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Getting Off on the Right Foot by Marty Bergen

Thinking After Seeing Dummy

From: Declarer Play the Bergen Way

Try not to think about:

  • What other contract would you prefer to be in?
  • Any bad bids that your partner may have made.
  • Any of your bids that worked out badly (despite being very reasonable).

Try to memorize:

  • The opening lead.
  •  Dummy’s distribution and honor cards.

Make sure that you:

  • Avoid playing quickly.
  • Count winners and/or losers.
  • Consider the opening lead. On your auction, is it the expected lead?
  • Think about entries to both hands. If you have a choice of where to win the first trick, think some more about entries.
  • Don’t automatically win the opening lead, just because you are able to do so.

Most importantly: Do not start playing without a plan. Entire books have been written in which the fate of each deal depends on what declarer did at the first trick! Even an imperfect plan is better than none.

Where, Oh Where Should I Be?

When you have a choice of where to win a trick, think carefully about where you’ll need to be later on.

  A 9 7 5 4
K 7 4
A K 10
A 4
K 10
J 10 9 5 2
J 9 7 5
7 5
  Q J 8 3
Q 8 6
Q 2
K 8 6 3
  6 2
A 3
8 6 4 3
Q J 10 9 2
West  North   East  South 
Pass 1 Pass 1NT
Pass 3NT The End

Lead: J

What would you do at trick one? You have three choices:

A. Win the A
B. Win the K
C. Duck in both hands

I suggest making your decision before reading on.

You have six sure winners in aces and kings: one spade, two hearts, two diamonds and one club. You need three extra tricks, and it would be nice if you could get all three from the same suit.

One suit stands out – clubs. No other suit offers any hope of developing three additional tricks. The only significant club you’re missing is the K, so you should be able to win four tricks while losing just one.

Do not make the mistake of winning the A and leading the Q. Also, don’t duck the opening lead. A second heart lead will prematurely force out your precious =entry to the long clubs.

As long as you can get to your hand after the clubs are established, you’re sure to win three extra club tricks. Therefore, you must save the A for later.

Instead, you must win the opening heart lead with dummy’s king and play the A, and then continue with the 4.

It makes no difference who has the K. E-W can win the K whenever they want, but you’re sitting pretty with your club winners and carefully-preserved A.

Remember: When you are setting up a suit,

«Use up the honor(s) from the short side first.»

This guideline has very few exceptions.


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