Covering an Honor with a Higher Honor in Bridge
When the dummy leads its only honor card in Bridge (10 or higher) and you have a higher honor card, gently place your honor right on top of the dummy’s honor. By so doing, you force the declarer to play yet another honor to that trick. After at least three honor cards are played to the same trick, lower spot cards have a way of becoming winning tricks; it’s called promotion — the reason you cover.
These cards in give you a chance to do a little promoting. If the dummy leads the ♠Q, play the ♠K, covering an honor with a higher honor. If you see the declarer take the trick with the ♠A, don’t think that you have wasted your ♠K — think that you have promoted your ♠10. After ♠AKQ have been played on the trick, the ♠J becomes top dog in the suit. Later, after the ♠J is played, the ♠10 moves up a notch to top rank. You have the ♠10. Long live the 10!
Take that: Your honor is bigger than the dummy’s honor.
If you stubbornly refuse to play your ♠K, the ♠Q takes the trick and the declarer remains with the ♠AJ. The declarer then takes the next two tricks by leading the ♠5 to the ♠J. You wind up with nothing.
Covering an honor with a higher honor can work in strange and wonderful ways that save you from losing tricks.
Covering an honor with an honor can promote an 8 or a 9 to a winning rank.
If the dummy leads the ♠5, play the ♠6 (playing second hand low). However, if the dummy leads the ♠J, play the ♠Q. If you play the ♠Q, the declarer wins the ♠A. The ♠K and then the ♠10 are also high, but eventually your partner’s ♠9 tops the declarer’s ♠8. If you cover an honor with a higher honor, the declarer takes only three spade tricks.
If you don’t cover, the ♠J wins the trick, and later your queen drops and declarer takes three more tricks with the AK10. Your side gets zilch. By not playing the queen and allowing her to promote your partner’s 9, you have not done her majesty justice.
If you cover an honor with an honor and the declarer takes the trick with yet another honor, three of the top five honors vanish on one trick. Suddenly the lower honors and the 8s and 9s sit up and take notice, because they may soon become winning tricks. You cover an honor with an honor to promote lower honors (not to mention 8s and 9s) for either you or your partner.