Better Basic Bridge: Now that we have covered bidding...or have we?

Nancy Evins • Updated Oct 29, 2017 at 2:00 PM

I am a long way from learning all there is to learn about bidding, but we have to remember that there are two other phases of bridge to master, or best we can.

And those are defending a hand and playing one.

When you are defending, as in bidding, partner has to learn a lot, too. But in playing one, you are on your own except for your skills in counting and remembering, especially in what the opponents have indicated about their points and distribution.

Good players usually take time to think and reconsider. However, at my age, I bid and play fast. I’m not sure if I have time left enough to finish a hand.

Starting with the opening lead seems appropriate. Got to start somewhere.

I’m sure that everyone knows that one must not lead an ace without the king except in two cases…one is when partner has bid that suit and to underlead the ace says to partner that you do not have it.

The other exception is in no-trump when one often leads fourth highest or whatever your agreed upon system indicates. Just be sure that you and partner are on same wavelength.

Whether against a trump contract or a no trump one, lead the highest of a sequence if you have one. King from king, queen, jack or 10 from 10, nine, eight, for example. 

Perhaps it seems odd that when you hold an honor in a suit, you should lead small and if you have only small cards lead the top.

For years I had heard “never lead away from a king,” and I was called down by someone when I did so. I showed her my hand. I had all four kings. However, all it takes is for partner to hold the ace or queen of that suit to make you happy.

Here’s a little quiz for the partner of the opening bidder.

Partner is holding: A K J 9 8.                               

You hold: Q 5. 

1. He is leading against no trump and leads the ace. Which card do you play?

Answer: Discard your queen…not because you are indicating high/low, but because you are unblocking. 

I once was on lead with a long-running suit, and my partner had the queen plus two small. He played the two small ones, and when I played the jack, his queen had to overtake it, and he had no way to get back to my hand for me to cash the remaining tricks.

2. He is holding the same hand and is defending a trump contract. You also have the same hand. Which card do you play?

Answer: Play the five.

3. Again, same hand against trump contract, and you have Q J 8. Your play?

Answer: Queen. This says you either have the jack or you have a singleton and can take the next trick either way. That is the reason for the No. 2 answer is to be the five.

Most of you probably know this, but if you are new to the game, just think about it. It really makes sense.

Nancy Evins, of Lebanon, is a certified bridge instructor. Email her at [email protected]


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