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Declarer Play The Bergen Way

 
 
   
 

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Contents

From the Author ................................................................ 8

Relevant Bidding and Defense in This Book ................... 10

Chapter 1 :Getting Off on the Right Foot ...................... 11

Chapter 2 :Count Your Way to the Top .......................... 19

Chapter 3 :Finesses: Not Always Obvious ...................... 31

Chapter 4 :To Finesse or Not to Finesse? ...................... 43

Chapter 5 :YOU Can Execute an Endplay ....................... 53

Chapter 6 :Tricks of the Trade ........................................ 63

Chapter 7 :Life in Notrump ............................................... 73

Chapter 8 :Entry Problems in Notrump ........................... 83

Chapter 9 :Drawing Trumps: All, Some, or None ........... 93

Chapter 10 :Timing Is Everything ................................... 103

Chapter 11 : Counting Winners in Suit Contracts ......... 113

Chapter 12 :Pesky Partscores ........................................... 123

Chapter 13 :Setting Up Your Long Suit ......................... 133

Chapter 14 :Making the Most of Your Entries ............. 145

Chapter 15 :Donít Rely on Good Splits ........................... 159

Chapter 16 :Squeezing is Pleasing .................................... 169
 

 

Chapter 1

GETTING OFF ON THE RIGHT FOOT

© 2004 - Marty Bergen


Page 13
GETTING OFF ON THE RIGHT FOOT

Thinking After Seeing Dummy

Try not to think about:

  • What other contract would you prefer to be in?

  • Any bad bids that your partner may have made.

  • Any of your bids that worked out badly
    (despite being very reasonable).

Try to memorize:

  • The opening lead.

  • Dummyís distribution and honor cards.

    Make sure that you:
     

  • Avoid playing quickly.

  • Count winners and/or losers.

  • Consider the opening lead.
    On your auction, is it the expected lead?

  • Think about entries to both hands.
    If you have a choice of where to win the first trick, think some more about entries.

  • Donít automatically win the opening lead, just because you are able to do so.

Most importantly: Do not start playing without a plan. Entire books have been written in which the fate of each deal depends on what declarer did at the first trick! Even an imperfect plan is better than none.

© 2004 - Marty Bergen


Page 14
GETTING OFF ON THE RIGHT FOOT

Where, Oh Where Should I Be?

When you have a choice of where to win a trick, think carefully about where youíll need to be later on.

Contract: 3NT
Lead:
J
   North
A 9 7 5 4
K 7 4
A K 10
A 4
     West
K 10
J 10 9 5 2
J 9 7 5
7 5
     East
Q J 8 3
Q 8 6
Q 2

K 8 6 3
 
       South
6 2
A 3
8 6 4 3

Q J 10 9 2
   

West   North   East     South

Pass    1      Pass     1NT

Pass     3NT    All Pass

What would you do at trick one? You have three choices:

A. Win the A
B. Win the
K
C. Duck in both hands

I suggest making your decision before reading on.

© 2004- Marty Bergen


Page 15
GETTING OFF ON THE RIGHT FOOT

You have six sure winners in aces and kings: one spade, two hearts, two diamonds and one club. You need three extra tricks, and it would be nice if you could get all three from the same suit.

One suit stands out Ė clubs. No other suit offers any hope of developing three additional tricks. The only significant club youíre missing is the K, so you should be able to win four tricks while losing just one.

Do not make the mistake of winning the =A and leading the Q. Also, donít duck the opening lead. A second heart lead will prematurely force out your precious =A entry to the long clubs.

As long as you can get to your hand after the clubs are established, youíre sure to win three extra club tricks. Therefore, you must save the A for later.

Instead, you must win the opening heart lead with dummyís king and play the A, and then continue with the 4.

It makes no difference who has the @K. E-W can win the K whenever they want, but youíre sitting pretty with your club winners and carefully-preserved A.

Remember: When you are setting up a suit,

"Use up the honor(s) from the short side first."

This guideline has very few exceptions.

 

© 2004 - Marty Bergen


Page 16
GETTING OFF ON THE RIGHT FOOT

Bridge Mathematics

"Fascinating in so many ways, there is one aspect of bridge that bores me intensely Ė the pursuit of hair-splitting percentages and abstract probabilities."     Victor Mollo

Many players believe that bridge is a mathematical game Ė but that is not true. Yes, basic arithmetic is very relevant in bridge, just as it is in life. However, the key to bridge is logic and reasoning.

If a player passes his partnerís opening bid of one in a suit, you are confident that he has fewer than six points. If that player shows up with an ace during the play, you will be confident that any missing queens, kings, or aces are held by his partner. Simple enough.

You do need to know some basic percentages Ė fortunately, nothing could be simpler. When you lead low toward the AQ, the king will be located favorably half the time. A simple finesse, then, has a 50% chance of success. Of course, you already knew this.

Basic percentages also play a significant role in understanding the likely distribution of the defendersí cards. Whether or not you are a whiz with numbers, donít fret Ė this will prove to be an easy topic to learn.

© 2004 - Marty Bergen


Page 17
GETTING OFF ON THE RIGHT FOOT

Here are the important principles:

1. When you are missing an odd number of cards, expect them to divide as evenly as possible.

If youíre N-S in an 8-card fit, E-W have 5 cards. You canít expect them to divide 2Ĺ-2Ĺ; therefore expect 3-2. The same holds true when your side has 10 cards. Their 3 cards are probably divided 2-1.

2. When you are missing an even number of cards, do not expect them to divide perfectly.

If your side has a total of 7 cards, the other side has 6, and those 6 will divide perfectly (3-3) only slightly more than 1/3 of the time. It isnít likely that the suit will split 5-1; so expect the suit to split 4-2.

You are now armed with all the bridge mathematics you need. But, for those who want more specifics:

When you are missing 5 cards:

A 3-2 split will occur 67.83% of the time.

A 4-1 split will occur 28.26% of the time.

A 5-0 split will occur 3.91% of the time.

When you are missing 6 cards:

A 3-3 split will occur 35.53% of the time.

A 4-2 split will occur 48.45% of the time.

A 5-1 split will occur 14.53 % of the time.

A 6-0 split will occur 1.49% of the time.

© 2004 - Marty Bergen


Page 18
GETTING OFF ON THE RIGHT FOOT

This Dummy is No Dummy

When dummy tables his cards, he should hold the suit led and put it down last.

Why should he do that? It forces declarer to look over the other three suits before playing to the first trick. Thereís no question that many makable contracts are lost when declarer plays too quickly at trick one.

Most players are so excited to become declarer that, as soon as dummy is tabled, theyíre off and running. Even if they are one of the five best players in the world, they canít play effectively at that speed.

By the way: There are lots of other little things you can do to help partner when tabling dummy.

Alternate colors Ė donít put clubs next to spades, or diamonds next to hearts.

Each suit should be arranged from highest to lowest. The higher cards must be closer to you.

Make sure to space the cards neatly so that declarer can easily see how many you have in each suit.

In a notrump contract, keep the suit(s) bid by your side on your left. This reduces the chance of a confused declarer thinking that one of those suits became the trump suit.

© 2004 - Marty Bergen


Chapter 2 :Count Your Way to the Top .......................... 19


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