Dual Signals/discards

ref Blue Book 7F2 7F3 query
A partnership has agreed to play Mckenny discards but any odd card encourages that suit. Is this legal?


  • Yes, as a discard. Some people might call it 'reverse DODDS'

  • Some people might call it Roman or Italian - or am I misreading the OP?

  • I think there should be a tempo argument about this sort of agreement. I played it recently at the request of a partner, and when I had an awkward hand, it meant I took so long trying to find an appropriate discard that the entire table knew I was trying to produce a meaningful signal (with declarer asking my partner what it meant just after I played it). Pausing on the first discard is a good habit to get into, but even with a habitual pause, the pause you get when almost every card in your hand sends a misleading message is typically much longer.

    Presumably, even in partnerships who have more experience with the agreement, there would be UI transmitted about whether the hand contained any cards that fitted the agreement or not.

    (The underlying issue is that players who play even/odd discards normally look strictly at whether the card is even or odd, whereas players who play high/low discards/signals can play, e.g., an 8 as "low" or 4 as "high" if it's the only card remaining, and their partner's expected to figure it out based on future plays or reasoning about possible hands. This means that the high/low players are never stuck for a valid signal, whereas the odd/even players can be.)

    IIRC the ACBL has/used to have a rule that certain agreements were only permitted if both partners were capable of playing them in tempo. This seems like a bit of an abuse of the permitted agreements rules, but in situations like this one, I can see why!

  • No, you are correct, most commonly known as Italian
    DODDS is seen more often in the UK, I think, which is Even encouraging, Discouraging ODD Suit Preference.

  • TagTag
    edited December 2019

    I play the discard method with a couple of partners and we call them Roman Discards but we often get the question, "Do you mean Italian?". Odd shows "stuff" in that suit, Even is McKenney.

    I think it's unreasonable to suggest that the method leads to UI from tempo issues, certainly between players accustomed to it. I've seen players who use "high to encourage" and others who use "low to encourage" each struggle occasionally to find a discard which signals their desires. Note that Roman discards have the same issues mentioned by ais523 regarding high/low when choosing an even signal in trying not to mislead partner as to whether the card is low or high and we often choose intermediate even cards as being "null" or "pending". As with any discard system, the players should think ahead.

    A few people at a local club play what they call DODDS. I usually have to ask but I think the method common there is Even encouraging, Odd asking for the other suit of the same colour.

  • Re. tempo it's not necessarily finding an appropriate card but deciding which suit to encourage, with 2 'equal' options one often wants the one partner has an honour in which for many means thinking.
    Now, if you get it wrong and partner leads the other one ?

    When I started playing odd encouraging many years ago I was told low odd most encouraging so a 2nd and lower odd cancelled the message of the 1st odd.
    Fine if one has 2 discards but sometimes partner can (hopefully) work out that, say, the 9 from known length or dummy's strong suit isn't necessarily encouraging and could be no preference elsewhere.
  • "Yes, as a discard. Some people might call it 'reverse DODDS'!

    Only if they wished to ensure that no-one had the faintest idea what they were talking about =)

  • @Jeremy69 said:

    Only if they wished to ensure that no-one had the faintest idea what they were talking about =)


    With a risk that I'm repeating a previous whinge, "round here" if your Oppos say they are playing "Odds and Evens", then they are playing Dodds! I've lived here for almost 7 years and still not found anyone who can clarify why they call it that.

  • With signals and discards my Bridge is well below the level of most of those in these forums.
    I do have a system but I often tell opposing players that 'I signal about 30% of the time and notice my partner's signal about 10% of the time.' Both figures may be over-estimates.


  • Best if you add your Discards onto your System Card.
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