Tricks of the Trade
© 2004 - Marty Bergen
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."
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
is not the correct strategy.
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
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:
If a defender has
a higher card, he will usually either cover or hesitate before
If a defender
smoothly plays low, he probably does not have a higher honor.
© 2004 - Marty Bergen
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:
Q 9 8 7
A J 10 6 5 3
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
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
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