These maxims apply only for the Defenders. And as with most bridge maxims there are lots of exceptions. These rules apply for most situations but not for all.
SECOND HAND LOW
|EXAMPLE 1. Dummy plays the 3. Do not play the Queen. Play the 2. If your partner has the King he will win the trick. If your partner does not have the King, then sacrificing the Queen (or even the 9) will not help.||1.
A 8 3
Q 9 2
|EXAMPLE 2. The 5 is played by the Declarer. Play the 2. Playing the Queen to force the Ace is a no win play. For if your partner has the King he will make it anyway. And if he does not have the King the Declarer might go up with the Ace and then your Queen will be in a winning position.||2.
A J 4 3
The Third Hand is always the Defender who plays aftter the Dummy and before the Declarer.
EXAMPLE 3. Partner leads the 3 and Dummy plays the 4. Play the Queen. This could knock out Declarer’s Ace and and establish your partner’s King (or even Jack) as a winner. Playing small would enable Declarer to win with a small card. If partner does not have the King you still have not lost anything by playing the Queen. If Declarer has the Ace, King, Jack your Queen was always finessable and could never win a trick.
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