Declarer's Play Of A Suit Declaration

The Declarer generally has a greater opportunity to display skill in

the play of a suit declaration than of a No-trumper. With a suit

declared, as soon as the Dummy is placed before him, he must determine

which of two plans of campaign it is advisable for him to adopt: that

is, he must either lead Trumps until the adversaries have no more, or

he must play the ruffing game and make his Trumps separately. The

latter is especially advantageous if, with his weaker Trump hand, he

can take a trick or tricks that would, of necessity, be lost if he

immediately exhausted all the Trumps.

The Declarer, therefore, should first look for a chance to ruff losing

cards with his weak hand; when he does not find that opportunity, he

should realize that the adversaries will attempt to do some ruffing

themselves, and in nine cases out of ten, should exhaust the Trumps.

When the Declarer has a holding which makes him anxious that the Trump

lead should come from the other side, and the Dummy contains short

Trumps and a short suit (which short suit the Declarer cannot arrange

for the Dummy to ruff, either because he has the same number as the

Dummy, or because he has winning cards), he can sometimes induce an

adverse Trump lead by opening the short suit, thus conveying to his

adversaries the impression that he desires to ruff with the short


If the Declarer have sufficient Trump length in his weak Trump hand to

exhaust the adverse Trump holding, and still remain with sufficient

Trumps for all possible ruffs, he should lead Trumps before taking the

ruff, so as to avoid any chance of an over-ruff. An obvious case will

exemplify this principle:--

The Declarer holds Ace, King, Queen, and one small Trump; the Dummy,

four small; the Declarer, King, Queen, and two small Clubs, in which

suit the Dummy has Ace and one small. Part of the Declarer's original

scheme of play is to have the Dummy ruff his losing Club, yet to lead

that suit before three rounds of Trumps would be the height of folly,

as a winning card might be ruffed by an adversary or the Dummy


Managing the Dummy so as to utilize all his small Trumps to the

greatest advantage is one of the tests of the skill of the player of

the combined hands. A simple example follows: With Hearts Trump, the

Dummy puts down one small Club, and three worthless Trumps. The

Declarer wins the first trick, has Ace at the head of his long Trumps;

also, Ace, King, and two losing Clubs. His play is plain. He should

lead his Ace and then a small Club; ruff the latter, lead a Trump from

Dummy, and then the remaining losing Club, for Dummy to ruff with his

last Trump.

Decisions By The Card Committee Of The Whist Club Of New York Declarer's Play Of No-trump facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail