Best eBridge Defensive Second-Hand High
This Guide shows how Defenders play when sitting in 3rd seat. The guidelines here conform to Audrey Grant (AG) and Best eBridge (BeB) systems. You may practice such play at BeB. Most examples in this Guide would be the same whether made from AG’s Defense or BeB’s principles. You may receive a 1-month free BeB membership by registering with this link: https://bestebridge.com/?lps=70001234.
You may download this lesson: BeB 2nd Hand High for Blog
Second Hand High (2hh)
Theory of 2hh: You may Google “second hand in bridge” to find many excellent links on the topic. Two of these links that aren’t the highest but seem excellent are John Blankinship’s Second Hand Play on Defense (Part 1) and Second Hand Play on Defense (Part 2).
Technique of 2hh: In general, a Defender plays the same as a Declarer. Holding small, intermediate, and high cards in their team’s two hands, both Defender and Declarer will play low from the 2nd hand and as high as necessary from the 4th hand. This is easy for Declarer because Declarer can see both hands. It is more difficult for Defenders because all they know is the approximate HCP of their partner, the suits bid and supported by Declarer, the cards in Dummy, and the cards in their own hand. The normal technique remains for the 2nd hand to play low. But there are times when Defenders’ 4th hand has no HCPs, few entries, and no time to waste in developing tricks. Second-hand high is about these times, when the 2nd-hand Defender must be assertive. You may find BeB’s 2hh under the tabs Defense, Practice by Technique, Basic Techniques, Second Hand Play, Start Practice.
1st Lead by Left Hand Opponent (LHO)
- LHO has no points: The bidding proves that LHO has no HCP. The role of defense is up to RHO, except LHO signals count. RHO plays 2hh whenever they can win the trick. See Hand 6.
- LHO has no trumps: Declarer and Dummy have bid the contract in a way that permits RHO to determine their length. The estimated trumps in Declarer’s, Dummy’s, and RHO’s hands equal 13. RHO must not telegraph this fact to Declarer. RHO plays low and smoothly on all trump leads. See Hand 4.
- LHO has few entries: LHO leads a great suit. Defenders may be able to set the contract in this suit and their QT without developing any other tricks. The success of the Defense depends on reaching LHO’s hand so that the long suit may be run. RHO should play 2hh whenever possible to preserve LHO’s entries. Each time that RHO gains the lead, RHO leads LHO’s suit through Declarer’s strength. See Hands 3, 5.
- RHO cannot set the contract: LHO leads a good suit. Defenders can take some tricks in LHO’s suit, but not enough to set the contract. RHO must play 2hh to gain the lead, then continue in Dummy’s weakest suit, hoping to trap Declarer’s stoppers in an imagined LHO tenace. See Hands 1, 2.
BeB Hands (You are always RHO. Declarer is either W or E.)
- Hand 1: 4♥ Contract. 1♥-P-2♥-P-3♥-P-4♥. LHO leads low, 4th best, indicating an honor. LHO would not underlead an A. Dummy has the K. LHO must hold lower values such as QJT. RHO has 2 QT. The lead will not result in sufficient additional tricks to set the contract. Dummy has one weak doubleton. As soon as RHO can gain the lead, RHO leads Dummy’s doubleton. This traps Declarer’s stopper.
- Hand 2: 3NT Contract. 1♦-P-1N-P-3N. LHO leads low, 4th best, indicating an honor. RHO plays top of a doubleton to signal count. Defenders need extra winners. LHO needs to preserve their scarce entries. As soon as RHO can play high, they do. RHO leads Dummy’s weak suit, trapping Declarer’s stopper. Then RHO continues with LHO’s original suit. LHO still has an entry to run their established cards.
- Hand 3: 3NT Contract. 2♠-P-P-3N. LHO leads low, 4th best, indicating an honor. Opener probably has 2 honors for their bid. Rule of 11 shows Declarer with one stopper. RHO has a QT in a side suit. RHO plays top of a doubleton to signal count. As soon as RHO can play high in their side suit, they do. RHO continues with LHO’s original suit, trapping Declarer’s only stopper.
- Hand 4: 6♠ Contract. 1♠-P-2NT-P-3♣-P-4N-P-5♣-6♠. LHO leads an K, promising a sequence. Declarer wins, so LHO has the Q established. RHO knows that LHO has no trumps. When Dummy opens the trumps, RHO plays a low card smoothly. Declarer rises to capture LHO’s trump, but instead promotes RHO’s remaining trumps.
- Hand 5: 3NT Contract. 1♦-2♠-3♦-P-3N. LHO leads Q from top of honor sequence. Declarer has the AK. LHO bid, so LHO has points and entries. RHO needs to protect LHO’s entries. Whenever RHO has an opportunity to play 2hh, they do so, and continues in LHO’s suit.
- Hand 6: 3NT Contract. 1♠-1N-P-3N. LHO leads low in RHO’s suit. From the bidding, LHO has no points. The hand is a race between RHO and Declarer. At every opportunity that RHO gets to play 2hh, they do. RHO promotes their own suit when in the lead. Eventually, RHO establishes their suit, gains the lead, and runs their suit. RHO wins the race by playing 2hh.