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Playing: Lesson 9

Scoring Extra tricks with trumps

The techniques you have learnt so far still hold good. Having a trump suit brings extra options into the play.

Using a trump on another suit is often referred to as 'ruffing' or trumping. Remember though you have to follow suit if you can

Contract : Four Spades

indicates declarer

Dummy   Declarer
♠ A K Q 5
10 9 7
J 10
♣ A K Q 2
♠ J 10 7 6
♥ K Q J
A K Q
♣ J 10 7

In the above deal you have all the high cards,except the Ace of hearts.

On the surface it looks like a slam rather than only four spades.

Lets have a look at the full deal

    North    
   

♠ 9 8 4
4
8 6 4
♣ 9 8 6 5 4 3

   
West

♠ A K Q 5
10 9 7
J 10
♣ A K Q 2

♠ J 10 7 6
♥ K Q J
A K Q
♣ J 10 7

East

    ♠ 3 2
A 9 6 5 3 2
9 7 5 3 2
   
    South (lead)    
Tricks E-W   Tricks N-S
  South leads Ace of Hearts 1
  South leads 2 hearts - trumped by North

2

  North leads 3 clubs - trumped by south 3
  South leads 3 hearts- trumped by north 4
  North leads 4 clubs - trumped by south 5
  South leads 5 hearts- trumped by north 6
1 North leads 5 clubs - south has no more trumps
so west wins
 

On any other lead the contract makes as you have control and can play 3 rounds of trumps removing all the opponents cards in spades.

If this happens to you congratulate your opponents for being so clever, you can not win them all.


When planning the play of a trump contract

Consider playing trumps to remove the danger of opponents getting extra tricks.

But also consider if you can make extra tricks yourself before leading trumps.

Contract : Three Spades

♠ 10 7 4
♥ 5
10 9 5 3 2
♣ 9 6 5 3
♠ A K Q J 9
A 6 3
8 6
♣ A 9 4

You have 8 spades between the hands so on normal distribution (3-2) you can remove all the opponents cards in 3 rounds.

But we can only count 7 tricks and we need 9.

Look at the singleton heart in dummy's hand. You only have 4 cards in the suit meaning that the opponents have 9 between them, possibly 5-4 or even 6-3.

Tricks
E-W
  Tricks
N-S
-
South leads a diamond - won with the Ace in north 1
1

North can not see the declarer hand
He is worried about setting up the diamonds for you so switched to a low club.

You can win this with the Ace

2

2
West plays the Ace of hearts  
3
Followed by the 3 of hearts - trumped in east  
4
Play the 4 of spades - won by the Ace in west  
5

Play the 6 of hearts - trumped in east
you have already made 2 extra tricks and you still have all the top trumps for another 4 tricks.

 
-
But now you must give away a trick
Lead your smallest diamond
3
9
It will play itself now 4

Example Hands

These hand allow you to practice 'trump' play

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