Lesson four

Instructions: Click on the link (the number of a deal) and after the movie appears, click on “Next” to have the opening lead. You can then click on “Play” and play the hand for yourself or by following my notes.

Hand one

Your only hope is to ruff a club but West is almost certain to overruff the dummy.

The solution is to hope that if West has two clubs, he has also only two trumps.

Take one

If you win trick one and play the clubs for a ruff, on the third club lead East will take the trick and lead to West for a ruff.

Take two

Or if you draw two rounds of trumps and give up the lead to East in an attempt to ruff the fourth club, East will win the club and lead a third round of trumps, preventing the ruff.

Take three

To reduce the risk, concede a club, draw two rounds of trumps and then ruff a club.

Later you can draw the remaining trump and throw off your losing diamond on the King of spades.

Hand two

You have seven top tricks in the black suits and must set up two further tricks in the red suits before East can enjoy his long spades.

Take one

Suppose you lead a diamond to the Queen at trick 2.

East will win with the Ace and clear the spades.

When you attempt to set up a ninth trick by leading towards the King of hearts, East will win the Ace and cash three spade tricks to put you down one.

Take two

A better line of play is to cross to dummy with a club and lead a diamond towards your hand.

East can win the lead if he chooses, by winning his Ace, but he will pay an unacceptable price.

He will set up both the King and Queen of diamonds, giving you the contract.

Take three

If East ducks the trick, you will pocket the diamond trick, which you have achieved without surrendering the lead.

You will then return to dummy with a club to lead towards the King of hearts.

East does indeed hold the Ace of hearts, as you should expect after his opening bid, so, whether he takes the Ace or not, you will have the King of hearts as your ninth trick.

Hand three.

Take one

Suppose you win with the Ace and lead the King of hearts.

South will win the trick and clear the spade suit.

When the hearts fail to divide 3-3, you will be at least one trick short.

Take two

How about leading a low club from your hand at trick two?

That’s no good either. South will win the Ace and clear the spades.

Again, you will have only eight tricks.

Take three

To make the game you must win the first (or second) spade and lead the 2 of hearts from your hand.

If West plays his Ace on thin air, you will have four heart tricks, enough for the contract.

South is more likely to play low, allowing dummy’s Queen to win the trick.

You will then have six top tricks and three more in clubs will give you the contract.

Hand four

Take one

Suppose the play to the first three tricks goes Ace of diamonds, King of hearts and a club to the Ace.

You intend to cash the Ace and Queen of hearts next to test the suit and to discard a diamond on each of these.

You will certainly succeed if hearts break 3-3.

If hearts do not break 3-3, you can try your luck in clubs.

Today your luck is out if you play this way. West has a sure entry in clubs and a heart to cash upon gaining the lead.

Take two

After taking the Ace of diamonds and unblocking the King of hearts, you should not continue with a club to the Ace but by ducking a club.

Once you regain the lead, you can cross to the Ace of clubs and test the hearts.

When these bring no joy, you can return to hand with a spade and play clubs from the top.

Hand five

Take one

If you overtake West’s Queen with your King, East will ruff and you will lose four diamond tricks.

Take two

You should let the Queen run and then take south’s Jack, letting East ruff.

Your 10 has now been set up.

Hand six

You may not be able to prevent a defender scoring a trump trick, but WHEN he takes that trick may determine the success or failure of your contract.

If both minor suits split 3-2, you will have thirteen tricks, but when you cash two high trumps south discards a heart.

You can do nothing about South’s trump trick, but your contract will still be safe if clubs break.

But what if clubs are also 4-1, though?

You need to test the clubs while dummy still has a trump.

If South also holds four clubs, you will then be able to ruff the fourth round in dummy while he has to follow suit.

What if South has a singleton club though?

Take one

If you play the Ace and King of clubs, South will ruff and return his last trump.

You will still have to lose a club to North later.

The key is to lead the second round of clubs through South.

Take two

Play a club to dummy’s King and a second club towards the honors in your hand.

If both defenders follow suit, you can cash the last high trump and claim twelve tricks.

If South started with only one club, though, it will not help him to ruff.

Win with the Ace and repeat the process: cross back to dummy with the Ace of spades and lead the third round of clubs through South.

Again, it does not benefit him to ruff, so you win the Queen and now ruff the fourth round of clubs in dummy.

South can overruff or save his natural trump trick until later, but either way you will have twelve tricks and your contract.


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