National Post (Latest Edition) - - DIVERSIONS - By Paul Thurston Feed­back al­ways wel­come at

Lead con­ven­tions have their place in the game as one of the crit­i­cal ways de­fend­ers can legally “talk” to each other to de­scribe what they hold in a par­tic­u­lar suit when they choose that suit for an open­ing lead.

This lan­guage will never be to­tally de­ci­pher­able by the re­ceiver of the lead, but there are cer­tain vo­cab­u­lary com­po­nents that can def­i­nitely help.

Such as the lead of a low card when the leader is known to have some length in the suit de­notes pos­ses­sion of an hon­our card where the lead of a rel­a­tively high spot card de­nies pos­ses­sion of a pos­si­bly use­ful hon­our card. There’s even a use­ful acro­nym as a mem­ory aid: BOS­TON as in “Bot­tom of Some­thing, Top of Noth­ing.”

When this deal was con­tested dur­ing an on­line prac­tice ses­sion, West spoke in one lan­guage while East “heard” his part­ner in the more tra­di­tional fash­ion as de­tailed above and the break­down in com­mu­ni­ca­tion was calami­tous.

North scraped up a raise of his part­ner’s weak­ish re­bid to land in a con­tract that ap­peared fated for down one with the loss of one trick in each of the plain suits and two trump tricks thanks to the nasty split.

Down at least un­til the early play as West led the spade deuce to the Jack and ace. De­clarer played back a di­a­mond to a heart dis­card (gulp!), dummy’s Queen and East’s ace.

And back came the Queen of spades to end South’s wor­ries!

Hav­ing lo­cated all the top spades ex­cept the King at trick one, East “knew” his part­ner would have that King for the ini­tial low lead! And, well, he should have!

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