Try this takeout over four hearts

Play Bridge: Tips and tricks for bridge players new to experienced.

The bidding: With a eight card heart suit and less than 10 points, West opens the bidding with four hearts. North is strong enough with good shape to take immediate action with a double. At this high level, North should have four of the unbid major. 4-2-4-3 is a good shape. The difference in the length of unbid suits is less than two and each unbid suit has at least three cards.

South, thinking there is a slam possibility, cuebids hearts. North is not sure what slam to pick, cuebids hearts as well. South bids six spades instead of 6NT. The auction then passes out.

East has a long diamond suit, but is too weak to take action. The fact that East is short in his partner’s suit, would make East leery about competing. Furthermore, East should not pre-empt a pre-empt whether the original pre-empt was by his partner or an opponent.

The contract: Six Spades by South.

The opening lead: The King of Hearts

There are four choices of an opening lead. In order of desirability, the king of hearts, the diamond, the jack of clubs and then the trump.

With two trump, the choice would be the stiff diamond. Then if partner has either the ace of diamonds or the ace of trump (spades), West will get a ruff. With only one trump, the stiff diamond lead is more of a gamble. The king of hearts is probably the best lead. Leading a stiff can pay off with a ruff, but it can also set up a suit for the declarer.

There is also the possibility that seven spades could make with a bad lead. The pre-empt kept the opponents from finding seven.

The play: Declarer wins the ace, draws trump and pitches a heart from dummy on a club. Declarer then ruffs a heart in dummy and claims.

The result: Six spades making seven for +1010

The opening lead: The seven of diamonds

The play:

Declarer ruffs the ace of diamonds, draws trump, pitches a heart on diamonds and claims.

The result:  Six spades making seven for +1010


-All the published bridge columns can be found on my web site at This includes an index by subject.

-Beginner bridge columns will start in the new year after I have reached the end of the convention card topics. Email me at for the pamphlet to accompany these columns.



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