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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.

Next: Play By Declarer's Adversaries

Previous: Declarer's Play Of No-trump

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