Source: The Southeast Missourian

It is a trump contract. Your partner is cashing a side-suit winner, and you are void of that suit. What should you discard?

The stupid and sensible answer is: Keep winners; throw a loser.

However, let’s try to be more specific. First, if you discard from a suit yet to be played, you are making an attitude signal. If you discard your lowest card in the suit, you are saying to partner that, based on the information available to you at that point, it is your opinion that it would not be ideal for partner to shift to this suit.

But, if you discard an unnecessarily high card, you are requesting – not demanding – a switch to that suit.

Dealer South. Neither VUL

Opening lead: A

In this deal, what would you discard on the third round of clubs?

South’s three-heart opening shows some 5-9 high-card points with a decent seven-card suit. North is right to pass. He has no great fit for hearts and knows the values for game are not present. He should hope the opponents make the mistake of entering the auction.

Five tricks are needed to defeat the contract. There is a temptation for East to assume his partner has the spade queen, and to ask for a shift to that suit by discarding the spade nine.

However, here that is a disaster, if East wins trick four with the spade ace, declarer will discard his diamond loser on the established spade king. Better is to discard the diamond nine, asking for a switch to that suit and aiming for these five defensive tricks; one spade. one diamond and three clubs. As you can see, this works like a charm. — Phillip Alder

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