The Signal

One of the best and most serviceable methods of giving information is

by using "the signal," which is made by the play of an unnecessarily

high card. For example, the Ace and King of a suit are led. The play of

the 6 before the 5 constitutes a signal, as the 6 is an unnecessarily

high card.

The meaning of this signal is that the maker desires the suit, in which

it is made, continued. Playing in ordinary order, lower before higher,

shows that the continuation of that suit is not requested. It is the

old Trump signal of the game of Whist, which, inasmuch as a demand for

a Trump lead is not needed in Auction, has been borrowed and

transformed into a request to continue the suit. This signal was first

used to mean, "I can ruff the third round," but the absurdity of

limiting it to any such meaning soon became apparent, and, as it is now

played, it means, "Partner, continue this suit. I have some reason for

asking you so to do." The failure to give this signal may mean, "Shift

the suit," but does not of necessity do so. It merely says, "Partner, I

have no reason for asking you to lead this suit a third time."

This signal is a most important part of Auction tactics. It can be

given on either the partner's or the Declarer's lead, should always be

used when a continuation of the suit is desired, and should be watched

for by the partner with the most painstaking care. The first trick

sometimes furnishes this information. For example, the play of the

deuce, or of any card which the partner can read as being of necessity

the lowest, tells him that either the card is a singleton or that the

player is not beginning a signal.

When a player is anxious to place his partner in the lead, the signal

may be of the greatest possible value. Suppose, for example, he has two

suits from which to choose. In one of these suits he is without

strength, but his partner may have the Ace. In the other, he has the

Ace himself, and his partner may have the King. If he guess the wrong

suit, the Declarer will get in and take the rest of the tricks. By

leading his Ace and watching the size of the card his partner plays, he

can generally tell what to do. If the lowest card be played, he should

shift the suit. In such a situation, if the partner wish the suit

continued, and has more than two small cards, he should play the

highest so as to emphasize the signal.

The Shift The Square facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail