-2♠-3♥-4♠. LHO leads an honor sequence from RHO’s suit. RHO needs a side-suit lead to an AQ tenace, so gives a suit-preference signal. RHO then cashes 3 winners in the side suits.
  • Hand 12: 4♥ Contract. 1♥-P-1♠-P-1N-P-4♥. LHO leads a singleton in Dummy’s suit. RHO wins, and returns with suit preference. LHO ruffs, and leads back in RHO’s suit. RHO gives LHO another ruff.
  • Hand 13: 4♠ Contract. 1♠-2♣-3♣-P-4♠. LHO leads a non-bid suit, perhaps a singleton. RHO shows suit preference. When LHO regains the lead, LHO leads RHO’s suit. RHO wins and return the lead. LHO ruffs and cashes other winners.
  • Hand 14: 5♣ Contract. 1♦-P-2♣-P-3♣-P-5♣. LHO leads Dummy’s suit, low for an odd count, probably a singleton. RHO signals a high-suit preference with the J. LHO has a high trump, so wins when Declarer draws trumps. LHO leads RHO’s suggested suit. RHO wins with an A, returns the lead suit for a ruff.
  • Hand 15: 4♥ Contract. 3♥-P-4♥. LHO leads an A, probably an AK sequence. RHO has a singleton. LHO misinterprets the singleton spot as an unfavorable attitude signal, and switches suits. Since RHO wants a ruff in the original suit, RHO shows attitude again (a low spot, for a switch). Dummy is solid in the 3rd suit, so LHO returns to the original suit. RHO shows void. LHO leads again for a ruff.
  • Hand 16: 4♠ Contract. 1♠-2♣-2♠-P-4♠. LHO leads top of AK. RHO plays Q, suggesting a J. LHO leads a suit-preference to RHO, who wins with the J and returns the desired suit.
  • Hand 17: 4♠ Contract. 1♠-P-2♣-P-2♠-P-4♠. LHO leads an Ace. RHO shows count (odd) on 1st trick, suit preference on the 2nd. LHO switches to the side suit, and RHO wins two tricks, then returns the lead for a 4th trick.
  • Hand 18: 3♠ Contract. 1♠-X-2♠-P-P-X-3♣-3♠. LHO leads top of AK sequence. Dummy has the Q. RHO gives count. LHO continues for 2 more rounds. On the third round, LHO shows suit preference and RHO ruffs. RHO returns the desired suit, with count. LHO wins, then leads to Dummy’s Q so that RHO can ruff and Declarer can overruff. The purpose is to destroy the Q as a winning trick. Declarer squeezes LHO, but given count by RHO, LHO saves the correct suit to win the 13th card.
  • Hand 19: 4♥ Contract. 1♥-P-4♥. LHO leads top of 3c sequence. Dummy becomes void. RHO shows suit preference. LHO leads the suit, with count [BeB suggests 2nd highest to show 4c count]. RHO runs the required tricks.
  • Hand 20: 5♦ Contract. 1♠-2♦-P-2♠-3♠-4♦-4♠-5♦. LHO lead’s RHO’s suit, with count (2nd highest to show 4c count). LHO would not underlead an Ace, so Declarer has the missing Ace. Dummy becomes void. RHO plays 3rd Hand High, and bottom of sequence. Declarer wins. LHO wins a later trick in which RHO is void. RHO signals with the highest card in the original suit, showing preference for the highest alternative suit. RHO leads that suit, to set the contract.
  • Hand 21: 4♥ Contract. 3♥-P-4♥. LHO leads top of AK sequence. RHO signals a negative attitude. LHO continues. RHO signals a suit preference. LHO leads the desired suit.
  • Hand 22: 3NT Contract. 1N-P-3N. In a NT contract, LHO will lead a long suit. Declarer may duck until RHO becomes void. When Declarer plays high, LHO can play suit preference. On this hand, LHO leads 4th best. RHO plays 3rd-Hand high and Declarer ducks. Declarer wins the 2nd round, but LHO shows suit preference (high, dropping the K). When RHO regains the lead, RHO leads to LHO’s Ace. LHO then runs the original suit.
  • Hand 23: 4♥ Contract. 1♥-1♠-2♥-P-4♥. LHO leads top of AK sequence. RHO signals with an honor, showing QJ. LHO continues, but plays suit preference to RHO’s Jack. RHO leads LHO’s desired suit.
  • Hand 24: 4♠ Contract. 1♠-2♥-3♥-P-3♠-P-4♠. LHO leads from AK. RHO plays Q. LHO continues with suit preference, playing a high intermediate. RHO wins and returns the desired suit.
  • Hand 25: 4♥ Contract. 3♣-X-4♣-4♥. LHO leads low in a suit that cannot be developed and was not bid by RHO. The suit may be a singleton. RHO wins, then returns the suit with suit preference. The problem is that LHO has bid a suit and RHO has supported the suit, but RHO has no useful honors in the suit. RHO does not want LHO to assume RHO has an honor in the suit. RHO gives preference for any other suit. LHO then takes their top cards in the bid suit, and returns the suit that RHO requested. Eventually RHO wins a trump or side-suit trick.
  • Hand 26: 4♠ Contract. 1♠-P-2♣-P-3♣-P-4♠. LHO leads an improbable card (an A without holding the K), in a suit bid by both Opponents. It may be a singleton. RHO shows suit preference. LHO leads the desired suit, RHO wins and gives LHO a ruff. LHO has other QT to set the contract.
  • Hand 27: 4♠ Contract. 1♠-P-2♦-P-2♠-P-4♠. LHO leads Dummy’s suit. RHO has a singleton. Declarer wins, and pulls trumps. LHO has a singleton, so there is no signal. RHO ducks. On the continuation, RHO wins and LHO discards low in a worthless suit. RHO leads the other suit, and LHO wins. LHO sends a ruff to RHO.

Honor-Card Signals

Type of Lead

  1. King: A lead of a K requests that RHO drop an honor or show count. When LHO regains the lead, LHO can run their now solid suit. See Hand 1.
  2. Ace: LHO leads an A from AK. RHO dumps a Q. LHO then returns a suit preference to RHO, who wins with the J and returns the desired suit through Declarer’s strength. See Hands 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9.
  3. 4th Best: LHO leads 4th best. RHO plays 3hh. Since RHO now has a doubleton, RHO returns the higher card to show count. LHO wins and continues a 3rd round, playing unnecessarily high. Declarer wins. When RHO wins a later trick, RHO returns the lead in LHO’s entry suit. See Hand 5.
  4. RHO Has Shortness: LHO leads from AK and RHO plays the Q. Bidding shows a greater urgency, as RHO may have shortage. LHO shifts to the short suit to give RHO a ruff. RHO then returns the original suit. See Hand 6.

BeB Hands (You are always LHO. Declarer is either W or E.)

  • Hand 1: 3NT Contract. 1NT-P-3NT. A lead of a K requests that RHO drop an honor or show count. Here, RHO drops their honor. When LHO regains the lead, LHO can run 4 tricks in their now solid suit.
  • Hand 2: 4♠ Contract. 1♥-X-3♥-4♠. LHO’s lead of A is from a sequence. RHO shows an entry by playing their highest honor. RHO wins the continuation, then leads top of 3c sequence, trapping the Declarer’s stopper.
  • Hand 3: 4♠ Contract. 1♠-2C-2♠-P-4♠. LHO leads an Ace, showing AK. RHO has QJ. RHO plays the Q to show the J. LHO leads suit preference to RHO’s Q. RHO then leads what LHO requested, Dummy’s weak suit.
  • Hand 4: 4♠ Contract. 1♠-P-2♦-P-2♠-P-4♠. LHO leads an A from AK. RHO dumps a Q. LHO then returns a suit preference to RHO, who wins with the J and returns the desired suit through Declarer’s strength.
  • Hand 5: 3NT Contract. 1NT-P-3NT. LHO leads 4th best. RHO plays 3hh. Since RHO now has a doubleton, RHO returns the higher card to show count. LHO wins and continues a 3rd round, playing unnecessarily high (ie, suit preference for the higher suit). Declarer wins. When RHO wins a later trick, RHO returns the lead in LHO’s entry suit.
  • Hand 6: 5♦ Contract. 1♠-P-1NT-P-3♦-P-5♦. LHO leads from AK and RHO plays the Q. Bidding shows a greater urgency, as RHO may have shortage. LHO shifts to the short suit to give RHO a ruff. RHO then returns the original suit.
  • Hand 7: 4♠ Contract. 1♠-2♣-2♠-P-4♠. LHO leads from AK and RHO plays the Q. Dummy is weak in a suit that LHO holds a tenace. LHO signals suit preference, and RHO wins with a J. RHO returns the requested suit, to trap Declarer’s stopper.
  • Hand 8: 4♥ Contract. 1♥-1♠-2♥-P-4♥. LHO leads from AK and RHO plays the Q. Dummy is weak in a suit that LHO holds a tenace. LHO signals suit preference, and RHO wins with a J. RHO returns the requested suit, to trap Declarer’s stopper.
  • Hand 9: 4♠ Contract. 1♠-2♥-3♥-P-3♠-P-4♠. LHO leads from AK and RHO plays the Q. Dummy is missing the gap card in a suit that LHO holds a tenace. LHO signals suit preference, and RHO wins with a J. RHO returns the requested suit, to trap Declarer’s stopper.

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