Advanced Card Combinations


Source: Charles Goren

It is an elementary principle of card playing that the best results can be obtained by forcing an opps to play ahead of you. This is especially true when you are attempting to capture one or more of  his high cards. 


  K 10 9
J 8 4 2
  Q 7 3
  A 6 5

With the above holding, if you are South and must lead the suit yourself, you can win the ace and the king, but if one of the opps can be induced to lead the suit, you can win three tricks by developing a finessing situation.

For example: If West should lead the 2, dummy’s 9 is played, and East will have to cover with the Q. This is won by South’s A. Now the 5 is returned, and when West plays low North’s 10 win the trick.


  A J 6
K 10 8 4
  Q 7 5
  9 3 2

If you are South and are obliged to lead this suit, you can win only one trick if the opps play properly. If you lead the 9, West would cover with the 10 and the J will lose to the Q. The only trick available is the A.

If however, West should lead the 4 your best play is not to play the J because its improbable that West has both K and Q, but you can hope that West has the 10 and one of other picture cards. In that case if you play small from the dummy, East will be obliged to win with the Q. The South hand is subsequently re-entered, and now the finesse can be taken against West’s K.


  A J 9
K 10 8 4
  Q 7 5
  6 3 2

You are South and wish to win two tricks with this holding. What is the proper Play?

You should lead a small one from the South hand and when West plays low insert the 9 hoping that this will force an honor.

This is the better play than trying to win the trick with the J. The J play will be proper in only one case, that is where West has both K and Q, where as the play of the 9 will succed in two cases, where West has the Q and 10 or the K and 10. The 9 forces a high honor from the East hand, and then the J can be succesfully finessed on the next round.