Lone Hands

It is impossible to absolutely define a "lone hand." With the score

three-all, four-all, or any score in your favor, do not risk a light

lone hand. It is our opinion that a great many points are lost by not

taking your partner with you for a march.

With the score four-one or four-two against you, you may take a

desperate chance.

If your opponents keep bridges tolerably strictly, you must, of course,

be more careful if they have passed.

The eldest hand has the best position to play a lone hand, and the

dealer the next best.

The second and third hands have the weakest positions for lone hands,

especially the third hand, if the turn-up is the trump, since if the

third hand declares to play alone it has become an established custom

for the dealer to discard next in suit, and for his partner to lead it

to him. The third hand should take this into consideration before

playing alone. This is the only case when the original lead of next in

suit has any significance.

In playing against a lone hand, you should lead from a short suit or

suit of equals, if possible, and the fourth card you play (supposing

always the lone hand to take the first four tricks with trumps) should

inform your partner what suit you mean to keep. For example: Clubs are

trumps. Eldest hand has two small trumps, queen of hearts, and queen and

seven of spades. Lead the queen of hearts. The dealer, who is playing

alone, ruffs the heart and leads both bowers and the ace of trumps. On

the fourth trick you play the seven of spades; your partner, holding the

ace of spades and the ten of diamonds, should throw away the ace of

spades and keep the ten, thereby attacking the lone hand in all three


Example: Clubs are trumps. The eldest hand has the king of clubs, the

king of hearts, the ace and seven of diamonds, and the ten of spades.

Lead the king of hearts, throw away the ten of spades as early as

possible, and play the seven of diamonds on the fourth trick, thereby

informing your partner that you are keeping a diamond.

If you lead from equals,--as king, queen, or queen, knave,--and your

opponent takes the trick with a card of that suit, throw away all your

other cards, however high, and keep your second one of that suit. This

applies always against the dealer, and usually against any other player.

If the eldest hand holds the ace of hearts and the ace and king of

spades (the trump being a club), lead the ace of hearts and advertise

the command of the spade suit by throwing away the ace as soon as


An exception: For third hand, supposing the dealer to have taken the

first three tricks without showing a lay card and to have led a winning

trump for the fourth trick. If your partner's fourth card is a lay king,

and you hold one card of that suit and one of another, neither of which

suits has been ruffed, keep the card of the same suit as your partner's

king on the fourth trick.

With an assistance you may play a lone hand with less strength than


Should your partner declare to play alone, and you have a fair trump

hand with no weakness in lay suits, it is good play to take it from him.

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