Knowing the correct play for each type of hand can be confusing to the novice player, especially if they try to memorize what cards to play without understanding the logic behind each situation. In the next example, we show where leading trump on the fourth lead is the correct play. As you look at the following hand, think about what is different. I'll talk more about that difference as we go along.
The dealer is sitting in South position. They turn up the ten of spades and their partner(N) orders them to pick it up. They discard the 9 of diamonds.
West leads the 9 of spades (trump). The maker(N) plays the ace and East follows suit. Four trump are now out of play.
* Although most of us have been taught not to lead a trump to your opponent's call. In certain situations, this tactic may be beneficial. Especially when trying to set up your opponents for a euchre. It is used primarily when a partner orders up the dealer (assists). The premise being the pick-up will be the only trump the dealer holds.
The maker(N) then leads ace of clubs. East follows suit, South throws off the queen of hearts and West also follows suit with the 10. Two tricks for the bidding team.
Now the maker(N) leads back the nine of diamonds. East follows suit with the jack and South takes the trick with the ace of diamonds. Three tricks for the bidding team.
Take a close look at the hand as it now stands. Four trump have been played, and South holds the top trump plus an off-suit ace. There are still two trump unaccounted for. One of them surely has to be in their partner's hand; the second one may or may not be. Leading the boss trump here will do one of two things. It will either take the balance of any remaining trump to assure the ace of hearts is good. Alternatively, if the maker/partner has two trump left, he will trump the ace for the last trick. Five tricks and two points either way.
On this hand, it made no difference how it was played. However, what if West happened to be void in hearts and held the second trump? In that case, leading the ace of hearts would cost the bidding team a point.
Before leading trump on the fourth trick, think about whether you can control the balance of the hand or not. If you can't hand then give your partner a chance to make use of any remaining trump they may hold.
On page 4 we will show another situation where leading trump on the fourth trick is correct.