Bridge Column: Jan. 4

Published 10:17 am Wednesday, January 4, 2012

by Karl Kachadoorian

Reading bridge columns where all four hands are shown often results in the reader missing some of the finer points of the lesson. Quite often the solution on how to play a particular suit to maximize your chances for success is overlooked.
The key to both good declarer play and defense is having a good understanding of card combinations. When analyzing card combination play in a particular suit you must first determine your objective, specifically how many tricks you need in the suit. The following examples, specifically on declarer play, are provided with defined objectives and preferred solutions. The thought process associated with these solutions can be applied to other card combination situations.

1. You have a suit with K10932 opposite A4  and need four tricks to make your contract. The preferred way to play this combination is to cash the Ace and lead the four to the King, then  play  the 10 or 9. This way you get four tricks if the suit breaks 3-3 or the Queen or Jack is doubleton.

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2. You need all six tricks in the following suit with no entry problems, AKJ1032 opposite 65. The preferred way to play this combination is to lead the five toward the dummy and finesse for the  Queen on the very first round by playing the  Jack or 10. If this wins, come back to your hand and finesse again.

3. In this next situation you have a side suit with A1098 opposite Q432  and, with no clues from the bidding on who has the King or Jack, you need to take three tricks.
The preferred  way to play this combination is to lead the two toward the dummy and if left hand opponent follows small, finesse the 10. If this loses to the Jack, next time lead the Queen for a finesse against the King. If the first finesse loses to the King, when you get in later cash  the Queen. If the first finesse won, you then lead low from the dummy, in case left hand opponent has the King – Jack fourth.