Thinking Outside of the Square
Many players and defenders take their tricks quickly then have little idea as to what to do next.
Because of the huge combinations of 52 cards, approximately 2.2 billion, dealt 13 cards to each player, Bridge is not a simple trick taking game. Consequently, as most of us have noticed, it guides us to think outside of the square, forcing us to use our logic as we fumble around in the dark. Hence, simple rules assist us to keep on the correct path.
The thought of giving tricks away to declarer goes against the card player’s grain. Examples of this include opening up new suits, ie playing a suit which has not been touched, or even leading away from an unsupported King, hoping partner has the Ace. However, we must consider this: declarer has a contract to make and they’re going to make some or all of the contracted tricks, therefore, when you don’t want to give too much of your hand away, and you think you can defeat the contract, give declarer a trick in the form of a harmless trump which you’re certainly not going to make, or some other known or exposed dummy honour card. This puts declarer in the position of doing the work of finding their way through the woods instead of you doing the job for them.
We must always be aware that there are exceptions to every rule, sometimes this is deeply hidden and occasionally declarer gets away with making an unmakeable contract. We can lessen this by carefully choosing our opening leads and our defence play by getting a reasonable picture of declarer’s hand on the bidding. Example contract: 2H by West and dummy holds:
Lead AD followed by the K and Q, ruffed by declareri
Declarer now plays the AK Clubs then switches to the QH won by North’s KH. North now thinks: Declarer has SHOWN 5 hearts 2 clubs 2 diamonds and nothing about spades. If they held a 4 card spade suit, surely they wouldhave attempted to set up the QS as an entry to the clubs. This hasn’t happened, therefore, thinking outside the square, they may well hold 3 spades and 3 clubs, 5 hearts and 2 diamonds.If this is the case, South has no clubs left and a small club back will be trumped. N/S made 6 tricks and a top board.
This hand was opportunistic for the defenders because if declarer had begun drawing trumps after the diamond ruff it would have been difficult for the defence to get the picture. 8 tricks are there, North held the singleton KH, south held HA432.