Long Suit Establishment
And a long article☻☺
The key to making a majority of the contract you play is working with length to make the small cards good.
In order to do this successfully, you must have sufficient entries to the hand with the suit which you are establishing. Also, it is very important to count the suit accurately so that you know when the small cards are good.
Any five card suit can be established if there are enough entries:
West ♠. 65432 East
♠. A1087 ♠. KQJ9
Assume hearts are trumps and you have to get rid of a minor suit loser. If you have enough trumps and enough entries, you can actually set up one of dummy’s spades. However, you need five
dummy entries to do it. Four times to trump spades and once to get over there to use the last spade.
Yes, this is an extreme example, but it does show you what is possible. If you don’t have the five entries, look around for another play. Also, you need a little luck, the opponents spades must be divided 4-4. But, if you have no other hope….
More commonly, the long suit looks like this:
Again, assume hearts are trumps and you need to develop at least one spade for a minor suit discard. Assume you play the King and Ace and everyone follows. Eight spades have been played and two remain with the opponents. When you lead a spade and trump it, you must note whether each opponents follows, in which case both of dummy’s spades are good. If one opponent has shown out, you must reenter dummy and trump another spade, and then you must reenter dummy to use the good spade. Also you must be able to draw trumps before you use your established winner(s) or else all your work is for naught.
Many times tricks will have to be conceded in long suits before they can be established.
Given that you have sufficient trumps and sufficient entries, you should play Ace and a spade, once again ridding the table of eight spades. Later, you must enter dummy and trump either one or two spades in order to set up the suit.
Six card suits are easier to establish than five card suits, and no good player ever takes his eye off a usable six card suit in the dummy.
♠. A109 ♠. KQ2
Given sufficient dummy entries, you can get three tricks out of this suit if you play it soon enough. However, you are going to need at least three dummy entries to use the suit.
First, you must concede a spade. Then you must go to the dummy twice to trump spades. Finally, you must have a third dummy entry to be able to use the suit.
The most common problem involved with setting up a long suit is coordinating the drawing of trumps with the entry problem and finally winding up in dummy to use the suit.
♥. J87 ♥. 104
Assume hearts are trumps and the spades in dummy are high. You must arrange to draw trumps ending in dummy. You must play King, Queen and then a heart to the Ace. VERY important to be focused in those situations and play the cards in the right order.
Remember, the main way of avoiding losers is long suit establishment. It should be the first thing for which you look.
Another technique that can save you lots of contract is a ducking play in the long suit.
♠. QJ2 ♠. K109
Assume you wish to set up dummy’s spades but have only one side entry to dummy. If you play Ace and a spade and later get to dummy to trump a spade, you will have set up the suit, but will have no way to get to dummy to use it.
However, if you duck a spade, a loser you have in any event, and then play Ace and a spade, ruffing, your spades will be established and you can then go to dummy with the side entry and enjoy the fruit of your work.
Here is a hand that has taxed the instincts of many good players in a club game.
♠. AK1098 ♠. J432
♥. 83 ♥. 542
♦. Q10 ♦. KJ97
♣. J1098 ♣. 54
South is in a contract of four hearts. West leads AK of spades and shift to the club Jack. South has four losers. If the player with only two clubs also has only two trumps, South could play only two
rounds of trumps, and plan to trump his fourth club in dummy.
Or South could also rely on a three-three split in clubs. Both lines are against the odds.
A better plan, which only needs diamonds to be no worse than 4-2 is to establish a diamond for a club discard. You will need three entries to dummy. Two to trump the diamonds good and a third to get to dummy and use it. If you play Ace of diamond and a diamond, you have used one of your entries and have not trumped any diamond. Good technique is to duck a diamond, a loser in any event.
So, win the club Jack in your hand, (saving dummy’s entries) and duck a diamond. Win the club continuation in your hand again and play Ace of diamond and trump a diamond. The suit is still not established. Play three rounds of trumps ending in dummy and trump the fourth diamond with your last trump. You now enter dummy with the club Ace and enjoy the fifth diamond discarding your club loser. Phew!
Many instructive points for the defense on this hand.
Even though four hearts is cold, don’t make it easy for declarer.
At one table, West cashed two spades and shifted to the diamond Queen??? Don’t shift to a long suit in dummy, especially if your trumps are weak. You can’t hope for a trump promotion in your hand or an over ruff and you are only helping declarer to establish his long suit.
At another table, declarer made the mistake of playing Ace of diamond and a diamond without ducking a diamond first. He was now one entry short to establish his diamonds and doomed to go down, but East played a third round of diamonds, doing declarer’s work for him. “East was probably hoping that West could over ruff but if declarer was trying to establish diamonds, West could over ruff in any case.” In the mean time, playing back a club to work on declarer’s entries was better.
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