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Bridge Venue

Example Deal
spade 10 9 7 4 2
heart Q 8 4
diamond J 6 4
club A 4
spade A K Q 6 3
heart A K J
diamond Q 3 2
club 9 3
Example Deal
You: South
Dealer: South
Vuln: none

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«  1801  »

Endplay - when to give away the lead

Give the opponents the lead? Why?

To force them to give you an extra trick. (Wonderful! Tell me more)

A difficult suit in declarer’s hands

There are some card combinations where you’d make an extra trick if only you knew where the opponents' cards were. Is the missing Queen at West or East? E.g. AJ2 and K103. You could try a finesse, but it might not work.

And there are other combinations where you’ll make an extra trick if the enemy led the difficult suit first, not you. E.g. Q32 and J54

So give them the lead ("throw-in" the lead). And then you will make an extra trick if they lead the difficult suit.

Will they lead the suit?

How do you force them to then choose to lead back the difficult suit?

The answer is that you must have previously stripped away all your cards (in both hands) in the other two suits, to deny them a 'safe exit'. You’ll still have trumps, but generally they won’t.

What can they do?

If they lead the difficult suit, the one that you wanted them to lead, you’ll make that extra trick.

But if they choose the 'wrong' suit, not the difficult one, then provided you've removed their 'safe exit' you’ll ruff in one hand - and in the other hand you’ll discard from the difficult suit.

And bingo, you’ve made an extra trick with a so-called 'ruff and discard'.

Spotting the chance

You need

  1. Two suits that you can completely empty, (by any means)
  2. A suit to give away the lead (this is a trick that you will always lose, however you play)
  3. Remaining trumps (to ruff any lead by them of the stripped-out suits)
  4. Usually, to have pulled all their trumps to stop them from doing the same

And of course you have a 'difficult' suit, that you’d rather not lead first.

Why would you risk a finesse when you can guarantee the missing trick with an endplay 'throw-in'?

Various forms of 'eliminate and throw-in'

  • Throw-in to either opponent
  • Throw-in to one specific opponent
  • Forcing a ruff and discard
  • Bad splits
  • Multiple difficult suits
  • Throwing-in trumps
  • Throw-in during a NT contract

Throw-in to one specific opponent

Sometimes you’ll need to oblige one of your opponents to lead the difficult suit, and prevent the other one from leading. That might be because you have AQx in a suit from which you need 2 tricks.

You can sometimes deduce which of them will win the throw-in; maybe from the bidding, or maybe from the opening lead (e.g. a King, promising a Queen).


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