Most winning plays in
bridge are arrived at by simple step-by-step reasoning. While this process may be applied at any time during the play,without question the most frequent occasion for its use occurs at trick one. For a typical illustration, consider this deal where West leads a low heart against three notrump. East plays the queen, at which point declarer should take the time to analyse the situation before doing anything. Here is what should go through his mind:
1. I cannot make the contract without utilizing the club suit.
2. The best way to play the clubs is to finesse against West. If he has the king, I will make the contract with overtricks. 3. If I win the first heart with the king, try the club finesse against West and it loses to East, the outcome will then depend on how the opposing hearts are divided. If West started with only four hearts, I’ll be safe. But if he started
with five hearts, a heartreturn by East through my J-7 will allow West to score four hearts, and I will go down one.
4. Is there any way I can protect against West having five hearts and East the king of clubs?
5. Eureka! I can assure the contract regardless of how the opposing cards are divided. All I have to do is to allow East’s queen of hearts to hold the first trick, retaining the K-Jas a stopper. Assuming East returns a heart, if he subsequently gains the lead with the king of clubs and the hearts were originally divided 5-2, he won’t have a heart to return. And if the hearts arc divided 4-3, the opponents can’t get more than four tricks no matter how they defend. The ducking play at trick one thus assures South of scoring at least nine tricks, and, as the cards lie, hef inishes with 10.