Lesson seven

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.

Deal One

You hold up your Ace until the third round, discovering that spades were 5-3.

There are eight tricks on top and you must aim to develop a ninth from the minor suits without allowing West (the danger hand) to gain the lead.

Looking for a 3-3 break in the club suit can wait.

The first priority is to seek an extra trick from the diamonds.

If the suit breaks 3-3, you will gain two extra tricks.

Life will also be easier when East holds four diamonds, since you can concede a fourth round of the suit to the safe hand.

The difficult situation is where West holds four diamonds.

In that case you must aim to duck a diamond trick into East’s hand.

Suppose you lead the ten diamonds with the intention of running the card to East.

West will foil that temporarily by covering with the Jack.

You win the trick in dummy and return to your hand with the King of clubs.

You then lead the 4 of diamonds towards the dummy.

West cannot afford to rise with the 8 or you will make all five diamond tricks.

He therefore plays low and you cover with dummy’s 7, ducking the trick into the safe hand.

East wins with the 9 and the contract is yours.

You will win East’s return and score four diamond tricks to go with your five top winners in the other suits.

It’s a pretty good one and will succeed against four diamonds with West unless he has an unbeatable J-9-8-x.

Deal two

Take one

If, after winning the opening lead, you run the Jack of trumps for finesse, you will go down on the present layout.

South will play the Ace of clubs and lead a club to North King and North will lead back a spade for South to ruff.

Take two

Since you can afford to lose one trump trick, but not two, you must take your Ace and lead a second round to South’s King.

Now South cannot get his spade ruff.

If South has three trumps to the King, there will be no way to make.

Deal three

The main question here is how to find the Queen of clubs.

The answer is that you should let the opponents find it for you.

You are looking at three heart losers and a possible club loser.

Your clubs are a perfect example of a holding where you want the defenders to play the suit first.

If you play clubs first (“break” the suit) you must decide which opponent to finesse for the Queen.

You can avoid deciding how to finesse clubs by making the defenders break the suit for you.

If either defender leads a club, you are certain to win three club tricks.

On this hand you can achieve this by drawing trumps while ruffing two diamond losers in your hand and then playing hearts.

After the defenders take three heart tricks they will have to play either a heart, diamond, or club, in each case giving you the tenth trick.

Deal four

Take one

If you win the opening lead with the Ace and lead trumps, South will win his Ace and play the King of clubs, driving out your Ace.

You can now play the 5 of spades toward the Jack, hoping to set up a club discard.

Of course it is too late. After winning the spade trick, they will immediately take both a club and a diamond trick dooming the contract.

Take two

You would play this way only if you overlook the fact that you could have accomplished that on the first trick by simply letting Souh win with the King.

Whatever the defense does now, the contract is safe.

If North now shifts to a club to drive out the Ace, on the third trick you can play a spade toward the A-J, finessing against the Queen with confidence.

This would enable you to discard the club loser at trick four prior to giving up the lead to the defenders.

Deal five

East’s doubles should cause you to think twice about whether a routine play can achieve any positive result.

You should play the contract as a dummy reversal.

There are three entries to dummy, the Ace of clubs, the King of spades and a ruff of a spade.

These entries allow you to ruff three clubs, thereby giving you three spades (one of which is ruffed), four clubs (three of which are ruffed), one diamond, and leaving you with the K-Q-x of trumps and two diamonds.

After the process is done, you can play the Ace of diamonds and a second one.

East is forced to ruff and have to lead the Jack of hearts, giving you a trick with the King.

Now you can lead the last diamond and East is forced to ruff again.

All East can do now is taking his Ace of hearts and giving you a tenth trick to the King.

The key idea here is that in such situations you should try to win as many small trumps in your hand as you can by ruffing the suit where you have a singleton.

Deal six

Sometimes you have no losers in a particular side suit, but by conceding an unnecessary trick in the suit you can end-play one of the defenders.

Here is an example of the play.

You have one potential loser in each of the minor suits and no losers in spades.

You have two minor finesses options.

Nevertheless, it is in spades that you should take your finesse.

Win the trump lead with the Jack and cash the Ace of trumps.

Play a spade to the ten and Jack.

East has no safe return.

You began with eleven top tricks and East’s return into one of dummy’s three forks, will give you a twelfth trick.




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