Learn to play Bridge


Playing: Lesson 7

Leading towards honour's

Not all contracts are guaranteed. You sometimes need to take a chance on the distribution of the cards in your opponents hands.

Leading a small card toward honour's in the other hand is a technique generally referred to as a finesse.

North hand : Eight of spades Four of Spades Two of Spades


South hand: King of spades six of spades Five of Spades

You have a potential trick in the King of Spades. But you can not be sure it will make.

If the opponents are kind they will lead the Ace but that does not often happen. You may have to play the suit yourself.

There are 2 possibilities. The first offers no hope the Ace is always taking the King.

8 4 2
A 10 9 7
Q J 3
K 6 5

However if the Ace lies like this if you lead from the North hand ' towards the honour's then east hand can play the Ace but that gives you the King. If east opts not to play the Ace you can play the King and win.

8 4 2
Q J 3
A 10 9 7
K 6 5

This gives you a 50% chance which is better than none.

Plan you play to ensure you are in the right hand for the lead

Look at these layouts and you can see that leading towards the honour that is not the top card can give you extra tricks

A 8 4 2
J 3
K 10 9 7
Q 6 5

Here you can make both the Ace and the Queen by leading the 2 towards the Queen.

K 10 9 3
8 7 4
6 5

The north hand has the King trapped and you can make all three tricks by coming to the south hand twice to make your lead.

9 8 4
J 3 2
A 10 7 5
K Q 6

Again you need to lead towards the honour's twice to maximise the number of tricks you can make.

Example Hands

These hand allow you to practice 'leading towards honour's

Don't forget all the other techniques as they may apply as well.

  • Remember to count your top tricks.
  • Identify any potential blockage.
  • Identify any entries needed to maintain communication.
  • Look for a long suit that will yield extra tricks.
  • Be prepared to lose a trick to gain more
  • Try to establish your tricks early, whilst you are still in control
  • Identify honour's which need to be established
When you are ready click the 'start play' button.
Click the card you want to play when the arrow is showing.

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© Mary Vale 2009
Learn to play bridge