Part 1 of our Defence module.
If any of this is unclear, go back and watch Module 7.1 again.
We talked in the video about leading the top of touching honours - from honour sequences. Where you have three (or more) honours in a sequence then this is very straightforward - you should definitely lead the top one. Where you have only two, say KQ98, it gets a little more complicated. Once you start playing the full version of the game, with bidding, there will be clues to help you. For now, here are a couple of guidelines about leading suits headed by only two touching honours:
Where you have five or more cards in the suit, e.g. KQ875 you should generally lead the top of two touching honours regardless of the strength of the other cards.
When you have only four cards in the suit you should lead the top of two touching honours only when the suit is fairly solid, e.g. from QJ98 you should lead the Q, but otherwise you should lead a small card. So from QJ53 you should lead the 3.
You should not lead from two touching honours in three card holdings, e.g. QJ4. (later, when you have bidding, you would lead this suit if your partner had bid it but that’s not relevant here).
The Rule of 11
We also talked about a clever gadget that gives you important clues about the layout of the suit when you believe that your partner has led their fourth highest card. This is called the rule of 11. When your partner leads against no-trumps, subtract the number of the card that your partner has led from 11 (for example they have led 4♠, so 11-4 = 7) and that gives you the total number of cards higher than the card partner has led held between your hand, dummy, and declarer. So in our example where partner has led the 4♠, you know that there are seven spades higher than the 4 between those three hands. You can see those in dummy and your hand, so you now know how many of those cards higher than the 4 are in declarer’s hand. You don’t know yet who has the 3 and the 2 but those are less important than the higher cards and they will appear soon enough, allowing you to know the exact layout of the suit.
You would be surprised how much you can sometimes work out about the hand from partner’s opening lead but you have to be looking for those clues. The quiz will help you to practice.