Lesson six

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

East wins the Ace of hearts and returns the 2.

The main decision on this deal is whether to take the trump finesse.

With the Ace of clubs a certain trick for the defense, you can afford to lose one trump trick but not two.

Chances are high that one of the defenders has no more hearts, although you cannot be certain which.

Take one

If you take losing trump finesse, the defenders may score a heart ruff to beat your contract.

This may happen if East began with a doubleton heart and at least two trumps and West holds the Ace of clubs.

Take two

To give yourself the best chance of stopping the defenders from ruffing one of your winners, you need to draw trumps as quickly as possible.

The odds heavily favor avoiding the finesse and, instead, playing a trump to the Ace and then an immediate second round.

Deal two

Sometimes you cannot draw all of the trumps before giving up the lead

Holding eight cards in the side suit that has been led, you should be aware that the lead is probably a singleton.

The fact that the lead is also the lowest missing spot card reinforces the warning.

With so many top tricks, surely you should lead trumps as quickly as possible.

Or shouldn’t you?

Take one

As the cards lie, though, if you play a trump at trick two, North will win with the Ace and play a club for his partner to ruff: not an unlikely scenario.

Take two

A better option is to win the club lead and immediately play the King of hearts, overtaking with dummy’s Ace.

You can then cash the Queen of hearts, discarding a club from your hand.

Next, you should play the Jack of hearts and discard the Ace of clubs.

When you then play a trump, North wins and returns a club, but you can ruff with a high trump.

Re-entering dummy while drawing the last trump in the process, then, allows you to discard your spade loser on one of dummy’s club winners.

Deal three

You should ruff the opening lead rather than winning with dummy’s Ace.

Draw trumps and then lead a low club away from your Jx, performing a Morton’s fork manoeuvr against West.

Take one

If West wins the Ace, he gives you two club tricks and then they, together with the Ace of spades can be used to discard three losing diamonds.

Take two

When West ducks, you can use dummy’s Ace of spades to throw off your Jack of clubs, losing only a diamond.

It has to be clear that this option would not be available if you win the opening lead with the Ace

Deal four

You hold up the Ace until the third round to cut the link between the defenders.

You have six tricks on top and will have to develop the diamonds suit.

You need South to hold the King of diamonds, otherwise North will gain the lead and cash two more spade tricks.

That’s not enough, however.

You must arrange the play so that you lose a diamond trick to South rather than to North.

Take one

At trick four you should cross to dummy with the Ace of clubs and lead a diamond towards your hand.

If South rises with the King, you will allow that card to win.

He will have no spade to play after your hold-up in the suit and your remaining diamonds will be good.

Take two

South is more likely to play the 9.

In this case you will finesse the Queen, pleased to see the card wins.

You must be careful now. If you play the Ace of diamonds next, you will go down.

North will win the third round of diamonds and defeat you.

It’s true that you could succeed by playing a low diamond next, to the singleton King, but that would simply be good guesswork.

When diamonds are breaking 3-2, there is no need to guess!

You should return to dummy with the Ace of hearts and lead a second round of diamonds towards your hand.

If the King appears from South, you will duck.

Deal five

Take one

Looking at the club suit in isolation, you would normally cover the Jack with dummy’s Queen.

If this were covered with the King and Ace, you would subsequently lead towards dummy’s 9, expecting to set up a second club trick.

After all, it is quite likely that West’s clubs are headed by the J-10.

Is this the only way to set up a second club trick?

You should notice that on this particular deal, an extra trick in clubs is worthless because you have no useful discard to make (neither your third spade, nor your third diamond is a loser anyway).

If you cover with the Queen of clubs, West will eventually gain the lead in clubs and you will lose two spades, one diamond and one club.

Take two

The same fate awaits you if you play low from dummy and mistakenly win the first trick with your Ace.

Take three

It is more important to make sure that West does not gain the lead in clubs, which would allow him to lead a spade through your King.

You should therefore play a low card from dummy at trick one and allow the Jack win.

From then on, the play will be straightforward. You will win the next round of clubs and draw trumps in two rounds.

When you set up the diamonds, it will be East, the safe hand, who produces the Ace (as expected from the auction).

He cannot attack spades profitably from his side of the table, so your game is secure.

If East does not play another spade when he takes the Ace of diamonds, you will discard one of dummy’s spades on the third round of diamonds.

Deal six

If North holds the Ace of clubs, all will be well: you can score five spades, two hearts, two diamonds and a club.

The red suits offer you an additional chance.

Take one

Suppose that you followed the more straightforward line of drawing trumps and playing King, Ace and another diamond.

The dangerous North hand would gain the lead and kill the contract with a club switch.

Take two

At trick two you should lead the Queen of hearts.

When South covers with the King you should play low from dummy.

You leave the safe hand on lead so the clubs cannot be attacked.

Meanwhile you have set up a diamond discard on the heart suit and may be able to establish the diamonds with the help of a ruff.

Win South’s trump continuation in your hand, both defenders following, and play two more rounds of hearts, discarding a diamond from your hand.

Next, you can play the King and Ace of diamonds and ruff a diamond with the Ace.

The suit breaks 3-3 (why shouldn’t you be lucky once in a while?) and you return to dummy with a third round of trumps to discard a club loser on the long diamond.



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