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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?

Fourth highest leads and the rule of 11

Fourth highest leads also allow partner to use the rule of 11 to locate the missing honours.


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.
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