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Making a plan to win extra tricks

In this video we look at two ways to win an extra trick in a 6♠ slam contract. Should we finesse or try to win an extra trick by establishing a long suit?

Winning extra tricks in bridge

Sometimes you have a couple of ways you might play a hand.


light opening

I bid 3♠ showing a good seven card suit and not much else. North bids 6♠. Nice. And that becomes the final contract.


light opening

Let's go through each suit and see what's going on here. So we've got seven spades and we're going to make all of those. We're going to make the A. We're going to make the ♣A. And we're going to make the A, K, Q. So that's 12 tricks. Now that's great, so we can sit back and relax and we can make our 12 tricks. But bridge scoring is a bit weird because if we make 12 tricks, we're vulnerable, we're going to score 1430 points, which seems good, but if everybody else is playing the same hand, makes 13 tricks and their score is 1460, we actually get a bad score. We are trying to beat the other players who are holding the same cards as us. So let's be greedy and don't just take our 12 tricks here. Let's see if we can figure out how to get 13.

The only extra chance seems to be that club suit. Now the nice news here is that if we win that diamond and draw some trumps we can finesse a club. Let's say West plays low and we play the Queen. If that finesse wins, great, that's our extra trick. And if the finesse loses, we're still okay because later we've got the Ace of Clubs and we can throw away one of our hearts. So that's one option and that's going to work 50% of the time. If West has got the king, we're going to make an extra club trick.

The other thing we could do on this hand is establish a long club. So I'm going to play the Ace of Clubs and I need to now ruff clubs three times. I'm not getting any extra tricks by ruffing the clubs because I've already counted all these spade tricks as winners. But if I keep ruffing the clubs, then the opposition are going to run out. So we ruff once cross, to the North hand, ruff twice, cross to the north hand, ruff three times. Now the Queen's the best club, in fact it's the only club. So I can cross over to North again and play the Queen of Clubs pretty easy.

Establishing a long suit like this is often overlooked and it's a great way of getting extra tricks or even getting the tricks that you require to make your contract.

tags: #declarerplay

Declarer play seems more like art than science, sometimes. Art is good, though, even if we don't always understand it.

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