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Signaling with cards from long suits is safe and efficient. Consider a deal in which one suit fits all:

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West leads a trump and East shows out at trick one (even hearts.)  East's discard is a count signal- even spades.    Therefore, East holds a like disclosed pair. Diamonds and clubs are the odd single suits candidates.

Declarer continues trump and East discards another spade- a HI/LO signal.  East discards a HI spade.  The high  ranked diamond candidate is the odd single suit.

Consider the problem from West's viewpoint:

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West leads a trump and East shows out, declarer wins. Declarer, who started with seven hearts, draws trump in five rounds, discarding four spades from dummy. East discards spades.

Declarer continues a sixth trump and West must find a discard:

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Odd diamonds

Odd Prism

Even diamonds

Index two or four
7-3-2-1 or 7-1-4-1 pattern
1=7=2=3 or 1=7=4=1distribution

Assume from the auction that declarer holds both minor suit kings.

What about a defense against 1=7=2=3?

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Declarer can isolate the diamond menace, ruffing the third round in hand, then rectify the count, losing a spade to East. If East returns a spade for South to trump -fratricide. If East returns a club, declarer wins in hand and administers the lethal heart -homicide. There is no defense against 1=7=2=3 with declarer.

West must assume declarer is 1=7=4=1, hold diamonds, discard clubs, and defeat the contract.

The full deal:

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Trade South's three minor suit spot cards for East's minor spots. East's play in this variation   reveals: (1) even spades to go with the even heart void, establishing diamonds and clubs as the odd single suit candidates; (2) LO spade- odd club single suit.

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Odd clubs

Odd Prism

Even clubs

Index two or four
7-3-2-1 or 7-4-1-1 pattern
1=7=3=2 or 1=7=1=4 distribution

Defensible distribution: 1=7=1=4. West dumps diamonds and keeps clubs.

The full deal:

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Consider a deal which features three signals by West. The first is a hand pattern signal. The other two signals employ long suit spots.

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West leads the spade queen to dummy's ace, all follow. Declarer plays four rounds of trump ending in dummy with the ace.

West plays low-high with his two (even) diamond trumps, signaling an odd single suit. On the third trump West's spade discard promises an even spade start.

This establishes the odd single suit candidates - hearts and clubs. Next a HI spade names hearts the odd single suit.

The spade king from dummy and a spade, trumped by declarer, put East under pressure:

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Odd hearts

Pointed Prism

Even clubs

Index four
  5-4-3-1 pattern
1=3=5=4 distribution

East  undistracted by the auction does not play declarer for heart length. Declarer's threat is in clubs, not hearts. East pitches hearts and holds clubs. Down one.

The full deal:

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West and South swap round suit threes and the play in seven diamonds proceeds similarly. Hearts and clubs are the odd single suit candidates. On the fourth trump to dummy's ace a LO spade from West nominates clubs.

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Odd clubs

Pointed Prism

Even hearts

Index four
5-4-3-1  pattern 
1=4=5=3 distribution

Declarer's threat is in hearts. When declarer plays the spade king and trumps a spade, East saves hearts, discards clubs, and defeats the contract.

The full deal:

CHXI20a.gif (22513 bytes)

Notice that all of West's non-spade spots are busy. A club discard on a diamond to the ace allows declarer to squeeze East in hearts and clubs.

A heart discard allows declarer to pick up the heart suit by leading hearts from dummy three times, starting with the jack. If East always covers, on the fourth round declarer's three captures East's two.

A defender can safely choose spot cards from a long suit to convey information about parity and identity of single suit enabling partner to identify declarer's hand pattern, pinpoint declarer's distribution and defend with accuracy. Prism signals.

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