Learn to play Bridge


Playing: Lesson 10

Establishing a suit by ruffing

We have learnt that length in a suit can give you extra tricks. This is why we try to fid at least an 8 card fit in our trump suit.

It is also true for a second suit where we may be able to use the length to establish extra tricks.

indicates declarer

It is also true for a second suit where we may be able to use the length to establish extra tricks.

Dummy   Declarer
♠ K 9 3 2
Q 9 8 6 4 2
♣ A 4
♠ A Q J 8 7
♥ A 5 4
♦ K 3
♣ 8 7 2

In this deal we are playing 4 Spades. But we only have 23 points but 2 suits.

At first glance we could trump 2 hearts in dummy.

In order to make that work we need entries in declarers hand and we only have the Ace of hearts as an immediate entry. If we try Diamonds we must lose and the opposition will lead the spades to spoil our plan.

Lets look at this again and count our diamond suit. We have 8 cards in the suit, therefore only 5 are in the opposition hands. This must give us the chance to get extra tricks.

For a change lets count how many we must lose.

Ace of Diamonds and 1 club. Normal distribution the diamonds split 3-2 and we only need to lose 1 trick as we can trump the third round.

South leads a heart - won with the Ace in West  

Declarer leads the King of Diamonds. And the opposition let you win.


West continues with another diamond. North wins with the Ace and south discards. There is another winning diamond out. 1
Seeing the possibility of trumps on the heart suit. North leads a spade. Ace wins  
Another spade, Q from West and North discards a Heart  

Lead a 3rd spade winning with the King in the East hand. Now all the trumps are gone

Now you can lead a third diamond, trumping in the West hand.  
Lead to the Ace of clubs and use the remaing diamonds to discard hearts and clubs. Concede the last trick 2

Example Hands

These hand allow you to practice 'trump' play establishing your second suit.

Don't forget all the other techniques as they may apply as well.

  • Remember to count your top tricks.
  • Identify any potential blockage.
  • Identify any entries needed to maintain communication.
  • Look for a long suit that will yield extra tricks.
  • Be prepared to lose a trick to gain more
  • Try to establish your tricks early, whilst you are still in control
  • Identify honour's which need to be established
  • Count you cards on the initial lead and decide if you need to hold up
  • Have you got any ruffing value from a shortage in a suit
When you are ready click the 'start play' button.
Click the card you want to play when the arrow is showing.

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© Mary Vale 2009
Learn to play bridge