ACBL26A – Declarer: Extra Tricks             Ward Trumbull

                                                                                                                   May 2, 2009

                                                                                                                   Page 1 of 7



            The object of the declarer’s line of play should be to make the

      contract with over tricks if possible, but never at the expense of going



Extra Tricks


            Part of the ARCH checklist is counting winners and losers.  After

      you count your winners, if the total is not the number of tricks you need

      to make your contract, you will have to develop an extra trick or tricks

      to do so.


            Likewise, if the winner count is enough, then you should try to

      develop extra tricks for over tricks if possible.


Developing Extra Tricks


            I know of 12 ways to develop extra tricks.  The phrase to help

      learn/remember them is:


               Double C, E, F, P, R and S    (1st letter per items below)



      No.                Description                 Level      Reference ID

     ------  ----------------------------------------  --------  ------------------------

       1     Crossruff                                    Adv       ACBL31

       2     Counting opponent’s discards   Adv

       3     End play                                    Adv

       4     Establish a long suit by ruffs      Adv

       5     Finesse                                      Beg       ABL14, A, B

       6     Favorable distributions               Intr

               (4-3-3-3  and 5-3-3-2)



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      No.               Description                Level      Reference ID

     ------  --------------------------------------  --------  ------------------------

       7     Patience with testy suits          Intr

              (wait for opponents to lead)

       8     Poor defenders                       Adv

       9     Ruff in the hand with the         Beg       ACBL26

              fewer trumps

     10     Ruff and slough                       Intr

     11     Squeeze play                          Intr

     12     Safety play                              Intr        ACBL19


1. Crossruff (advanced)


          In a suit contract, when both the dummy and declarer hands have a

    singleton or void, the declarer should certainly consider the possibility for

    cross ruffing out the hand.  The basic rules for a crossruff are:


          a. Avoid pulling trump.

          b. Cash all outside winners (aces, kings, etc.) first.

          c. You may have to give up the lead to get rid of a

              singleton.  Typically, the opponents will sense the

              pending ruffs and return trump.


2. Counting Opponent’s Discards (advanced)


          Whenever the opponents discard on a trick, declarer should make a

     mental note of:


          a. Which suit was discarded – high or low card?

          b. Is it a suit that you may later attack?

          c. With multiple discards, does that opponent discard the

              same suit or play one of each?



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3. End Play (advanced)


           End plays are made at the end of a hand’s play.  They are used to

     avoid a finesse that might fail or when you have no more cards in that

     suit to try the finesse.  You play a card to put an opponent in, and then

     hope they will lead the finesse suit.


     Example:  Last 3 cards


                     Dummy     Hearts   A Q 6  

                                                               Opponent  Spades  A

                                                                                 Hearts   K J

                     Declarer    Spades   7  

                                       Hearts    5

                                       Clubs     9


                     Declarer leads the spade 7, RHO takes the trick

                     and is end played.  Declarer loses only one trick.

                     Taking the heart finesse would lose two.


4. Establishing a Long Suit by Ruffs (advanced)


           In this case the long suit may be in either hand.  It need not be a

     strong suit, only long, 5 or more cards.  Let’s say it is in dummy. You

     would have to cross to the dummy and then return with a ruff of the suit.

     You will of course, need dummy entries to make it work.  Actually, you

     will need as many entries as you expect ruffs, PLUS ONE MORE.  The

     last entry is to cash the final good card(s) in that suit. Typically, you

     would cross to dummy early, pulling trump each time.  The last entry

     would be to a good outside suit ace or king.






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4. Establishing a Long Suit by Ruffs (continued)


     Example: A 4 spade contract    (opening lead of A, K & Q of



             Dummy         S    K Q 9

                                  H    J 4  

                                  D    A 8 7 5 3

                                  C    K 6 2


             Declarer        S    A J 6 5 4

                                   H   9 7 4

                                   D   10 7

                                   C   A 10 8


           You have to ruff the queen with dummy’s 9.  You have 2 hearts, a

     diamond and a club to lose.  You can put the club on the 5th diamond if

     2 ruffs will establish the suit.  At tricks 4 and 5, play the diamond ace

     and  then the 3.  You now have the needed 3 dummy entries, two in

     spades and the club king.  Ruff the 4th diamond with the  jack, cash the

     spade ace, and then cross to the club king.


5. Finesse (beginner)


           Most all common finesse situations are explained in detail in

     ACBL14, 14A and 14B.


6. Favorable Distribution (intermediate)


     As declarer you should make note when you have a suit that is:


            a. 4 opposite 3 – if the suit breaks 4-3-3-3, you will have the last

                                       good card in that suit.



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6. Favorable Distribution (continued)


            b. 5 opposite 3 – if the suit breaks 5-3-3-2, you will have the last 2

                                       good cards in that suit.


            c. 5 opposite 2 – if the suit breaks 5-2-3-3, you will have the last 2

                                       good cards in that suit.


           In all three cases above, the declarer should consider this as a

     possibility for an extra trick.  Note to see if all of the opponents cards

     are gone the third time the suit is played.  If the opponents have no

     more, the suit is set up for an extra trick(s).


7. Patience with Testy Suits (intermediate)


          Avoid playing a suit when you have finesse problems. For

    instance, with queen third opposite jack third, wait for the opponents to

    lead that suit, and you will be assured of one trick.


          Another example, is when you have a two-way finesse in a suit.   

    Avoid guessing, and hope they will lead the suit.


    Example:  Dummy   A 10 8 6      Declarer    K J 4 3


           You could bang down the ace and king, hoping for a doubleton

    queen.  Or you could finesse either opponent.  But see what happens if

    they lead the suit.


8. Poor Defenders (advanced)


          Skilled players tend to know the bad defenders from the good ones.

     When you play against such people, it often pays  to give up the lead to

     them, because they’ll make one of their frequent misques to give you

     an extra trick.


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8. Poor Defenders (continued)


    Their misplays are such as:


            a. They give you a ruff and slough.

            b. They cash an ace setting up your king and queen.

            c. They give you a finesse on their own king or queen.


9. Ruff in the Hand with the Fewer Trumps (beginner)


           You will gain no tricks when you ruff in the hand with the long trump.

     You should make that kind of ruff, only for the purpose of transportation

     between hands, but don’t mislead yourself into thinking you’re getting

     an extra trick.  YOU”RE NOT.


           However, ruffing in the short trump suit hand, does give you an

     extra trick.


10. Ruff and Slough (intermediate)


           In a suit contract when you have a side suit which is short in both

       hands, it often pays to clear out that suit before letting the opponents

       in.  You have now made a ruff-and-slough possible.  You’d be

       surprised how many defenders don’t see what you are doing and will  

       lead that suit


11. Squeeze (intermediate)


            In a suit or notrump contract it is a good declarer technique to run a

       long suit squeezing the opponents for discards.  If you have stoppers

       in all suits, you may even play out all your trump.  Watch them discard.

       When they start to suffer, they’ll tip you off to which suits they have

       high cards in.  Do you use this extra trick skill?


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12. Safety Play (intermediate)


           ACBL19 explains safety plays, but the most common one is to play

       the ace or king before finessing for the queen.  Once in a while you’ll

       drop a singleton queen and avoid what would have been a losing