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Declarer Play The Bergen Way


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


Chapter 8

Overcoming Don't Have Entries, You Ain't Got Nothing

© 2004 - Marty Bergen

Page 85
Life in Notrump

If You Donít Have Entries, You Ainít Got Nothing

"Failing to prepare is preparing to fail."
Vince Lombardi, legendary football coach

If I had to single out the most important topic on cardplay, there is no question in my mind Ė entries. How many times have you heard someone lament about being "stuck in the wrong hand?"

On many deals, there is an opportunity to make a key play to ensure that declarer has the entries that he needs. Unfortunately, key plays are not always obvious. At that special moment, it would be nice if:

  • A bell would go off;

  • Someone would stand up and yell "alert!"

  • A little bird would chirp "now" in your ear;

  • A guardian angel would appear to protect you from yourself.

Alas, no such luck; declarer is always on his own.

Entry considerations are especially critical in notrump contracts when the trick source is in the weak hand.

Marty Sez: Declarer must make sure that at least one entry remains in the weak hand until the long suit is ready to run.

© 2004 - Marty Bergen

Page 86
Life in Notrump

On the following deal, not only was declarerís key suit in the weak hand, but in addition, the suit blocked. Fortunately, declarer demonstrated that he needed no help with his key play.

"How could you play your ace on my king?" said the amazed dummy. "Trust me," declarer said, "I have a good plan." Indeed he did.

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

K 10 9 2
7 6 5
A J 10 9 8
K 10 7

7 4

West   North   East     South

  --        1    Pass      1

Pass      2
     Pass      2NT

Pass      3NT   All Pass

© 2004 - Marty Bergen

Page 87
Life in Notrump

West had an obvious spade lead, even though North had bid the suit. Although there are exceptions to almost everything, I have strong feelings about sequence leads. When Iím on lead and have a sequence in a suit, I think: "Thank you, Lord," for solving my potential opening lead dilemma.

Declarer allowed West to win the first trick with the K, and won the spade continuation with dummyís ace. He could only count 7 winners: 1 spade, 1 club,
2 hearts and 3 diamonds. How should he proceed to guarantee the contract?

Declarer led the K and overtook it with his ace, causing his partner to gasp. But, it was then easy to set up his hearts by forcing out the queen while the K remained as the vital entry back to his hand.

It was crucial for South to overtake the K with his A. If he hadnít, there would be no way to win more than two heart tricks. Because he was still on the board, he would not have the two outside entries he needed; one to knock out the Q and the other to
re-enter his hand to run hearts. Without four heart tricks, declarer could not make 3NT.

"Well-played," said North after 3NT rolled home. "Would you like to play again?"
You must admit Ė this dummy was no dummy.

© 2004 - Marty Bergen

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

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