Tip #1 - Plan Your Play

Plan Your Play

The auction has ended. The opening lead made. Dummy is down. What now?

First thing to do is count your winners. Then count your losers. The total doesn’t necessarily come to 13, particularly in a no trump contract. Then PLAN YOUR PLAY.

Work out how to increase your number of winners and how to decrease your losers. For example this may mean playing on an off suit before tackling trumps in order to get rid of a loser, or setting up another long suit in order to throw losers, or ruffing losers in dummy. Here is an example from a recent session.

West                 East

AJ52             97              Contract 6by East
K74              AQJ1096
109753         A                Lead K
3                   AQ97

At first look there are only 9 winners and 4 losers, 3 clubs and 1 spade. The 3 club losers can be ruffed in dummy making up the 12 winners needed and reducing the losers to 1. However it may be possible to set up the fifth diamond in dummy to get rid of the spade loser.

So the play goes win A, A, ruff, ruff, ruff, ruff, ruff with K, ruff back to hand, draw trumps discarding spades from dummy, cross to A and, as diamonds broke 4/3, take fifth discarding losing from hand. Viola 13 tricks made.

Interestingly if a is led only 12 tricks can be made as there are not enough entries to dummy to get to the winner for the ♠ discard. If a trump is led only 11 tricks can be made as only 2 ruffs are possible and then there is a and also a loser.
Take some time to work it out.