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Bridge – Creating tricks

Paul Mendelson

4 August 2021


Paul Mendelson heads up our Saga Bridge Club team and is the author of over a dozen books on bridge. He has coached at all levels, from complete beginners to national team players, and has helped tens of thousands of players to improve their bridge, and most importantly, to enjoy this amazing game even more.

Creating tricks, seemingly from nowhere, is a major part of this wonderful game’s allure...

One of the most satisfying facets of improving your bridge is learning how to create tricks, seemingly from nowhere. This magic is one of the reasons that I – and hundreds of millions of others – love our game.

Opponents often help you without being asked, but luring them into acquiescence is more satisfying…

Bridge game diagram

Bridge game diagram

North’s jump to 3S shows 4-card support and around 15-18pts. South launched into Blackwood to ask for aces and bid the slam.

West led J. Declarer won, drew two rounds of trumps and led diamonds. However, when J did not drop, as well as Q♠︎, South had to lose a club. Could South have created some bridge magic to find the extra trick she needed?

The club suit is headed by ♣AK109. Those intermediate cards mean that, if an opponent leads the suit, she will make three tricks. In diamonds, if West leads them, there are four certain tricks.

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Declarer wins the lead and cashes ♠︎AK, noting the bad break. Now – crucially – she cashes the other top heart before playing a third round of trumps. If West leads a heart, South gets a ruff in dummy and a club discard from hand. If West leads a diamond, declarer can win with 10 in hand and use dummy’s fourth diamond for a club discard. If West leads a low club, declarer can run this to East’s J♣, win with K♣, and then finesse West for Q♣, trapping it between dummy’s A♣ and 9♣.

If West is an expert, she might foresee this position and, as a brilliant counter, get off lead with Q♣! Now, declarer may place J♣ with her, win in hand, and take the losing finesse through West to East’s J♣.

These are psychological layers of tactical thinking that develop at the highest level. For rather more relaxed (and less advanced) action, join us online at the Saga Bridge Club. As well as wonderful play sessions, we have online seminars, with more lessons and events planned for the future.

Article first published in Saga Magazine August 2021.

Image © Shutterstock

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

Paul Mendelson

4 August 2021


Paul Mendelson heads up our Saga Bridge Club team and is the author of over a dozen books on bridge. He has coached at all levels, from complete beginners to national team players, and has helped tens of thousands of players to improve their bridge, and most importantly, to enjoy this amazing game even more.

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