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Declarer Play The Bergen Way


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


Chapter 6

Tricks of the Trade

© 2004 - Marty Bergen

Page 65
YOU Can Execute an Endplay

Help Your Opponents Take the Bait

"If you donít give your opponents a chance to make mistakes, you cannot win."

Marty Bergen

Letís face facts. Most bridge players are dedicated honor-coverers. When declarer leads an honor through your average defender, he will invariably cover it whenever he has a higher honor. However, in many situations, this is not the correct strategy.

Instead, a defenderís mindset should be:
Cover an honor with an honor ONLY when you have a realistic chance of promoting a card in your hand or partnerís.

Even if the defender knows not to cover, he will usually hesitate to think it over. Declarer is certainly entitled to draw inferences from the defenderí actions.
In bridge, unlike poker, you canít hesitate for the sole purpose of deceiving your opponents.

For the most part, only very good players can duck smoothly when an honor is led through them. Against these players, you cannot make assumptions. With everyone else, it is reasonable to assume:

  1. If a defender has a higher card, he will usually either cover or hesitate before playing.

  2. If a defender smoothly plays low, he probably does not have a higher honor.

© 2004 - Marty Bergen

Page 66
YOU Can Execute an Endplay

Are you intrigued by this game within a game? Food for thought. For now, Iíd like to concentrate on inducing covers in long suits. Suppose this is your trump suit:

North (dummy)
Q 9 8 7

A J 10 6 5 3

Many players believe that it is correct to play the ace, hoping to drop the singleton king. However, thatís not the percentage play. The best chance to avoid a loser
with 10 cards, missing the king, is to finesse.

Make sure that you lead the queen from dummy. Most Easts will cover with the king whenever they hold it, or pause to think, marking them with that card. If an average player sitting East smoothly plays low, assume that he does not have the king. At this point, your only chance is to rise with the ace, hoping that Westís king is singleton.

On the other hand, a very good defender will plan whether to "cover or not" as soon as dummy is tabled. Therefore, when an expert East calmly plays low, you cannot make any inferences. Instead go with the odds and finesse.

© 2004- Marty Bergen

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

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