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Weekly updates from Kit Jackson offering hints and tips for the modern Bridge player. Enjoy!

Friday, 3 February 2012


The way the points are divided between you and the opposition is obviously important. However, just as important is the way individual suits are divided. We talk about fits. Ideally you are always on the lookout for an eight card fit in a particular suit between you and partner to determine the trump suit. Especially if it's a major suit. When you have such a fit the opponents will hold between them 5 cards of that suit (13 - 8 = 5). The suit will split 5 - 0, 4 -1 or 3 - 2. With an eight card fit you can - mostly - put up with, or navigate your way around, the 4 - 1 and the 3 - 2 splits but 5 - 0 will - mostly -  prove insurmountable. Luckily, this is heavily against the odds and should be largely discounted. If it happens - tuff. Live with it. When making your plan as declarer in any contract you will naturally assess the trick-taking potential of an individual suit based on information from the auction and the high card power you and dummy possess. But there is another "fit" you should train yourself to be aware of of: The SEVEN card fit. In a No Trump contact you see this combination between you and dummy:

AKQx        xxx

As you have seven cards in the suit the opponents will hold six of them (13-7=6). If they each hold three cards in that suit the little (insignificant!) x in four card holding will magically become good. It will be "established" and you will make four tricks. Likewise:

AKQxx    xx

If the suits "splits" 3 -3 you will make FIVE tricks and even this combination:

AKQxxx   x      will produce SIX tricks on the same split.

We can't always be so lucky. Sometimes you'll get this:

AKxx   xxx

No, you won't make four tricks here but you might make three! On the first round of the suit play low from both hands, then cash the AK. If the split is 3-3 then again the little x in the four card holding is promoted to a winner. In trump contracts you have an extra "trick" up your sleeve. Try this:

AKxxx   xx

Having drawn trumps (hopefully!) you play off the AK and then ruff the third card. Now, if the split is 3-3,  two of the small x's in the long holding have been promoted and what looked like two winners - magically - become four!
No. None of this happens all the time. Nothing does. But you should always be alert to the possibility available to you and be ready to take advantage when it does occur. Be ever optimistic. Pessimistic bridge is losing bridge. Hope for the best but be gracious in defeat. At least you tried...

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