Third Hand Play Is Often Most Important, Often Hard to See
When-you have-a-choice-of-plays, do you sometimes arrive at a quick conclusion that it makes no difference which one you choose? Such a conclusion is seldom correct.
On 13 February, 2017 At 17:17
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Ellensburg Daily Record – 11 Jul 1956
Source: Blackwood on Bridge
South dealer Neither side vulnerable
2 spades = strong
When-you have-a-choice-of-plays, do you sometimes arrive at a quick conclusion that it makes no difference which one you choose? Such a conclusion is seldom correct. Often the advantage of one play over another is hard to see. But it pays in make a good try at diagnosing each situation as it comes up with the thought in mind that your decision WILL make a difference in the final result.
There are problems of this kind peculiar to each of the four positions at the table. In the following series of columns I want to show you a few problems of third hand—that is, the third player to play to a trick.
Even at the first trick, third hand has a few advantages the opening leader did not have, he has had a chance to look at the dummy and also to see two cards which have already been played. Of course there is one player (declarer) who will play to the trick after him. He must be alert to capitalize on what he can see. He cannot afford to be careless or to depend on old, worn-out maxims for his decisions.
Look at what happened to Mr. Abel in today’s deal. Mrs. Keen opened a small trump and he automatically played his queen (third hand high, you know). Mr. Dale won, cashed his ace and king of hearts and ruffed a heart on the board.
He returned to his hand with the ace of clubs and ruffed his last heart. Note that Mr. Abel was powerless to overruff.
Getting along much better than he had expected, Mr. Dale now led a diamond to his king, losing to the ace. A club was returned and he ruffed, picked up the out-standing trumps, cashed the queen of diamonds and made his contract.
He had won two hearts, a diamond, a club and no less than six trump.
What did Mr. Abel think he would gain by going up with the queen of spades at trick one? Did he think his partner had led from three trumps to the jack? Extremely unlikely on the bidding . . . Did he think she had led from the king doubleton of trumps? Extremely unlikely on ordinary common sense.
If he had played small, he could have overruffed dummy on the fourth lead of hearts and after that Mr. Dale would have found the going much too tough to bring in 10 tricks.
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