INTERMEDIATE
BRIDGE COURSE
PLAY OF THE HAND
LESSON 8‑B
Combining
Techniques:  All the techniques,
previously discussed, can be combined in various ways, depending upon the
circumstances. Many of these techniques
work synergistically in powerful combination.
In the following suit holdings, assuming sufficient entries between the
two hands, how would you play the following (Promotion, Finesse,
or Length), and how many
tricks would you expect if the missing high cards lie favorably and the suit
divides as expected?
EXERCISE 1
DUMMY: QJ1052 762
KQ862 AQ932 Q1032
DECLARER: 843 AQJ83
75 6 K654
METHOD:
P & L F & L F(P)& L F & L P
& F & L
# TRICKS: 3 5
(2)3(4) 3 3
Conclusion: Often a suit requires the use of a combination of techniques in
order to develop the maximum number of winning tricks.
1. Choosing
A Technique:  Most technique
application for winning tricks requires a combination of alternatives in order
to give declarer the maximum number chance of success resulting in the maximum
number of winning tricks. What is the
maximum number of possible tricks, and via which combination of techniques, for
the following examples?
EXAMPLE 2
DUMMY: AJ63 A842
AKJ3 842 K9532
DECLARER: K942 KJ753
862 KQ6 874
METHOD: Finesse A/K Drop
Finesse Finesse Finesse
“Eight Ever” “Nine Never”
MAX.# TRICKS 4 5
4 2 3
Conclusion: The best way to play a particular suit may depend
upon such things as how many tricks are needed to guarantee the contract. Inferences from the bidding are oft times
helpful, but usually declarer desires the maximum number of tricks. A useful guideline when you are missing the
Queen of a suit is: “Eight (or Less) Ever, Nine Never”. When no other information is available, this
is a good axiom to follow.
2. Combining
Alternatives: When playing two
or more suits in order to develop tricks, one must often be careful to play the
suits in the proper sequence making maximum use and careful conservation of
entries. If the first plan does not
work, a backup alternative should be preplanned. On the following hands, assuming a 3NT contract, the lead of a
Jack of Hearts, and no other available information; which suit, Clubs or
Diamonds, should be played first, and why?
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EXERCISE 3
DUMMY DUMMY DUMMY
742 K4 KQ8
7642 752 73
KQ KQ4 962
KJ72 J10832 AQ842
DECLARER
DECLARER DECLARER
A863 A862 A42
A83 AK8 A2
A985 862 AKQ5
AQ KQ5 7653
CLUBS CLUBS DIAMONDS
Conclusion: When putting your declarer
play plan into action, try and combine the best possibilities in the
various suits in order to give you the maximum opportunity to make the
contract, and within that context, the most number of tricks. Never loose sight of the objective! It is the contract and any inherent entry
problems which might be present. The
best suit to play first may not always be the one that
looks the most attractive.
3.
Choosing An Alternative: When more than one suit can provide the number of tricks
necessary, you will oft times not be able to try everything. One must choose the plan which has the
greatest possibility for success.
Don’t go after a suit because it looks easy, if it does not provide you
with the number of necessary tricks for your stated contract. If you need a favorable lie of the cards, try
to pick the suit with the greatest odds.
Remember, if you need a suit to divide, an odd number of cards tends to
divide evenly, and an even number, oddly.
If your choice is between any finesse in one suit (50% chance of
success), and a 33 division in another suit, choose the finesse. A 42 division is more likely than a 33,
and so the chances of any 33 split occurring is less than 50%. Finally, if the opponents force you into a
position where there is only one suit which will give you the tricks you will
need, go for it. Go with your only
alternative. In the following,
finding yourself in a 3NT contract, and a Queen of Spade opening lead, which
suit, and why, should you attack?
EXERCISE 4
DUMMY DUMMY DUMMY
K82 642 73
963 QJ3 Q103
AQJ7 KQJ AKQ3
QJ4 Q1053 J1043
DECLARER
DECLARER DECLARER
A93 AK3 A2
AKQ AK82 AKJ7
985 862 642
K1095 KJ8 KQ82
CLUBS CLUBS DIAMONDS
Conclusion: Although there seems to be much to consider,
knowing what you are trying to accomplish solves most of the problems. EVEN
IF YOU DO NOT MAKE THE RIGHT DECISION, AFTER
MAKING A PLAN, YOU ARE ALWAYS IN A POSITION TO LEARN THE NEXT TIME. ALTERNATIVELY, IF YOU NEVER PLAN OUT THE
PLAY OF THE HAND, BUT MERELY PLAY THE FIRST CARD THAT LOOKS ATTRACTIVE, YOU MAY
PLAY FOR YEARS AND NEVER IMPROVE.

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