Alsager Bridge Club
U3A Tips
Strategy for Playing NT Contracts
  1. Count your sure tricks
  1. Choose a “work” suit where you can establish more tricks
  1. Make a Plan

Note that Making a Plan may necessitate you making one or more of the following decisions / calculations:

  • How many times you will hold up in your weak suit
  • How many times must you lose the lead before you can establish your work suit
  • Identify who is the dangerous opponent
  • Interpret the defenders’ bidding (if any) and opening lead
  • Work out whether you’re going to need entries in hand or dummy to execute your plan
  • Is there a subterfuge you can adopt to confuse the defenders
Finessing Tips

A finesse is a card play technique which will enable a player to win an additional trick or tricks should there be a favorable position of one or more cards in the hands of the opponents.

If you’re playing a finesse, keep in mind that your opponents will usually follow two defensive card-play rules:

  • Second-hand low -- If you lead a small card from your hand or dummy, the next hand to play to the trick (your opponent) will play a low card from most holdings.
  • Cover an honour with an honour -- If you lead an honour from your hand or dummy, the next hand to play to the trick will usually cover with a higher honour if he has one.

Finding queens:

  • If you have 8 or fewer total cards in a suit, you should finesse to trap a missing queen. A queen will not usually drop if you cash ace-king.
  • If you have 9+ cards in a suit, you should usually play for the drop instead of finessing. Since the defenders have only 4 cards in the suit, their queen is likely to fall if you cash ace-king.

Finding kings:

  • If you have 10 or fewer cards in a suit, you should try a finesse to trap a missing king. A king will not usually fall under the ace unless you have an 11-card fit.
Creating an End Play

How do you spot a situation when an end play may apply?

There is no certain way, but here are some of the potential signs:

  • you have a lot of trumps in both hand and dummy
  • there is a finesse available in one of your suits
  • your remaining two suits are often evenly balanced.

End Play Technique

In an end play situation, you are effectively forcing one of your opponents to slit his own throat and lead a suit that helps you to make your contract. So, how do you cut off your opponent’s escape and force him to lead a card that is advantageous to you?

There are 2 phases to an end play:

  1. The elimination / strip play. This gets rid of all the suits from your 2 hands that you don’t want opps to play and only leaves the one that you want opps to play.
  2. The throw in / put in: The last at of the strip play is to lead the throw in card - a card that an opponent will win. This gives an opponent the lead after the strip play and forces him to give you a ruff discard (if he leads one of the suits you have stripped from your hands) or a free finesse if he leads your remaining non trump suit.
Playing a Cross Ruff
  1. Cross ruffing allows you to make more trump tricks than you would if you led trumps out.
  2. Play a cross ruff when there are suit shortages (e.g. voids, singletons) in hand and in dummy.
  3. When you see a cross ruffing situation, count your winners in the side suits before you start. You’ll then know how many trump tricks you need to make.
  4. Start by playing your winners in your side suits before starting the cross ruff.
Taking Out Trumps

General Rule About Drawing Trumps

  1. Draw trumps at once when you fear that opponents may ruff winners in your powerful side suit(s)
     
  2. Don’t draw all trumps PREMATURELY when you intend to ruff a loser or losers in the hand where you have fewest trumps (usually dummy) and to do so would rid dummy of all its trumps and prevent you ruffing the losers.
    Also don’t draw trumps prematurely if you need trumps in dummy or hand as entries.