Home | Opening Leads - fourth highest

Opening Leads - fourth highest

When leading a low card from a long suit it's normal to lead your fourth highest. Doing so will help partner know the length of your suit.

In this first example, North leads the 2 against West's 3NT contract. North has no cards lower than the 2 so he must have started with exactly four hearts.

Leading your long suit

North started with four hearts!

This time, North leads the 6 against West's 3NT contract. You can't see the 4 yet so you can't be sure about North's heart length. Once you see the 4 you'll know whether North started with four or five hearts.

Leading your long suit

Who has the 4?

Related Lessons

Opening Leads - The opening lead is possibly the most informative card for the defence.
Rule of 11 - Learn how to use the rule of 11 to calculate the location of unseen cards when playing or defending a hand of bridge.


Got opposition down two.
Have to digest this 🌪
Still lost🙄
cvijay says:
Thanks for nice advice
MBT says:
Do I have to have Royal membership to follow a player? If not how do I follow catch22?
Don’t understand how you know that north has only 4 hearts????
Oh dear! I’m thick!!!
Del says:
That’s great - thanks Graeme, well explained 👍
jaysea says:
Simpler method is to subtract the number of the card led from 11 (in this case 11-6 = 5). This is how many cards there are above the card led in the other three hands. I can see 3 in dummy (J98) and one in my (South's) hand (A), so declarer only has one card greater than the 6. Even if it is the K, partner will beat dummy's J with the Q when I return another heart after winning with the club Ace. So win with the A and return another heart. 3 down.
Rule of 11?
Finally figured N had the 4 of Hearts. Pretty simple to play the hand once this is known. Was able to set them by 2. Now to remember this the next time I play 3 NT.
Marilyn says:
Great lesson.Thanks
The opposition can count as well as your partner prefer to lead lowest not always 4 th
colin77 says:
Very helpful.
Soose3 says:
Very cool!
Norwil898 says:
Another gem. But sort out approach first. Usually try and pick a safe lead which won’t lose any of your potential winners. 3 rubbish to an honour is dangerous. You need substance in the suit if you’re going to play 4th highest
Betterup says:
Becoming clearer. Thank you.
Log in to comment