By Valerie Rhead
PLANNING YOUR HAND
The bidding has finished. The lead has been made. Your partner puts down the dummy. Without thinking, you play an Ace from dummy and win the first trick. Suddenly, too late, you realize that you needed that entry in dummy for a later play!
Before you play to the first trick, pause a little and plan your hand. Your contract is for three No‑Trump, so you know you must make nine tricks. Of course, an overtrick or two is also nice. The playing strategy for No‑Trump contracts and Suit contracts is different. Today we will look just at No‑Trump contracts.
Before you play to the first trick, count the number of sure tricks you have? A sure trick is one that you can take immediately. For example, the Ace of Spades is one sure trick. The Ace, King, Queen of Hearts are three sure tricks. Perhaps you count a total of five sure tricks in your hand and dummy. How are you going to take the other four tricks you need to make your contract? Perhaps you need that Ace in the dummy to get to later tricks and you must take the first trick with the King in your hand, or let the opponents have the first few tricks, preserving your Ace!
Long suits are handy to have in No‑Trump. Perhaps you have to lose a couple of tricks of your six-card diamond suit, but you can then lead out the four established winners on which you can throw away losers. Sometimes you can establish tricks by promoting honours. You have the King, Queen, Jack of Clubs. You lead out the King. Your opponent wins the trick with the Ace. Now, your Queen and Jack are good.
And, you can finesse. You have the Ace, Queen of Spades on the board. You lead a small card from your hand. You hope your left-hand opponent has the King. If she has, the Queen is a winner. The odds of winning finesse are usually fifty percent. The odds are not that good, however, if your right hand opponent has bid Spades. Guess who is the most likely one to hold the King of Spades?
Some players just love finesses. They seem to feel that if there is a possible finesse, they have to take it. Remember the odds are fifty percent. You have a fifty percent chance of living or dying (oops, I mean winning or losing.) Perhaps the odds of establishing extra tricks in your long suit are better. Take those few moments to plan your hand before plunging in. Also check out the entries that are needed in the dummy hand. It is frustrating to develop three tricks in the dummy and be unable to reach them.
We’re playing No‑Trump today. Suit contracts are for another day.
If you wish to promote an activity in your bridge group, send the information to email@example.com and I will include it in this column.
Canadian Federation of University Women
BRIDGE FOR MUSKOKA BURSARIES FUNDRAISER
The mid-winter lunch and bridge party was a great success. The event held at the Gravenhurst Senior’s Centre, Friday, Feb 5, 2016 hosted 88 participants. It raised $800 towards bursaries for young women in Muskoka to attend college or university.
HUNTSVILLE DUPLICATE BRIDGE CLUB
Games for the Huntsville Club are now Tuesday afternoon 1PM for the winter Jan‑Feb‑Mar, Trinity United Church 33 Main Street. Please arrive 15 minutes before game time. Call Betty 705-789-2560 firstname.lastname@example.org or Susan at 705-789-7156 email@example.com for information and partnerships. For the winter, the game now is held downstairs in the warm basement. To avoid the long stairs, enter from the door on Main Street.
The following results are for Tuesday, Feb 9 with 6 tables playing a Howell movement. 1. Liz Graham and Dorothy Russell; 2. Heather Hockin and David Hockin; 3. Betty Fagin and Rod Dixon; 4. Mary Simonett and Kel Andresen; 5. Val Rhead and Peter Rhead; 6. Bev Parlett and Barb Forth
MUSKOKA DUPLICATE BRIDGE CLUB (Bracebridge)
Games at the Bracebridge Club are at the Knox Presbyterian Church, 120 Taylor Road 7pm Monday evenings. Please arrive 15 minutes before game time.
The following results are for Monday, Feb 8 with 8 tables playing a Mitchell movement. North-South 1. Ruth Thompson and Don Evans; 2. Pamela Jardine and Ralph Mitchell; 3. Yvonne Cox and Helen Pearson; 4. Lorna Wagner and Pat Feaver; 5. Carol Anne Robinson and Nancy Barber; 6. Ralph Hair and Gerrry Flaherty; 7. Betty Fagin and Hazel Bowes; 8. Kelly Andresen and David Bryce
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