Are you married or divorced?  Lets stay married




Many players (maybe novices mainly) seem to forget that the card play can be dictated by the bidding. They forget to remember the bidding before playing out the hand  it's as if they divorce the card play from the bidding. When you get married you want to  stay married and use all the clues to stay married don't you?

Let's have a look at some hands and see how the bidding might dictate and help  the card play :-

Dealer: West Vuln: None

A Q 10 5
K Q 4 3
J 10
10 9 6
K J 4
9 5 2
Q 8 2
A K Q 7
W   E
10 8 7 6
9 7 6 5 4
5 3 2
9 8 7 3 2
A K 3
J 8 4
1 Double Pass 4

After partner Doubles you bid 4♠ with your own opening bid.

EW methods are they are playing 4 card suits and a Weak No Trump.

West leads three top spades and then switches to a Heart  - over to you.

Between your hand and the dummy you have 25 points so EW have 15.

After the first three  tricks you now deduce that West is BALANCED with everybody following to three rounds of Clubs.

Now back to the bidding (staying married). If West is balanced why didn't West open 1NT in first place? OH, he must have more than 14 points- he  must have all the remaining points giving him an initial count of 15 points balanced.

Gosh this marrying up of the bidding with the card play now determines that I can play West for both the King and Jack of Trumps.

I will now not be an ALWAYS PLAYER  and going through the advice of 8 ever 9 never which I am going to ignore but will  finesse West for both Spade honours.

With the spades breaking 3:1 I still get home because I used the bidding in the card play and never got divorced.


Dealer: West Vuln: N/S

K Q 7 6
Q 4 3 2
10 9
A Q 3
9 5 4
A 8
A K 7 6 5 4
5 4
W   E
10 8 3
J 10 9
Q J 2
10 9 7 6
A J 2
K 7 6 5
8 3
K J 8 2
1 Double Pass 2
Pass 3 Pass 4

After partner Doubles the 1 opening bid you end up in 4 and West leads two top Diamonds followed by a Spade switch.

You are in a ten trick contract and cannot afford to lose more than one more trick.  You cannot do anything about losing the trump ace so now you will need to play the trump suit "correctly"

With KXXX   opposite QXXX  the correct way to play this combination is to finesse one of the opponents straight away and then play a low card from each hand hoping the "Ace falls on air" as hopefully it started life as a doubleton Ace

So who do we play for the Doubleton Ace?

 Back to the bidding. West made an opening bid, so in order to make this opening bid in the first place he must have started with the Heart Ace as well as his top Diamonds to justify an opening bid of 1 of a suit. So now you will have to hope its doubleton.

Win the third trick in hand and play a low trump. West follows suit and you play dummy's Queen. Now play a low heart from each hand and be delighted when the Ace falls. Your remaining   King will draw East's Jack shortly.


(NB If you were in this situation on another hand and no opponent bid during the auction then you would have to see what was led. Maybe somebody led King promising a sequence. Now the odds favour the other opponent having the missing Ace. Lack of bidding is just as revealing as bids that are made)


Dealer: East Vuln: None

K 8 4
10 5 4
10 7
A J 7 6 4
J 10 9 7
9 8
9 3
Q 10 9 8 5
W   E
Q 6 3
A 7 6 3
K Q J 8 5 2
A 5 2
K Q J 2
A 6 4
K 3 2
    1 1NT
Pass 2NT Pass 3NT

Our third hand involves DEFENCE and the defender remembering IMMEDIATELY the auction before playing his first card - now not only is he not divorcing the bidding from the card play he isn't divorcing his partner but has listened to her very attentively.

During the auction partner opened 1 and now he is leading partner's suit. Partner will now be well on the  way to establishing her suit and she will get in with the Ace and win the race for 5 defensive tricks.

If  West were to aimlessly forget partner's bid and fall in love with his five card Club suit, declarer now has the timing to make 9 tricks after forcing out the Heart Ace and is still in possession of the precious Diamond Ace.

Its all well and good knowing to "Always Lead Partner's suit" but knowing why and of course  remembering the auction is just as important.

Article written up in EBU magazine :-