Quebec Chronicle-Telegraph – 13 May 1954
«Cover and honor with an honor» says the old rule. This guide to your defensive play is not entirely reliable. You don’t cover an honor if it is supported by the next highest honor. For example, if dummy has the queen-jack of a suit and leads the queen, you should not cover with the king.
You play low the first time and wait to cover the next time. (You might, however, cover the first time if you had only one small card with your king). In general, you tend to cover an honor if it is not backed up by another honor.
North-South vul South dealer
In today’s hand, for example, the ten of spades was an honor unsupported by any other honor. Now let’s go back to the beginning of the play. West opened the jack of diamonds, and declarer finessed dummy’s queen. East won with the king of diamonds and returned the eight of clubs. South put up the ace of clubs, noting that West played the encouraging five. There was now considerable danger of losing one trick in each suit
Hoping for a stroke of luck, South led a diamond to dummy’s ace and returned the ten of spades. It was at this point that East contributed the stroke of luck by making a serious error. East thought that this would be a good time to follow the rule of covering an honor with an honor.
It wasn’t. When East covered with the queen of spades, South naturally won with the ace. The fall of West’s singleton was a welcome sight. Now South didn’t have to lose a trump trick, and he could afford to lose one trick in each of the other suits.
East learned another rule to go together with his unreliable rule about covering honors. He learned that it doesn’t pay to cover an honor in declarers long trump suit. This often helps declarer, but almost never helps the defender who is covering the honor.