Page 0043

Third & lowest leads

THE DEBATE

are best

NOTE Experts call the system described by Barry Rigal

‘Third and Fifth’, but the name Barry has given it

(‘Third and Lowest’) avoids ambiguity (— Ed). Barry Rigal

AT no-trumps, the defence seeks to estab- What about the four-/five-card problem?

lish and cash small cards. Against suits, the 10 9 5

main target is to cash winners. Determining N

W E A83

which winners will stand up requires both Q9 S

accurate count signals and leads. N

Fourth highest leads, leading high from W

S

E

A K 10 8 3

three or four small cards, is simplest and Playing fourth-highest, West leads the

best against no-trumps, by placing the four to the ten, ace, and two. Does South

honours for partner. Against suits, how- Partner has raised our overcall pre- have queen to three, queen-jack-small, or

ever, I advocate third and lowest leads. emptively, with four or five cards. There king-queen small? Contrast the position

They provide partner with what he needs, are six possible five-card holdings, fifteen when partner leads a third-and-fifth seven

the count in the suit led. four-card holdings. from length. West won’t have led low from

This means third from an even number Fourth highest will provide some help; touching honours, so he has K-J-7-4,

of cards (thus third from six, not fifth), the lead of the two (ten of the fifteen four- and East should continue the suit.

low from an odd number of cards, top of card holdings) gives us the count. But all Third and lowest lets both declarer and

a doubleton. Thus we differentiate by two the five-card suits might be four, if declar- the defenders work out more – but not

cards how we lead from an even and odd er does not play the two. Thus more than often. Indeed, sometimes declarer is more

number – high from even, low from odd. half the positions remain ambiguous. in the dark than before:

A two-card ambiguity will be very rare. By contrast, a third-and-lowest two clari-

As East we defend a high-level contract fies five of the six five-carders immediately

after our pre-empt has been raised: – and the potentially ambiguous J-7-6-5-4 10 9 3

is clarified when declarer produces the two.

N

Equally, in the four-card suits, when 64 W

S

E AQ72

Q9 declarer follows, he must reveal his shape.

N

When partner leads the four from J-7-4-2, KJ85

W E

S A K 10 8 7 3 declarer must play either the six or five.

The lead can no longer be from J-7-6-5-4 –

it must be third highest from four. Playing third and lowest I lead the six to my

Should we switch or cash two winners? Note the exceptions to third and lowest. partner's ace, and he returns the two. Do I

West could have any of these holdings: When you have raised partner, you should have Q-7-6-4 or my actual holding? Fourth

lead top (not MUD) from three or four highest leads give the game away.

small to avoid this accident: Equally, sometimes the third highest

J65 J64 J62 J54 J52

card is not affordable – but that simply

J42 654 652 642 542 requires judgment from the player on

K74 lead as to when he should not waste a

J654 J652 J642 J542 6542

N

spot card. This is why these leads don’t

653 W E A J 10 9 8 2

S work against no-trumps: you frequently

Attitude leads leave us groping. But even Q

cannot afford to waste spot cards. In no-

playing fourth-highest, only J-6-5 is reveal- trump, who wins the third round of a

ing. All other holdings are ambiguous. By suit is far more critical than at suits,

contrast, if playing third and lowest the six Equally, give West East’s two, and the lead where the third round is likely to be

three-card holdings where the small card is of the six from 6-5-3-2 prevents declarer trumped by someone.

a 2 clarify the position. (Note: South must stealing a trick. (A MUD five from 6-5-3 In summary: the auction and his own

follow with the high spot-card from 5-2 and will not do the trick – it could be from cards will allow the opening leader’s partner

6-2, or East can decipher J-6-4 and J-5-4 as Q-6-5). to work out the leader’s precise holding

well.) A big edge for third and lowest. There are other benefits, as here: more often when playing these methods. r

www.ebu.co.uk October 2010 English Bridge 43

Index

  1. Page 0001
  2. Page 0002
  3. Page 0003
  4. Page 0004
  5. Page 0005
  6. Page 0006
  7. Page 0007
  8. Page 0008
  9. Page 0009
  10. Page 0010
  11. Page 0011
  12. Page 0012
  13. Page 0013
  14. Page 0014
  15. Page 0015
  16. Page 0016
  17. Page 0017
  18. Page 0018
  19. Page 0019
  20. Page 0020
  21. Page 0021
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  23. Page 0023
  24. Page 0024
  25. Page 0025
  26. Page 0026
  27. Page 0027
  28. Page 0028
  29. Page 0029
  30. Page 0030
  31. Page 0031
  32. Page 0032
  33. Page 0033
  34. Page 0034
  35. Page 0035
  36. Page 0036
  37. Page 0037
  38. Page 0038
  39. Page 0039
  40. Page 0040
  41. Page 0041
  42. Page 0042
  43. Page 0043
  44. Page 0044
  45. Page 0045
  46. Page 0046
  47. Page 0047
  48. Page 0048
  49. Page 0049
  50. Page 0050
  51. Page 0051
  52. Page 0052
  53. Page 0053
  54. Page 0054
  55. Page 0055
  56. Page 0056