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How to Play Second Hand with the Dummy on Your Left in Bridge

When the dummy is on your left in a hand of bridge, you can see what’s in the hand that plays after you do. So, if you’re playing second hand (the second person to play) and the dummy is visible, you usually know what the declarer is planning to play from the dummy.

When the dummy is on your left, you can often just let common sense take over. The cards in this image show you a case in which you can very easily think through your defense because you can see the dummy.

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No matter which spade South leads, play the ♠2 because you can see that the ♠A must be played on this trick. By playing the ♠2 first, you conserve your ♠K and ♠Q for taking later tricks.

Here are some more tips on playing second hand with the dummy on your left:

  • When the declarer leads a low card toward the dummy, you generally don’t have to waste your nines, tens, and jacks to force an honor out of the dummy; those honors will be played anyway.

  • Use your ace to capture something worthwhile — such as an honor card. Don’t use your ace on a low card unless you need just one more trick to defeat the contract, then take it.

  • If the declarer leads an honor and you have two higher honors, cover the declarer’s honor with your lower honor. In general, whether you decide to cover or not to cover, do it nonchalantly, as if you couldn’t care less about what is going on. If you start hemming and hawing, sweat starts appearing, and you finally play low, a declarer who isn’t comatose will pick up on your strange behavior and work out that you must have the missing honor. If you play low quickly, you can fool even the best declarer.

  • When the dummy’s cards are higher than your cards, don’t fight it — just play low. For example, you need to play low when you have the cards shown in this image. South leads a low spade, ♠3. You see that whichever spade you play, the dummy has a higher one — play low. Don’t waste an honor. For all you know, the declarer may intend to play the ♠A.

    image1.jpg

Your real problem arises when the declarer leads an honor, you have a higher honor, and the dummy has a higher honor yet. If the declarer leads an honor in a side suit (any suit other than the trump suit) and you have one higher honor, follow these guidelines:

  • If the dummy has one higher honor than you, don’t play your honor.

  • If the dummy has two higher honors than your honor, play your honor.

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