bridge

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Mind Games - PaulMarston

first things a new bridge player has to learn is that is that it is un­wise to lead out un­sup­ported hon­our cards. Hold­ing K975, the lead of the king will usu­ally achieve lit­tle more than a pre­ma­ture death of the king. It’s bet­ter if your part­ner leads the suit, al­low­ing you to play af­ter the op­po­nent on your right. This way your king will win a trick when RHO has the ace. And it is even bet­ter still if the op­po­nent on your left leads the suit. This way you are last to play to the trick, mak­ing it cer­tain that the king will win a trick.

The same idea ap­plies when you have a com­bi­na­tion of hon­ours, for ex­am­ple, J65 in your hand and Q82 in dummy. If you tackle the suit you will usu­ally end up with noth­ing. But if an op­po­nent leads the suit, you are sure to take a trick. Many tech­niques in card play are do­ing noth­ing more than forc­ing the op­po­nents to lead suits like this. Con­sider this deal.

West leads the queen of hearts against your four spades. Since you have a heart loser, your con­tract de­pends on not los­ing three diamond tricks. Left to your own de­vices this is not pos­si­ble. You might lead a low one to­wards the jack but East will win with the ace and when you lead a low one to­wards the queen, West will take the king, re­mov­ing all hope. So you need to force the op­po­nents to lead the suit.

Like this. Win the heart lead and draw trumps in two rounds. Next re­move the op­po­nents’ club exit; play the ace and king of clubs and trump dummy’s re­main­ing club. Now you can take your other heart win­ner and exit with a heart. This leaves the op­po­nents stymied. If they lead a diamond, you are sure to make a diamond trick, and if they lead a club you can trump in dummy and throw a los­ing diamond from hand. Ei­ther way your con­tract is guar­an­teed. Sim­i­lar here.

West leads a low club against four hearts. How would you play?

If you try your luck in spades, you will find that to­day is not your lucky day. A spade to the king loses to the ace and a spade to the jack loses to the queen for one down. Yet all the while your con­tract is cer­tain. Play out the ace and king of hearts, leav­ing one trump out­stand­ing, take the other win­ning club and run all the di­a­monds. If no one has trumped in, exit with a trump. Who­ever wins must now open the spade suit for you, guar­an­tee­ing you of a trick in spades, or lead a club, al­low­ing you to trump in one hand and dis­card a los­ing spade in the other. Ei­ther way you have 10 tricks.

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