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Learning: Cover an Honor with an Honor? Third Hand High?

You have all heard these sayings all your bridge life. Sometimes you have even heard them from your teacher. However, just like life there are few absolutes and certainties. These were meant to be guidelines not iron clad rules. So let’s look at each one and decide when and when not to follow these guidelines.

Cover an honor with an honor

The idea behind this saying is to try and create tricks for lower cards by making declarer use three high cards in one fell swoop. For example if declarer leads the Queen, you cover with the King, and declarer wins the Ace – hopefully partner’s (or your) Jack or Ten will take a trick. So when doesn’t this work? When you know from Dummy’s cards or the bidding that you do not have a chance to make another trick.


  Dummy has A Q 9 8 4
You have K 7 6 3 2  
  Declarer leads the J

Even if partner has the Ten he can not have more than 2 cards in the suit so his 10 will fall under the Ace and Queen. You should not cover because you can only give up your King and not generate any other trick.

Third Hand High

Again the idea is that if partner leads a suit they are leading from strength and that if you play your highest card that even though declarer will take the trick you will generate a trick, or even two, for partner.

You should not follow this rule when playing your high card can not generate an extra trick. For Example (against a suit contract)

  Dummy Q J 5 2  
Partner leads the 4   You K 9 6 3

You should not play the King regardless of the card declarer plays from dummy. Partner will never underlead his Ace, so therefore, declarer has the Ace. If he has only one, you don’t want to sacrifice your King and make dummy’s Q and J good.

The idea in both of these instances is to THINK instead of following a rule blindly.