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When The Dealer Has Called One Spade And The Second Hand Passed

In the old days, when the Dealer's "one Spade" was without significance,
the Third Hand was always obliged to declare, in order to give the
Dealer the opportunity to get back into the game, as it was possible
that he had great strength. Now the Third Hand recognizes that there is
not the least obligation upon him to bid, and that it is inadvisable
for him to do so unless his hand be so strong that, even with a weak
partner, game is in sight, or unless it be important for him to
indicate to the Dealer what to lead if the Fourth Hand make the final

Should the Third Hand pass, and the Fourth Hand also pass, allowing the
one Spade declaration to stand, the liability of the Declarer cannot
exceed 100 points, but if the Third Hand bid, the liability becomes
unlimited. While the Dealer and Second Hand both have the right to
assume that their partners have an average percentage of the remaining
cards, the Third Hand is not justified in any such presumption, after
the Dealer, by bidding one Spade, has virtually waved the red flag.
True it is, a similar warning has appeared on the right, but if both
danger signals are to be believed, the only inference is that the
strength is massed on the left. The bidding by the Third Hand must,
therefore, be of a very different character from that of the Dealer or
Second Hand. He should not venture a No-trump unless he have four sure
tricks with the probability of more and at least three suits stopped.
When in doubt whether to declare No-trump or a suit, it is generally
wise for him to select the latter.

Third Hand suit declarations should be made under either of two

(a) When the hand is so strong that there appears to be at
least a fair chance for game with the suit he names as Trump.

(b) When he expects a No-trump from the Fourth Hand and
wishes to indicate to his partner the lead he desires.

In the former case, it is often good policy for the Third Hand to start
with a bid of two. This serves a double purpose, as it shows the Dealer
the character of the hand and helps to shut out an adverse declaration.

If the main idea of the bid be to indicate a lead, it is advisable to
make it on the first round, when one can be called, rather than wait
until it becomes necessary to bid two, which, against a No-trump, may
prove dangerous. If the Third Hand have any such combination as King,
Queen, Knave, with one or more others of that suit, and a reentry, a
declaration at this stage is most important, as unless the partner open
that suit, it will probably never be established against a No-trump.
Even if the long suit be headed by Queen, Knave, it may be important to
show it, as the partner may hold an honor, in which case the suit may
be quickly established. When the long suit is headed by a Knave, it
should not be shown unless the hand contain more than one reentry. It
may be so necessary for the Third Hand, in the position under
consideration, to indicate a lead that no absolute strength
requirement, such as a fixed number of tricks, is essential for a bid.
It frequently keeps the adverse No-trumper from going game to have the
right suit called originally--otherwise, the Dealer has to lead his own
suit, and when the Third Hand is without strength in it, such a lead
greatly facilitates the Declarer.

Next: When The Dealer Has Shown Strength And The Second Hand Passed

Previous: Third Hand Declarations

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