Take time to learn some card combinations and success will be like a walk in the park. When faced with challenging positions, bridge card play is made simpler when you know the correct way to play common suit combinations
Imagine how much freer you will be chat, relax or win more once good card combination play becomes a habit.
This week’s tip : Nothing beats a little rote learning when it comes to suit combinations.
Our experts have selected these ten very common suit combinations. Commit each to memory over the course of the coming week and watch your declarer play performance improve.
The opponent’s have four Spades including the King.You should try the finesse rather than lead the Ace. With the lead in your hand, lead the Jack of Spades. If West plays the King then you can catch it with the Ace and your problems are solved! If West plays a low card, then you should play low from dummy, hoping that the King is with West anyway.
With eight cards between you missing the Queen, the odds favour the finesse. It doesn’t look like there is a finesse in this suit, but there is! You can lead the Jack (because you have the honours below it) and hope that West has the Queen.
This example looks exactly like the previous one, but it is different because you don’t have the Ten and Nine. You shouldn’t lead the Jack because you don’t have the cards below it. Lead out the Ace and King and hope that the Queen falls.
This one is very commonly misplayed – especially if the lead starts in Dummy. If the four missing Spades split 2-2 then you will only lose a trick to the Ace. If they split 3-1 or4-0 then you at risk of losing more than one trick. The best way to play this suit is to ‘lead towards the strength’ which means leading towards the KQ43 and hope that the Ace is with West. You can handle poor breaks a bit easier if the Ace doesn’t capture your King or Queen. If the King wins, then West probably has the Ace, so return to your hand with a different suit and lead towards the Queen.
Most of the time the suit will divide nicely (2-1) and you will mop them all up with the Ace and King. However, you need to consider the occasional 3-0 breaks. If West has all three missing Spades, then she will surely score a trick. If East has all three then you can catch the Queen so long as you keep the trap (Ace-Jack) intact. You must start with the King and keep the trap intact. If both opponents follow suit, then the suit was 2-1 all along so it didn’t matter.
You don’t have any touching honours, so you shouldn’t lead the Queen. The best play is to lead towards the Queen and see what happens (hope that the King is with East). You can lead the Ace first if you like and then lead a small one towards the Queen. The key on this suit combination is not to lead the Queen (you don’t have the Jack).
If this suit breaks poorly then you might lose several tricks. Hopefully the Ace is with West. Lead towards the King (small from your hand) and if West doesn’t play the Ace then try the King.
This solid looking Spade suit is very good if the suit splits 2-2 or 3-1. The Ace, King and Queen will mop up all the opponent’s cards. In the unlikely event that Spades split 4-0 you need to keep a high-honour in each hand to catch the Jack, whoever has it. You must play the King first. If both opponents follow suit, then you can easily draw the suit, but if either opponent shows out then you need to finesse the Jack. Luckily you have kept a high honour in each hand just in case.