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Intermediate and newcomer players - sharpen your game with this series of tutorials. You can browse the index by topic, or read them in order. Learn even more at ACBL's Learn page.







                                                                         Brian Gunnell


♠ T





            E-W Vulnerable

            West     North    East     South

                                       1         Pass

            2♠         Dbl       Pass    4

            Pass    Pass    Pass


            West’s 2♠ (showing long Spades and not much else)

            pushed N-S into the precarious contract of 4.  Look at

            what happened in actual play, and then figure out how you

            would have done better as Declarer.





West            East



♠ A872



♣ J982


West led the ♠K, won by Declarer’s Ace.  With six side-suit tricks it would be necessary to score four trump tricks, and as the trump suit was so weak it was apparent that some ruffing would be required.  One line that would clearly not work would be to get the enemy trumps out of the way first, that would leave Declarer a trick short (scoring only three trump tricks).  So Declarer cashed the A at Trick 2, and then, leaving three enemy trumps at large, he played on the side-suits.  His general plan was to let the opponents take their trumps whenever they wished, but that was all they would get.  He started with Dummy’s high Clubs, but West ruffed the third round and played another Spade.  Dummy ruffed, East over-ruffed and cashed her high Heart, leaving Declarer with just 9 tricks.


How could Declarer have done better?