Source: www.paloaltobridge.com Anytime a five-card or longer suit appears in the dummy, declarer should at least consider the possibility of creating extra tricks from it. While long suits are extremely useful in both Notrump and Suit contracts, the techniques involved in establishing tricks are usually different. This lesson focuses on suit establishment in trump contracts. Specifically, we will focus on dummy’s long suit; however, the same techniques may be applied when declarer has a side suit in her hand. When examining a long suit the following procedure is recommended. Follow this planning procedure methodically each and every time, so as to keep your thoughts organized. 1) Add your cards to dummy’s and determine how many are missing. 2) Decide how the opponent’s cards are likely to divide. For this purpose, it is useful to be familiar with the “Odd – Even Rule”. When you are missing an odd number of cards they tend to divide as evenly as possible. When you are missing an even number of cards they tend to divide unevenly. Specifically: Missing 4 cards: 3-1 = 50% 2-2 = 40% 4-0 = 10% Missing 5 cards: 3-2 = 68% 4-1 = 28% 5-0 = 4% Missing 6 cards: 4-2 = 48% 3-3 = 36% 5-1 = 15% Missing 7 cards: 4-3 = 62% 5-2 = 31% 6-1 = 7% 3) Analyze what must be done to get rid of the opponents’ cards. That is, “How many tricks can I win, how many must I lose, and how many can I trump?” Then ask yourself how many cards you will have left in the given suit, after the opponents’ cards are gone. This is the number of extra tricks which may be available in this suit. 4) Determine how many entries will be required to carry out your plan. An entry is required for each time you need to ruff (trump) plus one to get back to your extra trick(s), once your suit establishment is completed. Often the trump suit provides necessary entries, and you need to delay the drawing of trumps. All the opponents low trumps must, however, be drawn before attempting to cash any established winners. For those who like formulas, something you don’t get a whole lot of in bridge, the number of entries required to set up a long suit might be thought of as follows: Entries required = R + 1 R is the number of times you need to ruff On the following page, this procedure is applied to some specific suit combinations. After studying that, be sure to review the full deals, most of which were played in class, in order to put it all together. Please take the extra time to actually lay the deals out with cards when studying, if doing so helps you understand more clearly. In each example, the bottom holding represents declarer, and the top represents dummy. A6543 —— K82 We have eight, they have five. Their five are most likely to split 3-2. —— We can win two, must lose one, and therefore won’t need to trump any. Play this one just like Notrump. Draw trump, then lose the first round of the suit, planning on later playing the King, then low to the Ace, and cashing the other two. A65432 —— K8 They have the same five as above, but this time we don’t have a sure —— loser. Our plan should be to win two, lose none, and ruff one. (R=1) Assuming the suit divides 3-2 we will now have three extra tricks. We need 2 entries total (R+1). The Ace in dummy counts as one, and a side entry will be required to get back to the established winners. A7654 —— 3 We have six, they have seven. Their seven are most likely to split 4-3. —— We can win one, then ruff three to make an extra trick. All this will require four entries(the Ace of the suit plus three others). The average player would usually ignore this suit, and that would be fine if you were sure you didn’t have the needed entries; however, you sometimes will (particularly in a slam contract) have enough entries and this may be your only way to discard a loser, so be sure to at least consider the possibility. AK843 —— 72 We have seven, they have six. Their six are most likely to split 4-2. —— We can win two, and must ruff two in order to create an extra trick.* For this plan to work, a total of three entries will be required (2+1). *If the suit splits 3-3, just one ruff will create two extra tricks. The suit itself can never be counted on for more than one entry, as you must use up all your low cards in that suit before you can begin ruffing. An entry to dummy requires not only a high card in dummy, but a low card in your hand to get there with. 65432 —— VOID Just to prove that any five-card or longer suit is worth considering We —— have five, they have eight. Their eight are more likely to split 5 – 3, but could split 4-4. If we are desperate for an extra trick, or have nothing to lose by trying, we should assume the best. Ruff four times, and hope the fifth one will be a winner. All this will require five entries, and bountiful trumps, but in a game or slam contract you may well have them.

SUIT ESTABLISHMENT PRACTICE DEALS