Source: Trinity College Bridge Club

When you haven’t been playing long, declaring a contract can be a confusing and scary experience. There are a lot of things to consider. To make it easier, you should probably start by looking at each suit individually—the total number of tricks you take is the sum of the number in each suit (counting ruffs as trump tricks). Therefore, the best way to start improving your play is to try to take more tricks in each suit.

Looked at like this, you will see four suit combinations to play. To simplify things, we start by assuming we can lead to each trick from whichever hand we want to, and then once we have looked at all the suits in this way we consider the more practical problems of how to deal with constraints like having to lead from the hand that won the previous trick [insert advert for Directors’ revenge here – Ed]. 

How to play a suit combination: 

When you look at a suit combination, you should consider:

  1. which cards might take your tricks
  2. the cards in the opponents’ hands
  3. how these might be divided
  4. how you can take advantage of favourable positions

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