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INTERMEDIATE BRIDGE COURSE
PLAY OF THE HAND
MAKING A PLAN ‑ We previously discussed, although in general terms, that the objective for declarer play in a Suit Contract centered around focusing upon potential losing tricks and their elimination, and around potential winning tricks in a No Trump contract and their possible supplementation. Before a declarer initiates his/her declarer play, however, it is essential to organize the play of the hand. Four basic steps are indicated and necessary to accomplish these goals:
Pause To Consider The Objectives ‑ What is the contract, who are my opponents, what card
was led and what is its significance to me and to my
opponents need I play conservatively or aggressively as
a result of the lead. What is the number of acceptable
winners or losers in order to fulfill the contract.
Look At The Projected Winners Or Losers ‑ Dependent upon either a No Trump or suit
(A) In a No Trump Contract, playing techniques include:
(1) Promotion of high cards (Developing a sure trick when holding a suited KQ)
(2) Suit establishment (Developing tricks through length)
(3) Finessing (Attempting to develop a second trick when holding a tenace
(B) In a Suit Contract all of the above apply plus:
(1) Trumping Losers
(2) Discarding losers on extra winners
Analyze The Alternatives ‑ Need you play conservatively or aggressively based upon such
variables as; the skill of the opponents, the quality of your game
so far that event, what you believe the rest of the field is likely to
have been faced as to their suspected contract and its probability
Now Put It All Together ‑ Using the above information along with factors such as being
aware of entries, avoiding the dangerous opponent, using the
hold‑up‑play, inferences and probable placement of missing high
cards, trump pieces and suit distribution all deduced from
previous bidding or lack of same
Exercise 1: Counting Objective of Winners/Losers
3C (4 Losers) 6NT (12 Winners) 4S (3 Losers) 1NT (7 Winners) 2D (5 Losers)
Exercise 2: Counting Sure Winners (Sure Tricks = ones capable of being taken without giving up the
lead to the opponents.
N - AKQ (3) AK (2) JX (5) KQX (0) AXXXX (5) AKQ (3) AXXX (2)
S - XXX QX AKQ10X JXX KQXXX XX KXX
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Conclusion: Winners are counted by looking at the combined holding in each suit. A winner is a card
that will take a trick without giving up the lead to the opponents. The maximum number of
winners one can count is the number of cards in the longer hand. If one have enough cards
in the suit such that the opponents will have none left after your top cards are played, you
do not need all the honors in order to run the suit.
Exercise 3: Counting Losers ‑ defined as the number of tricks the opponents are likely to take.
N (Dummy) KQ KQ QJ10 XXXXX AK XXX KJ10
S (Declarer) AXX (2/0) XX (2/1) XX (2/2) AK (O) XXXXX (5/3) AQJ (1/1) XXX (3/2)
There are two basic typos of losers; quick losers, and slow losers. Quick losers are those that the opponents can take immediately if they have the lead. Slow losers are those which the opponents can never take immediately because they must first give one the lead back first.
Exercise 4: Counting both quick and slow losers:
DUMMY KQJX J1098 XXXX AX KXK QX
DECLARER XX (1 Quick) XXXX (3 Quick) AX (1 Slow) XXXX (3 Slow) XX (2 Quick XXX (lQ,lS)
If the cards in the dummy and declarer's hand are unevenly divided, the order in which the cards are played; the first trick(s) should be won by the high card(s) from the short side.
Exercise 5: Which high card would you win the first trick with in each following combination:
DUMMY AQJ1OX AX AJX QX KQX
DECLARER KX (King) KQX (Ace) KQXX (Ace/Jack) AKJX (Queen) AJX (Any)