This method of discarding or signaling partner at the bridge table was devised by Mr. Kai Bechgaard of South Africa, whose close friend and partner of many years was Mr. Alexander A. Taub (aka Alec) also of Cape Town, South Africa, who was regarded as the world's leading authority on bridge mathematics and who has written extensively on the game of bridge.
Note: Any additional information about either Mr. Kai Bechgaard or Mr. Alexander Taub would be greatly appreciated, and also any photographs.
The foundation of the devised signaling method is that the player signals according to the following guidelines when possible. The cards shown for additional clarification are the lowest-ranking cards such as 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 for convenience only of presentation purposes.
1. with five cards in a suit, the player employs a delayed signal. The sequence would be the 3 from 65432 for example. 2. with six cards in a suit, the player employs a continued signal. The sequence would be the 4 from 765432 for example. 3. with seven cards in a suit, the player employs a double signal. The sequence would be the 3 from 8765432 for example.
The following example, as illustrated in The Official Encyclopedia of Bridge, Third Edition, 1975, page 29, shows the application of the Bechgaard signals.
North K J4 J4 J10987652
West 873 6532 76532 4
East 64 Q1097 Q1098 KQ3
South AQJ10952 AK8 AK A
Contract: 7 Spades
Lead: West leads 3
The lead of trump is the only lead, which indeed defeats, or can defeat the grand slam contract of 7 Spades. The declarer, South, first of all plays all cards in Spades, the trump suit. South wins the lead of trump with the King in the dummy, but overtaks with the Ace in hand. Even if the trump split is 5-0 the declarer can safely execute this action.
The running of the trump suit is a clever play technique, which squeezes both opponents. Following the lead of the fourth Spade both opponents are forced to discard. It is at this trick in the above example that the two opponents, East and West, must discard according to their agreed discarding method, namely the Bechgaard Signals method.
At trick three West follows suit, but East must find a discard, which is easily found by discarding 3. East guards against discarding either Hearts or Diamonds at this trick. East also knows that a continuation of playing trump West must also find a discard on the fourth trick. It is this trick that East can gain additional information via their agreed signaling method.
On the fourth trick West discards the 3, and East safely discards the 7. On the fifth trick West discards the 5, and East safely discards the 8. On the sixth trick West discards the 2, and shows a delayed signal, promising a 5-card suit. This is the confirmation East awaits, and which confirms to East that discarding Diamonds is the correct action. By retaining Hearts East is able to defeat the contract by one trick.
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.
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