If you hold an AQ or KJ of a suit, with a low card being led up to it, you have a "tenace," and you hope that the missing card is "onside" with the right hand opponent (RHO).

If you hold, say an AJ or a KT or a Q9 (and the missing cards are not in your partner's hand), is that also called a tenace, or is there a special name for this kind of a holding?

More to the point, if there are two missing cards, A and B, is it usually good technique to refrain from covering the first one, and only cover the second one? For instance if you have KTx, should you duck when RHO plays that J, and wait till he plays the Q, then you cover with the K, A captures, and your T is now high?


I don't think there is a special name for this holding. I think they are still tenaces. (After all, at least one etymology for "tenace" is "ten-ace"!)

If you look at the suit in isolation, it doesn't matter whether you lose the first trick or the second trick; either way, if you lead twice towards AJx, you can get 2 tricks if KQ are both onside.

However, in an actual hand, there are going to be many timing issues associated with when you would prefer to lose a trick. There may be endplay or squeeze possibilities that make it more beneficial to lose a trick early or late. If you lose a trick very early, you may have the advantage that defender doesn't have enough information to figure out the best return. There may be possibilities for Morton's Fork coups or discarding a loser anyway that only work taking the first trick or losing the first trick. You might have a vulnerable entry in one hand that you don't want knocked out, or a different tenace that you want led to.

A lot of times, the question boils down to which defender you want on lead more assuming the honors are split, given that you have a possibility of discarding the second loser at a later point.

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    NO! etymology is: "from Spanish tenaza, literally ‘pincers.’" – Forget I was ever here Aug 10 '16 at 23:23

The most similar case I've seen named is when you're holding the AJT - it is likely each opponent is holding one of the missing KQ, so you can play two finesses and expect one to fail and the other to succeed. This is called "finessing against split honors".

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