Hints and Tips

Lead out of turn

This is one of the most common infringements that the Director gets called for. If you are declarer you have to be prepared to make a decision and you have many choices or options offered to you. Here is an explanation of the choices and some tips to help you make an advantageous decision in each case. 

Declarer is first asked whether they accept the lead and his/her hand goes down on the table


If declarer accepts the lead and remains declarer - this means that Dummy goes down on the table and declarer can look at it before playing a card from his/her hand

Tip: The decision about whether to accept the opening lead is based on 2 things

(a) Can I win that trick or at least gain control in the second round? And:

(b) Do I want the weak or strong hand on the table? Usually you want the strong hand off the table, so any weakness in it remains hidden from the opposition

If the opening lead is in your weak suit (i.e. you only have losers in it), you would in this case choose not to accept it.

If this is your decision you have 3 further choices:

You can require the lead to be in the same suit as the incorrect lead

In this case, the incorrect lead is picked up and does not have to be played, as long as the defender follows suit

Tip: This would be a strategic decision if you have a broken suit in your hand that you want the opposition to lead into. Not recommended unless you know what you are doing.

You can forbid a lead in the suit exposed in the incorrect suit

Once again the incorrect lead is picked up. Defender cannot lead the forbidden suit as long as he/she retains the lead

Tip: This is your best bet if you've got losers in this suit that you hope you will be able throw away on your strong suit

You can allow the lead from the correct hand to be in any suit

Defender must not be influenced by the card his/her partner has shown as it is considered to be unauthorised information. The defender on lead must make a lead based solely on the merits of his/her hand and the information from the bidding. The incorrect lead must remain face up on the table as a penalty card and must be played at the first legal opportunity.

Tip: You need to be sure you can keep or get back control (i.e. have winners in all the other suits) to allow this option.


Your partner has opened 1NT what are your options. Some people play transfers and Stayman, please click on the link to see an explanation of this Transfer after 1NT

Defence - Talking to partner.

What your cards mean depends on where you sit. Player 3 does the opposite of player 1. Here are some hints and tips from the House of Cards Defence