Fragile, Handle with Care

July 8, 2013
ls, play,

Click Here to download the BBO .lin file for this deal. (The .lin file may be opened in Bridge Base to follow this deal interactively)

The deal and bidding are as follows:

West leads the C8.

You can follow the play by clicking Next button in diagram above


You need to bring in the D suit for discarding the H losers in your hand. You have to play the trumps too and the trump combination appears very fragile. What do you do?


Side suit first is the general principle; meaning that between establishing a suit and tackling trumps, side suit gets the priority. Accordingly, you win the opening lead in hand and play to the DA and ruff a D, to provide for a doubleton K in either hand. No luck. You play a S to the J and note RHO following with the ten. You play theDQ next. RHO follows with the K and you ruff, LHO following suit. The eight- card position is shown below:

You play the SQ from hand. If LHO covers the S, win with the A and keep playing Ds. LHO is welcome to ruff anytime he likes. Win the return in hand, draw the last trump, cross to the CA and enjoy the D winners, throwing all your losers.

If LHO does not cover the SQ, play low from dummy. Cross to the SA and play the D winners. As before LHO can take his trump trick any time he likes.


If you play Ss initially before tackling Ds, you will go down in this contract. When LHO shows up with four Ss to the K, you appear to be in a difficult situation. However, the D winners act as trump substitute, enabling you to make the contract.

If I had stopped short in game fearing poor quality of trumps in my hand, there would have been no story! I would have denied myself the thrill and excitement of making a difficult slam contract!! So, go ahead, overbid, but make it up by your expert play!

Summary & Tip

When declaring a suit contract, typically the first order of business is drawing trumps. However there are situations when other suits may have to be played before drawing trumps. In order to be a feared declarer, you should be able to recognize such situations and change your game plan accordingly.

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posted on July 8, 2013
in Articles, Play
tagged ,
about author L Subramanianls

L Subramanian

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