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“Pray” and Good Play Combined.

You can pray, hope, wish that the cards lie well for you when you are playing a bridge deal but you have to play the cards as well as you can to give yourself the best chance of success. On today’s deal, there’s a couple of things our declarer has to remember if they want to score 10 tricks. Let’s have a look.

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North Deals
E-W Vul

K 6

K Q 4

9 6 5 4

K Q 10 3

Q J 4 2

9 6 5

Q 10 8 7 2









10 9 7 5 3

10 7


A 9 8 5


A 8

A J 8 3 2

K 3

J 7 4 2







1 NT





All pass



North had a balanced hand (no more than 1 x 2 card suit and no suit of less than 2 cards) with 13 high card points. Therefore, playing Acol, they opened 1NT.

Although there is another way to bid the South hand using Transfers, (see note at the end of this article), South bid 3Heart-small which showed 5 hearts and enough points to go to game. With 3 hearts, North chose to raise to the heart game as the partnership had a fit there (8 hearts between the 2 hands).

West chose to lead their club in the hope of scoring a ruff. They were not to be disappointed. East won the Club-smallA and returned a club and West guessed wrongly when they played Spade-smallQ at trick 3. (Had they returned a diamond to East’s ace, the defence would quickly have come to 4 tricks with a second club ruff. See commentary at the bottom of the article.)

Draw the Defenders’ Trumps

So, South won trick 3 with Spade-smallA. The first thing South had to remember was that if you do not need dummy’s trumps for another purpose…e.g. ruffing losing cards in declarer’s hand…then draw the opponents’ trumps immediately. South had already lost out to one ruff. So, two rounds of trumps were needed to leave the defenders without any trumps. What now?

South had no losers in either major suit and had already lost 2 tricks in clubs. They could only afford 1 loser (the ace) in diamonds. To achieve that, South must get to the North hand to lead a diamond towards the king and hope East has Diamond-smallA. If West holds this card, the contract would fail.

Lead low towards an honour South must not lead a diamond from their own hand.

So, South ensured they were in dummy and led one of dummy’s low diamonds, putting up the king if East played Diamond-smallJ.

Contract made as South wished. Wishing by itself is not enough. You have to play the cards in as good a way as you can to make it happen.

Happy Bridging!

We referred above to West playing the wrong suit at trick 3 and thus not being able to gain a second club ruff. When you are giving your partner a ruff (or hope you are!) the partner can suggest to the player who ruffs which suit to play next.

A low card (club Club-small5) suggests the lower non trump suit – diamonds.

A high card (club Club-small9) suggests the higher non-trump suit – spades.


We also mentioned above the matter of Transfers. The NZ Bridge on-line Improvers Class next week (Tuesday 7-9pm, Wednesday 2-4pm) covers Transfers, a really useful concept. Click here 

Online Lessons and Improver Classes ( more details.


Richard Solomon 

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