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fourth, it is often passed, and A makes erery trick in the suit.
N. B. This sort of play is always right in trumps; but if weak in then, it is generally the best play to make your certain tricks as fast as you can: or if you have not your share of them, somebody must have more than his own, and of consequence be weak in some other suit, which probably is your strong one.
93. Keep the trump card as long as you can, if your partner leads trumps: the contrary, if your adversary leads thein. In the former instance, supposing the eight turned up, and you have the nine, throw away the latter: in the last, (though you have the seven or six,) play the card you turned up.
94. When your partner is to lead, and you call before he plays, it is to direct him, if he has no honour, to play off the best trump he has.
95. Though, according to the strict laws of whist, all words and gestures are prohibited, yet, like all other laws not enforced by penalties, they are continually violated. There are, indeed, few players who do not discover, in some degree, the strength of their game, or their approbation or disapprobation of their partner's play, &c. As this is on one side often a material advantage to the party transgressing, so it is quite allowable for the adversaries to make use of it. Attentive and silent observation will frequently give an early insight into the game, and enable you to play your hand to more advantage, than by adhering 10 inore regular maxims.
96. Though tenace, or the advantage of position, cannot be reduced to a certainty, as at piquet; and that it is often necessary to relinquish it for inore certain advantages; still no man can be a whist player who does not understand it. The principle is simple, but the combinations are various." It is easily conceived, that if A has ace, queen, and a small card in a suit, of which B has king, knave, and another; if A leads the small card, he remains tenace, and wins two tricks; whereas, if he plays the ace, he gives it up, and makes but one. But if B is to lead, he has no tenace, and lead which card he will, he must make one trick, and can make no
This easy instance, well considered, will ena. ble the player, with some practice, to adapt it to more apparently intricate situations. 97. The following cases, which happen frequently,
will further explain this: A is left with four cards and the lead, viz. the second and fourth trump, and the ace and a small card of a suit not played. Nine trumps being out, B, his left-hand adversary, has the first and third trump, king, and a small one of the suit of which A leads the ace. Query--What card should B play? Answer-The king; by which he brings to an equal chance whether he wins three tricks or two; but if he keeps the king, he cannot possibly win three.
By placing the cards, you will perceive that if B's partner has a better card than A's, it prevents A from making either of his trumps, which, had B retained the king, he must have done.
98. A bas three cards of a suit not played, (the last remaining,) viz. king, queen, and ten ; B ace, knave, and another ; A leads the king; if B wins it, he gives up tenace, and gets but one trick ; whereas, if he does not, he makes his ace and knave by preserving it.
99. A has ace, knave, and ten, of a suit which his partner leads. Query-Which should he put on? An. swer—The ten, particularly if it is a forced lead; by this he probably wins two tricks. If he puts on the ace, and his partner has no honour in his suit, he gives up the tenace, and can only win one.
100. Tenace is easily kept against your right hand, but impossible, without great skill, against your left hand adversary.
101. To explain what is meant by playing to points, place the following points before you: A has the two lowest trumps, and two forcing cards, with the lead. The two best demonstrably in the adversaries' band; though uncertain if in the same, or divided. Nine cards being played, and no other trump remaining-Query-What is A to play? Answer – This can only be decided by the situation of the score, and whether or no it jus. tifies the hazarding two tricks for one. The least consideration will convince the player, that before the score is much advanced, it would be highly improper for A to play a trump, because he manifestly ventures two tricks for one ; of course he should secure two tricks by play. ing a forcing card. But suppose A to be at the score of seven, and that he has won six tricks, he should then as clearly venture to play the trump, because, if the trumps are divided, he wins the game, or otherwise re. mains at seven, which is preferable to the certainty of
scoring nine. But if the adversary is at nine, this should not be done, as by hazarding the odd trick, you hazard the game.
N. B. This mode of reasoning will in general direct you where and why finesses are proper or improper. For there is scarcely one, though ever so right in general, but what the different situations of the score and hand may render dangerous and indefensible.
102. The following critical stroke decided one of the most material rubbers that was ever plaved, and is recommended to the attentive perusa) even of proficients:
The parties were at nine. A hard won six tricks, and remained with knave and a small trump. and two diamonds, with the lead. B, his left hand adversary, with the queen and ten of trumps, and iwo clubs. C, bis partner, with two small trumps, and two diamonds. D, last player, with ace and a small trump, a club, and a heart. A led a diamond, which being passed by B, was to be won by D. Query- How is D to play, to make it possible to win the odd trick ? Ausuer-D saw it was not possible, unless his partner had either the two best trumps, or the first and third, with a successful finesse. He therefore trumped with the ace, Jed the small one, and won the game.
N. B. In another score of the game, this would not be justifiable, as the chance of losing a trick is greater than that of gaining one by it.
103. The attentive perusal (in the mode prescribed) of these maxims, will, I think, with a liule practice, enable a beginner to play with very good cards to considerable advantage. The difficulty of the game does not consist in this: for aces and kings will make tricks, and no skill can make a ten win a knave. But there are hands which frequently occur, when skilful players win, where bunglers lose their points; and (unless when the cards run very high) it is on the playing of such success depends, viz. ace or king, and three other trumps, a terce. major, with others of a second suit, and a probable trick in a third- The player's plan should be, to remain either with the last trump, or the last but one, with the lead; and to accomplish this last, he must not win the second lead with the commanding trump, but reserve it for the third. Nothing then but five trumps in one band, can probably prevent his establishing his long suit, for he forces out the best trump, and the thirteenth brings
in his suit again, which (without the lead after the third ! round of trumps) would be impossible.
104. As this maxim is of the utmost consequence, the following cases, which happen frequently, are added, to make it more clearly understood:
Ist. A has ace and three trumps, a strong suit, headed by a terce-inajor, and a probable trick in a third, with the lead. Query-How should this hand be played? Answer -A should lead a trump; but if his part. ner wins and returns it, A should not put on his ace, but suffer it to be won by his adversary. When either A or his partner gets the lead, he of course plays a trump, which being won by A, he remains with the lead, and one, but not the best trump, though they should not be equally divided. This (his strong suit having forced out the best) establishes it again, notwithstanding the adversary may command the other suits, which are by these means prevented from inaking.
N. B. Had the ace been put on the second lead, the force would have been on A, and his strong suit entirely useless.
2d. A, with a similar hand, has ace, king, and two small trumps. If the adversaries lead trumps, he should not win the first trick, even if last player. "By this, af. ter the second lead, he still retains the best for the third, according to the maxim, and establishes his suit, (though the best trump keeps up against him) unless there are five in one hand originally.
3d. With ace, queen, and two small trumps, do not win the knave led on your left hand, but let it be played again ; according to the same maxim.
As the following, or nearly similar situations, frequent. ly occur, I recommend them to the attentive perusal of those students, who feeling within themselves that they comprehend what I called the alphabet, wish to procure a gradual insight into the game. The whole combina. tions of which, I cannot too often repeat, proceed from plain and simple principles; but it requires much reflec. tion to comprehend the same maxim, when applied to inferior cards, that appear self-evident in the superior. There is scarcely a player, who if he has the ace, king, and knave of the suit of which his right hand adversary turns up the queen, but will lead the king and wait for the return to finesse bis knave. But with ace, queen, and ten, (the knave being turned up on bis right hand)
the same player will not see that his lead, if he plays a trump, is the queen, and that one and the same principle actuates the players on both occasions, and so on through the suit.
It constantly happens, that the adversary on the right hand having won his partner's lead with the ace or king, returns the knave. In this case do not put on the queen, as the probability is against its being finessed. But on all these occasions, play without hesitation, which constantly directs a skilful adversary where to finiesse to advantage.
It frequently happens when you have led from six trumps, that after your second lead you remain with three or four trumps, the best in your adversaries' hand; in these situations play a small trump, which has these two advantages-Ist. To prevent the stopping of your partner suit-2d. To give you the tenace, in whatever suit is led by the adversary. This mutatis mutandis will show that it is bad play to play out the best trump, leaving others in the hand of one of your adversaries. It may do good to keep it up, by stopping a suit, and can answer no good purpose whatever to play it out.
A remains with the best trump, (say the ten) and a small one, with some losing cards, B, his partner, having clearly the second best, (say the nine) with some winning cards. The adversaries having one small trump and winning cards of the other two suits. A is forced. Query-How is he to play? Answer-A is to ruff with his best, and lead out his small trump, by which he puts it into his partner's hand, to make his winning cards, and renders those of his adversaries of no use whatever. This mode of play would sometimes be right, even when it was not certain whether the second best trump were in his partner's or his adversary's hand; but the fine plaver alone can be expected to distinguish on so nice an occasion.
There are points where good players disagree. Some play what is called a forward-others a more timid game. Some commonly put on a king, second; others, but rarely. In these cases, a man may play either way, without committing error ; but where all good players are of the same opinion, it should be received as an axiom-no good player puts on a queen, knave, or ten second; of course, it should on all occasions be carefully avoided.