June 24, 2024

How many trump tricks do I need? A lesson from the UK’s top teacher, player and bridge journalist.

When planning a trump contract, count up the number of sure tricks you have outside the trump suit. Provided you have no possibilities of extra tricks in those suits, you can calculate the number of trump tricks you need in order to fulfill your contract.

South Deals
N-S Vul
♠ K 9 5 3
♥ J 6 5 2
♦ K Q 10 4
♣ 4
♠ 8 7 6 2
♥ K Q 10 9
♦ 3 2
♣ K J 9
N
W E
S
♠ —
♥ 8 7 4
♦ 9 8 7 6 5
♣ Q 10 5 3 2
♠ A Q J 10 4
♥ A 3
♦ A J
♣ A 8 7 6
West North East South
2 ♠
Pass 4 NT Pass 5 ♣
Pass 7 ♠ Pass Pass
Pass
7 ♠ by South

After South opened a Strong 2♠ North simply used the Blackwood convention, found South held all four aces – a 5♣ reply to 4NT shows either 0 or 4 aces – and “punted” the Grand Slam. How should South plan the play on ♥K lead from West?

South took stock before playing from dummy – admirable technique – and counted one ♥ trick, four ♦ tricks and one ♣; with no chance of any extra tricks in those suits, he thus needed seven tricks from trumps; that meant trumping two ♣s in dummy.

He won ♥A, cashed ♣A and trumped ♣6 with ♠9. He crossed to ♠10, East discarding a ♦, and trumped ♣7 with ♠K. He led ♠3 to ♠J, drew West’s two remaining trumps discarding two ♥s from dummy, cashed ♦A, overtook ♦J with ♦Q, and cashed ♦K and ♦10 discarding ♥3 and ♣8 from his hand. He took the last trick, his thirteenth, with ♠4. Grand Slam made.

ANDREW’S TIP: By counting your sure tricks outside trumps, you can plan how many trump tricks are required for your contract.

Add comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *