# What adjustments do you have to make if partner leads “third highest” instead of “fourth highest” to open?"

I would imagine that when using the "rule of 11," you would subtract the card's rank from 12 instead of 11 to get the number of outstanding cards higher than the led card outside of the opening leader's hand. Is this correct?

And suppose partner had A-Q-T-8-x, or A-Q-9-7-x that is five "disconnected" cards. Using "fourth best," partner would lead the 8 or 7, and "third best, partner would lead the T or 9. How would one distinguish such a lead from the "top of nothing?" Or is the whole point being that if you are leading "third best, you should lead x (low) from T9x or 98x?

What other adjustments need to be made, if any?

## 1 Answer

Yes, The Rule of 12 is used, except it is the Rule of 10 and 12. Third best is led only from a holding 3 or 4 cards and fifth best is led from holdings of 5 or 6 cards. Opening Leader's partner is expected to apply the result of subtracting from both 10 and 12, with the information available from seeing Dummy and hearing the bidding, to make an appropriate assessment on Opening leader's holding.

The rationale is:

• Remove the ambiguity from leads of 3rd best from 3 and 4th best from 4;

• More readily allow partner to identify holdings of 5 cards by Opening Leader; and

• Combine more consistently from Coded 9's and 10's Leads (vs NT), where Opening Lead of Jack denies the Queen, and that of either the Ten or Nine is either top of a sequence or show the next higher card in a broken sequence, as any of: AJT, KJT, AT9, KT9, QT9.

• You mean "show the lower" in a broken sequence, right? (T<J, 9<T.) Or do you mean that the T or 9 shows a higher card (J or T) above it? – Tom Au Dec 13 '20 at 22:23
• @TomAu: Yes, either shows as highest card (usually top of a sequence if you desire to play with this partner again) or as second highest from a broken sequence including the next highest card (ie T shows J and 9 shows T). – Forget I was ever here Dec 14 '20 at 0:50
• That wording threw me off also - edited slightly to hopefully make it more clear. – Joe Dec 14 '20 at 4:02
• I think of coded 9's and 10's as playing that J denies a higher honor and T's and 9's promise 0 or 2 higher. – Alexander Woo Dec 14 '20 at 5:01
• Also, it seems to me that US expert standard nowadays is generally 3rd/5th vs suits and 4th best (or attitude) vs NT – Alexander Woo Dec 14 '20 at 5:17