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What Third Hand Should Bid When Second Hand Has Declared

This situation involves so many possibilities that it is hard to cover
it with fixed rules.

The Third Hand in this position should reason in very much the same
manner as the Second Hand, after the Dealer has made a declaration
showing strength.[11] There is this distinct difference, however: in the
case of the Second Hand, he only knows that the Dealer has sufficient
strength to declare, and is without any means, other than the doctrine
of chances, of estimating the strength of his partner's hand. The Third
Hand, however, in the situation under consideration, is not only
advised that one adversary has sufficient strength to declare, but also
knows whether his partner's cards justify an initial bid. When the
Dealer has shown strength, he can be counted upon for at least the
minimum that his bid has evidenced; when he has called "one Spade," it
would not be wise to expect him to win more than one trick.

The Third Hand should consider these features of the situation, and
satisfy himself, when his partner has not shown strength, that he is
taking a wise risk in bidding over an adverse declaration. To justify a
call of No-trump over a Trump, he should either have the declared suit
stopped twice or, if it be stopped but once, he should also have solid
Clubs or Diamonds. When the Dealer has declared Hearts or Royals, and
the Second Hand made a higher suit call, it is, as a rule, wiser for
the Third Hand to advance his partner's declaration than to venture a
No-trump unless he have the adverse suit stopped twice.

When the Dealer has bid No-trump and the Second Hand two of any suit,
the Third Hand should not bid two No-trump unless he have the declared
suit stopped and at least one other trick. Without the declared suit
stopped, he should not bid two No-trump unless his hand be so strong
that he can figure with almost positive certainty that the No-trump bid
of his partner could not have been made without the adverse suit being
stopped. When in doubt, under such conditions, as to the advisability
of either bidding two No-trumps or some suit, the latter policy is
generally the safer.

When the Dealer has called No-trump and the Second Hand two of a suit,
the Third Hand must realize that his partner has already been taken
out, and therefore, under no circumstances, should he bid in this
situation, except for the purpose of showing strength; or with the
conviction that, aided by his partner's No-trump, he can fulfil the
contract he is proposing. For example, Dealer bids one No-trump; Second
Hand, two Royals; Third Hand holds six Hearts, headed by the Knave,
without another trick. Under these conditions, a Heart bid would be
most misleading, and probably most damaging. The Dealer may not be able
to help the Heart declaration, and he may very properly be encouraged
by it to believe that the Third Hand has considerable strength,
especially in Hearts, but is very weak in Spades. If, in consequence of
this supposed information, he return to his No-trump declaration, or
double an adverse three Royals, the result is apt to be extremely

The Third Hand must distinguish this case carefully from the situation
in which the Dealer has bid one No-trump and the Second Hand passed.
With the combination mentioned, he should then, of course, most
unhesitatingly take out his partner by bidding two Hearts; that bid,
under such circumstances, not showing strength.

Another situation that arises more frequently than would be supposed,
and the advantage of which it is most important for the Third Hand to
grasp, is when the Dealer has bid No-trump; the Second Hand, two of a
suit; and the Third Hand, without the adverse suit stopped, holds great
strength in Clubs, with such a hand that he desires his partner to go
to two No-trumps; provided he have the adversaries' suit stopped. The
bid of three Clubs does not increase the No-trump commitment which the
partner is obliged to make, and is much safer than for the Third Hand
to bid two No-trumps without the adverse suit stopped. It is a
suggestion to the partner to bid two No-trumps, provided he can take
care of the suit which the Second Hand has declared.

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