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Play By Declarer's Adversaries

The adversaries of the Declarer must realize that they are at some
disadvantage in the play. The Declarer knows every card in the Dummy,
but each of his opponents can at best only guess the holding of his
partner. They should, therefore, strive by every means in their power
to give each other all possible information.

They should always play the lowest, and (except with Ace, King, and one
or more others) lead the highest of a sequence. The only case in which
they should withhold information or play a false card is when such
action may upset the calculations of the Declarer, and either cannot
mislead the partner, or, if it do, will not affect his play. For
example, with King, Queen, over an adverse Ace, Knave, 10, a false card
is more than justified, as it tempts the Declarer to mould his play for
another finesse; so also, in other cases in which the partner is
without strength in the suit and his play is, therefore, unimportant,
he may be treated as if he were a Dummy.

The advantage of forcing the strong hand is just as great in Auction as
in Whist or Bridge, and as a rule it is the best play possible for the
adversaries of the Declarer. The only exception is when the Dummy has
an established suit and a reentry.

Suppose, for example, with four tricks to play, the Declarer has the
last Trump (Hearts), one Club, and two Diamonds. The Dummy has three
winning Clubs, and the leader a Diamond and winning Spades. He knows he
can force the Declarer's last Trump with a Spade, and generally this
would be his wisest play; but the long Clubs in the Dummy show that the
usual tactics cannot now be employed, and his only chance is to lead a
Diamond hoping that his partner has one or two winners.

It goes without saying that leading a suit the weak adverse hand can
trump, and upon which the strong hand can discard, is carrying out a
custom most commendable at Christmas, but which at the card-table does
not arouse the enthusiasm of the partner.

A player should be most careful not to indicate by some mannerism that
his hand is trickless. By pulling a card before it is his turn to play,
by apparent lack of interest, or by allowing himself to be wrapped in
gloom, he may give the Declarer as much information as if he spread his
hand on the table.

Next: The Signal

Previous: Declarer's Play Of A Suit Declaration

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