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Becoming a Bridge Expert By Frank Stewart

Source: Becoming a Bridge Expert By Frank Stewart

Run Your Long Suit


West leads the 4. Plan the play.

Take the K, draw trumps and lead the 2 through West, who must play low. Return a heart to your ace, ruff a heart and run all your trumps. After ten tricks,West must keep the A and the guarded K; hence no hearts. You can exit with a club, forcing him to lead from the K and concede the slam.


Such strip squeezes are common. They require declarer to run every one of his trumps and (sometimes) judge in the end how the defender under pressure has discarded.

In one of Terence Reese’s books, he devotes several pages to the merits of running a long suit and forcing discards from the defenders. A ‘long’ suit need not be so long to have its effect.


South arrives at 3NT and is happy to see a couple of aces in dummy. Still, after West leads a spade, and East takes the ace and returns a spade, South’s position looks hopeless. If South runs four hearts, though, it’s East who is stuck. East can throw two clubs, but the last heart fixes him. He can’t discard the A; a diamond gives South an extra trick there; if East throws a spade, South can safely force out the A. Even if a defender isn’t squeezed, he may err in discarding.


At one table of a Vanderbilt semifinal match, North-South went down one in 5. In the replay:


West led the A and then the Q. South ruffed and cashed five rounds of trumps, pitching two hearts from dummy. East, who thought he needed to keep his diamonds, also threw two hearts, and dummy’s AK picked up the suit. East, a world champion, might have interpreted West’s Q as a suit-preference signal (asking for a heart return if East ruffed), but that’s easier to work out in retrospect. The fact is that discarding problems can tax the best players and partnerships.


Most players would try for two spade ruffs in dummy and run into an overruff that held them to eleven tricks. The winning line, not obvious, is to go to the A and draw trumps with the help of a finesse. West discards one spade and his last diamond safely. South can’t cash another trump, since he needs a spade ruff in dummy; but he does just as well to lead a club to the king and ruff a diamond since West must discard again. If West throws a spade, South takes the K and ruffs a spade, setting up his last spade; if West throws a club, South takes the A and ruffs a club, setting up dummy’s last club.


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