Bridge Chestnut 3 - "Always play second hand low"

This is a reasonable policy. The policy is based on the fact that partner still has a chance to play as 4th hand. However, being alert, thinking and planning the play is more important.

  • What is declarer up to?
  • Was he unable to get off the table any other way?
  • Could he not get out of his hand?
  • Why is he not drawing trumps?
  • Why didnít partner return my suit?
  • Should I grab ace of trumps to give partner a ruff?

The policy can also apply for declarer.

K43
x?
J62

Here, your LHO leads a small card against your No Trump contract. Just by playing Low from dummy, you are guaranteed a trick in the suit. RHO may win the Queen. However, your Jack or King can push out the Ace leaving our remaining honour high. If you rise with the King, you run the risk of making NO trick in the suit. RHO may win the Ace. Then, LHO smothers your Jack with his Queen.

As a defender, here is a classic case where you need to play second hand low Ė and smoothly.

KJT43
A52Q86
97

When you saw that long suit in dummy, you know that a low card would be fired at you at some time, didnít you? If you play the 2 nice and smoothly, declarer has to guess whether to rise the King or finesse you for the Queen. Yes, he might guess right. However, if you rise ace or flinch, you remove his guess.

KJT75
A42?
6??

Declarer leads the 6 at you and it looks pretty hopeless, doesnít it? Not necessarily. It depends on dummyís other entries and how many tricks we need to set the contract. If we need two, rising Ace gives us little hope. Playing low may turn up

KJT75
A42J83
96

If declarer tries to get of the table with the 5 of this suit, partner will be ready to play second hand high and grab his Jack.

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