In his book, New Ideas in Defensive Play in Bridge, Mr. Helge Vinje of the Oslo Academic Bridge Club devised a series of defensive signals, which pinpoint distributions and situations, that are somewhat ambiguous in standard signaling. The best solution for the bridge student is to purchase his book, but this web page presents an overall view of his concept, which is sub-chaptered in various features of his concept.

Publications Promoting Vinje Signals

Note: The author, Mr. Helge Vinje, published several books containing this new carding concept earlier as the initial concept soon became an evolving concept, upon which the result could be improved. The information below is from the last revised edition.

New Ideas in Defensive Play, published 1979 by Robert Hale Ltd. ISBN-10: 0709177178 / ISBN-13: 978-0709177173 Defensive Play in Bridge, published 1980 by Sterling Publishing in New York, ISBN-10: 0806949392 / ISBN-13: 9780806949390 New Ideas in Defensive Play in Bridge, revised edition, published 1983 by Cornerstone Library, ISBN-10: 0346124948 / ISBN-13: 9780346124943 In an earlier book entitled Det Norske Fordelingssignalet - nøkkelen til godt motspill or The Norwegian Distribution Signal - The Key to Good Defense Play, Mr. Helge Vinje, published in the year 1959, also outlined his concept of signaling.

     
     

Distribution Signal: The length of a suit is indicated by leading, also simultaneously a counting lead, or by following suit or by discarding, also simultaneously a counting lead, according to the following chart:

# of cards   Play   Meaning
2-card suit:   high-low   Shows an even number
4-card suit:   next lowest-lowest   Shows an even number
6-card suit:   third lowest-lowest   Shows an even number
         
3-card suit:   lowest-next lowest   Shows an odd number
5-card suit:   lowest-next lowest   Shows an odd number
7-card suit:   lowest-third lowest   Shows an odd number

New Third Hand Rule: On a counting lead from a long suit against a No Trump contract, third hand should play high except in the following case:

If the dummy and the third hand hold only spot cards in the suit, and the sum of the cards of the leader, dummy and third player adds up to 11, then the third hand should play his lowest card.

New Trump Signal: The new trump signal indicates the distribution type. Playing high-low promises that the hand has the distribution pattern of one suit with an even number of cards, three odd. Playing low-high promises that the hand has the distribution pattern of one suit with an odd number of cards, three even.

Positive and Negative Signal: The positive or negative signals are used to show strength or weakness and should be used generally on Ace leads in situations where the defenders are apparently forced to take their tricks as soon as possible.

The positive and negative signals should be used particularly on Ace leads against slam contracts. This lead denies the King and requests in particular about the presence of any King in the hand of the partner. These signals should also be employed on honor leads in accordance with the rules for signaling on sequence leads against No Trump contracts and account trump contracts. A positive signal is given by playing the lowest card in the suit. A negative signal is given by playing the third lowest card in the suit, but the next lowest if the third lowest is an active card, or a card which could possibly take a winning trick.

Suit Preference Signal: The suit preference signal should be employed in situations where the defender in the lead is obviously forced to switch to a suit other than the suit played, and which at the same time requests information from his partner. When the partner plays an unusually high card, the partner wishes the higher ranking of the possible suits returned. Conversely, when the partner plays a low card, the partner wishes the lower ranking of the possible suits returned.

Combined Signaling: The use of a positive or a negative or a suit preference signal should be combined with a delayed distributional signal according to the following rules:

The first signaling card indicates a positive or a negative or a suit preference signal, according to the respective rules. The second signaling card in the same suit is a delayed distributional signal indicating the remaining length in that suit.

New Table for Opening Sequence Leads Against No Trump Contracts

Holding in Suit   Lead   Reading
AKx(x-)   Ace   Partial sequence without other honors in the suit
       
KQ10x(x-)   King   Incomplete sequence lacking the Queen or the Jack
       
AKQ(x-)   Queen   Two or no higher honors than the Queen. Holding AKQ,
QJ10(x-)   Queen   The second lead indicates the original suit length:
QJ9(x-)   Queen   King (13) shows an odd number; Ace (14) shows an even number.
     
AQJ(x-)   Jack   Two or no higher honors than the Jack.
KQJ(x-)   Jack   Holding KQJ, the second lead or play indicates the original suit length:
J109(x-)   Jack   Queen (12) shows an even number; King (13) shows an odd number.
J108(x-)   Jack    
         
AQ10(9-)   10   Two or no higher honors than the 10.
AJ10(x-)   10   With two higher cards, the sequence is an interior sequence.
KJ10(x-)   10    
109x   10    
         
A109(x-)   9   Two or no higher cards than the 9.
K109(x-)   9   With two higher cards, the sequence is an interior sequence.
Q109(x-)   9    
98x   9    

Appropriate Signaling: The concept is to unblock with an honor second, unless this is likely to result in the loss of a trick. Employ a counting signal when the dummy holds at least three cards in the suit. use any complementing card, followed by the next-lowest card, when the lead shows an incomplete sequence and the dummy, as well as the partner, holds exactly three cards in the suit. Use a positive or negative signal to indicate the existence or non-existence of a card touching the actual sequence, followed by a distributional signal on the next round, when the dummy holds at most two cards in the suit.

New Table for Opening Sequence Leads Against Trump Contracts

Holding in Suit   Lead   Reading
AK(x-)   Ace   When holding an even number (A-14).
         
    King   When holding an odd number (K=13).
        Exception: Against slam contracts the lead from AK(x-)
        should always be the King and partner uses the counting signal.
         
KQJ9(x-)   King   This is ambiguous. The partner should read the lead as a
KQ (alone)   King   counting lead from AK with an odd number, unless the
        dummy or partner has the Ace. The second lead or play
        indicates the original suit length:
        Queen (12) shows an even number and
        Jack (11) shows an odd number.
         
AKQ(x-)   Queen   This is ambiguous. The partner KQx(x-) should read the lead
        as KQx. Holding the AKQ, the second lead or play indicates
        the original suit length:
        King (13) shows an odd number and
        Ace (14) shows an even number.
         
QJx(x-)   Jack   This is not an ambiguous situation.
         
J10x(x-)   10   Generally considered to be unambiguous.
J10x(x-)   10    
AJ10(x-)   10    
KJ10(x-)   10    
Q109(x-)   10    
         
98x(x-)   8   Generally considered to be unambiguous.
K98(x-)   8    
Q98(x-)   8    
J98(x-)   8    

The lead from AK(x-) may alternatively be the Ace or the King according to the rules for a Counting Lead from AK(x-). This possibility should be kept in mind when using Vinje Signals.

Appropriate Signaling

1. On a counting lead from AK(x-), the partner should:
  Employ a counting signal if the dummy has at least three cards, including the Queen, in the suit. Employ a Trick Counting signal on all other occasions by signaling as follows:
    1. Playing the lowest card (low-high) indicates that the defenders can make either one or three tricks in relation to the declarer's closed hand. The three tricks may arise from a ruff or from the Queen or from J10x.
    2. Playing the third lowest card, but the next lowest if the third lowest is an active card, means that the defenders can make two tricks in the suit, either because the declarer has only tow cards in the suit, or because the partner can not assist in making a third trick.
2.   On a sequence lead showing KQ(J), with the dummy or partner holding the Ace, the partner should use a Counting signal if the dummy holds the Ace. Employ a Counting Signal or overtake when he himself holds the Ace.
3.   On a sequence lead showing KQx or AKQ, the partner should use a Positive or Negative Signal to show whether or not he holds the Ace or Jack. Employ a Counting Signal if the dummy holds at least three cards, including the Jack, or if the dummy holds AJ.

Indicating a Sequence When Following suit or When Discarding: A sequence is indicated by playing the lowest card in the sequence when the card has a possibility of influencing the trick. A sequence is indicated by playing the highest card in the sequence when the card will not influence the trick. A sequence is indicated by discarding the highest card in the sequence. When holding a complete sequence, the sequence as well as the suit length may be indicated.

AKQ(x-)   The Queen indicates the complete sequence. The next play may now indicate the length of the suit. The King (13) indicates an odd number whereas the Ace (14) indicates an even number.
KQJ(x-)   The Jack indicates the complete sequence. The next play may now indicate the suit length. The Queen (12) indicates an even number. the King (13) indicates an odd number.
When holding the AKx, the sequence as well as the suit length may be indicated.
AK(x-) The Ace followed by the King indicates an even number in the suit. The King followed by the Ace indicates an odd number in the suit.

 

 

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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