Okay, now that we are getting the hang of suit promotion, finesses and ruffing as the declarer, let’s turn our attention at some new tricks to develop extra tricks at the table. Yet before we begin counting our proverbial chickens before the eggs have hatched, in many situations its more important to ensure we will make our auction than risking an unfortunate suit distribution by the opponents that might cause us to lose the contract. Enter the Safety Play where we are willing to give up an overtrick to the opponents in order to safely fulfill our contract. For instance in a 3 Notrump contract with no outside entries to the dummy that contains a 5-3-3-2 long minor suit headed by the Ace and King and 3 little in declarers hand, opener should duck one trick in dummy and THEN later win the two top honors to make four total tricks (assuming the opponents hold the likely 3-2 suit distribution). And how about a similar situation when declarer holds 3 in the minor suit and opener holds a 6 card suit headed by the Ace-King-Queen – now what? True, the opponents 4-1 suit split is only a 28 percent chance, but wouldn’t you normally want to make the contract more than three-quarters of the time?
As we have discussed in our prior Polling You lesson # 52-54, the Endplay can is a great alternative to making a “brute force” finesse play in certain circumstances. The most classic form of the endplay is when the declarer has a combined major trump suit length of 9 cards, 4-2 or 4-3 in two side suits, and a 3-3 “mirrored” declarer-dummy suit length fit in a third suit that contains an Ace-Queen combination. In this situation, rather than risking the 50-50 percent finesse attempt, the declarer is wise to “strip down” the 4-3 and 4-2 side suit before allowing the Left Hand Opponent to gain the lead. That way the LHO is stuck for a lead, either finessing self or partner in the waiting Ace-Queen side suit, or leading a suit that dummy will ruff and the declarer pitching a side suit loser in their own hand.
Lastly, we will look at several situations where either the declarer or the dummy (or both) can potentially gain a critical trick with a side suit 10 or less. After all, promotion is a beautiful thing, even if it is no more than a side suit in Bridge! So let’s check out our bidding play of Bridge hands here at BridgeHands with over 15 hand variations and 100 minutes animated card play with commentary.
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