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Trump Management Technique

  by Richard Pavlicek

Beginning Tuesday night, December 11, the Diplomat Resort Hotel in Hollywood will host the Gold Coast Regional Tournament. The six-day affair will attract hundreds of players not just from South Florida, but from all over the country.

Attention novice players! In addition to the regular events catering to veteran players, the local Unit is making a special effort to introduce new players to the fun and excitement of tournament bridge. Beginning Wednesday, December 12, every afternoon and evening will include a one-session novice event. Game times are 1:30 and 8:00 P.M. daily (except Sunday: 12:30 and 6:30 P.M.). If you need a partner, just come about a half-hour early and check in at the partnership desk — they’ll fix you up for an enjoyable game.

Today’s deal offers a good lesson in trump management. Four spades was reached after a routine auction (playing five-card majors).

4 S South
Both Vul
S K 10 5
H 7 5 3
D A K 5 3
C Q J 7


3 S
1 S
4 S
S 6 4 3
H Q J 10 8 2
D 7 6
C A 9 2
TableS 8 2
H A 9 6 4
D Q 8 2
C 8 6 5 4

Lead: H Q
S A Q J 9 7
D J 10 9 4
C K 10 3

West led the heart queen to East’s ace. The heart continuation was ruffed and declarer promptly drew three rounds of trumps — a fatal mistake. When the diamond finesse lost, South was forced out of trumps with another heart lead and West eventually cashed two heart tricks when he won the club ace — down two.

The proper play is to draw only two rounds of trumps and then force out the club ace. The heart return is ruffed and the diamond jack is led, losing to East’s queen. At this point East cannot benefit by leading another heart. Declarer can ruff in one hand and draw West’s outstanding trump after crossing to the other hand.

In other words, declarer cannot be forced out of trumps so the rest of the tricks are his.

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© 1984 Richard Pavlicek