As with any other bidding system, the lead can define several things such as attitude or preference or count. These are essentials in any bidding system, and the Acol system is no exception. With the lead or a later discard, bridge partners are able to send signals communicating useful and important information.

With this information, the defense becomes more active and more accurate in defending. The attempt has been made to provide a short synopsis for signaling with a leading card and a discarded card generally used in the Acol system. The bridge student should keep in mind that these are only general guidelines. For additional information many authors provide written suggestions and recommendations for study.

Leads - In general the leads are as follows:

1. Overlead honors, except with Ace/King and a singleton, lead the King and switch to the singleton.
2. Lead fourth best down from the longest and strongest suit.
3. From 3 small cards the general view varies:
  a. Against No Trump, usually lead the top card unless your partner has bid the suit and you have not supported that suit, then low.
  b. Against a suit contract, usually Middle/Up/Down, or MUD, unless your partner has bid the suit, then low is often the best manner of giving the card count.
  c. Usually, the second best from 4 small, but the top card from 5 small.

Signals - In general the signals are as follows:

1. When leading an honor shows attitude unless the count is more important. Signaling with a low card gives count if dummy's card can not be beat.
2. If the opponents lead, then count is more important, unless this feature becomes unimportant.
3. The first discard often shows attitude, later discards are count or random.
4. When the attitude in the suit led is known, then first show count, and then, if possible, show suit preference, if obvious. If on lead and there is any doubt about the situation, show attitude.

Many expert and experienced bridge players have taken pen to paper and written articles, pamphlets, and publications about the act of leading in the game of bridge, about signals communicating attitude, preference, and count. These authors have provided suggestions, recommendations, and guidelines for this segment of card playing. It is the responsibility of the beginning bridge student to acquaint himself with such possible methods.

Such authors are alphabetically Mr. Edwin Kantar, Mr. Hugh Kelsey, Mr. Ron Klinger, Mr. Mike Lawrence, Mr. Julian Pottage, Barbara Seagram.

However, one publication for the bridge player is the publication by Mr. Julian Pottage titled Easy Guide to Defensive Signals, authored 2005. The second publication for the bridge player is the publication by Mr. Julian Pottage titled The Golden Rules of Opening Leads, authored 2004. Both are excellent publications for the bridge student since they deal only with this aspect of the game.



If you wish to include this feature, or any other feature, of the game of bridge in your partnership agreement, then please make certain that the concept is understood by both partners. Be aware whether or not the feature is alertable or not and whether an announcement should or must be made. Check with the governing body and/or the bridge district and/or the bridge unit prior to the game to establish the guidelines applied. Please include the particular feature on your convention card in order that your opponents are also aware of this feature during the bidding process, since this information must be made known to them according to the Laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge. We do not always include the procedure regarding Alerts and/or Announcements, since these regulations are changed and revised during time by the governing body. It is our intention only to present the information as concisely and as accurately as possible.