Exercise 1Q41 Main

The Third Man

by Richard Pavlicek

As the partner of the opening leader, you are the third person to play to the first trick.
The card you choose can be very important in trying to win the trick or as a signal to partner.
Test yourself on these problems. Only the spade suit is shown, and the contract is 4 .

 1. 4 4 3 2 West leads K A 9 5

Who has the queen?

 2. 4 J 3 2 West leads K 9 8 4

Do you want to encourage this suit?

 3. 4 J 3 2 West leads K 9 4

Do you want to encourage this suit?

 4. 4 5 4 West leads 3 K Q 7

What would you play if leading this suit?

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 5. 4 A 5 4 West leads 10 K Q 3

Who has the jack?

 6. 4 A 3 2 West leads J Q 8 4

Who has the 10?

 7. 4 A 3 2 West leads J K 8 5

Who has the queen?

 8. 4 A 3 2 West leads K J 10 9

Who has the queen?

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 9. 4 7 5 3 2 West leads Q A 10 8 4

Who has the king?

 10. 4 4 3 2 West leads Q K 8 5

Who has the ace?

 11. 4 4 3 2 West leads K Q 8 5

Who has the ace?

 12. 4 Q 4 2 West leads 3 K J 8 7

Who has the ace?

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 1. 4 4 3 2 K Q 10 8 A 9 5 West leads J 7 6

Playing a higher card than necessary is an encouraging signal, asking partner to lead the suit again. Together, you can win the first three tricks.

 2. 4 J 3 2 A K 10 7 6 9 8 4 West leads Q 5

Playing your lowest card is a discouraging signal, meaning you have no desire for partner to continue. Often it would be wise for partner to shift to another suit.

 3. 4 J 3 2 A K 10 7 6 9 4 West leads Q 8 5

By encouraging partner to continue you can trump the third round. Your nine does not specifically show a doubleton — it merely says, “continue this suit.”

 4. 4 5 4 J 9 8 3 2 K Q 7 West leads A 10 6

When trying to win a trick as third hand you should play the lowest of equal cards. Note how this differs from the leader, who leads the top of a sequence.

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 5. 4 A 5 4 10 9 8 2 K Q 3 West leads J 7 6

Once dummy wins the ace it would be unwise to waste one of your honors, so just play low. Later, you hope to win two tricks in this suit.

 6. 4 A 3 2 J 10 9 6 Q 8 4 West leads K 7 5

Your queen is an important honor so you should encourage partner to lead the suit again. After forcing out the ace and king, you can win a trick in this suit.

 7. 4 A 3 2 J 10 9 7 6 K 8 5 West leads Q 4

You must play the king to win the trick else South would win the queen. It is now apparent that you and partner cannot win another trick in this suit.

 8. 4 A 3 2 K Q 8 5 J 10 9 West leads 7 6 4

You want partner to lead this suit later, so play the highest card you can spare. Do not confuse a signal with “trying to win a trick” when you would play the nine.

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 9. 4 7 5 3 2 Q J 9 6 A 10 8 4 West leads K

Partner’s lead of the queen marks South with the king so you should win the ace. You can see what would happen if you ducked.

 10. 4 4 3 2 Q J 9 7 K 8 5 West leads A 10 6

There is no need to waste your king on the same trick as partner’s queen, but you can spare the eight as a signal to encourage partner to continue.

 11. 4 4 3 2 A K 10 9 Q 8 5 West leads J 7 6

Once again, you like partner’s lead and should encourage by playing the eight. You should take the first three tricks in this suit.

 12. 4 Q 4 2 10 6 5 3 K J 8 7 West leads A 9

Usually you play “third hand high” when trying to win the trick, but with the queen in dummy your jack is just as powerful as the king.

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