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Using Dummy's Side Suit

VIDEO - Part 5 of the "Taking More Tricks" module.
QUIZ - How many tricks can you see?

HINTS AND TIPS - Some more to think about once you’ve grasped this subject,

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Using Dummy's Side Suit

Part 5 of the "Taking More Tricks" module.

If any of this is unclear, go back and watch Module 6.3 again.

Hints And Tips

When you are planning to dispose of losers from the long trump hand (usually declarer’s hand, so we will use ‘your hand’ for ease of reference) by establishing a side suit in the short trump hand (usually dummy, so we will use ‘dummy’ for ease of reference) you need to ask yourself some important questions at the beginning of the hand, when you first see dummy:

  1. How many cards do the opponents hold in the suit I want to establish?
  2. How are those cards likely to break? Remember the ‘odds break even, evens break odd’ guideline.
  3. How many tricks can I win, how many do I need to lose and how many times am I likely to need to ruff in my hand?
  4. Do I have the necessary entries?

The answers to questions 1 and 2 are pretty straightforward, given that you know that six cards are more likely to break 4-2, five cards 3-2 and four cards 3-1.Of course, the breaks may be worse than that (or better in the case of six missing cards) but you have to start from some reasonable assumptions.

The answer to question 3 is really just an extension of that thinking about probabilities. Here are a few examples:

A K T 9 7 3

Q J 8 4

Opponents have four cards, it doesn’t matter how they break because you have four top tricks. You will get two discards on this suit for sure. You have no entry problems.

A 9 8 6 3

K 7 2

Opponents have five cards, likely to break 3-2. You can win two tricks but must lose one - remember to do this first! - then you will have two discards as long as the break is 3-2 (only one if it’s 4-1). No entry problems if 3-2 - lose one, win king, then ace and you are in dummy ready to play your winners.

A 9 8 6 3 2

K 4

Opponents have five cards, likely to break 3-2. You don’t necessarily have to lose one because you can ruff in your hand. Win the king, cross to the ace, then ruff one. Where you get the favourable 3-2 break, only needing to ruff once, you will need a total of two entries - the ace, and one other to cross back to your three winners. With the unfavourable break of 4-1 you would need to ruff twice in your hand, so you will need three entries to dummy in total and you will now get only two discards.

You may have worked out by now that the answer to question 4 when you need to ruff the suit good is one more entry than the number of times you have to ruff. Sometimes you will need to use your trump suit to provide these entries.

Things to remember:

  1. Even the most unpromising five card side suits in dummy can sometimes be ruffed good
  2. It’s pointless to establish a long suit if you don’t have the entries to get back to it
  3. When ruffing a suit good you need one more entry to the hand with the long suit than the number of ruffs you need to take


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