Thursday, June 4, 2009

How to play the dummy

Here are some golden rules to follow

1. In 3NT, always try to put down first the suit they have led. Gives partner those extra couple of seconds to work out his play in this suit.

2. In doubled contracts and slams, show partner the good news first.

3. Stay at the table. Avoid the Versace walk.

I am also told that when some good bridge professionals are forced to be dummy, they place either shortage next to the trump suit (tip: ruffs) or their side-suit (tip: set it up).



The contract is 4H on the lead of spade Jack to Ace and a low spade is returned.
Which suit would you place next to those trumps ?


  1. The spades. I won't be drawn in to any of those shenanigans.

    As for the play, I'd lead a club to the ten at trick 2. God didn't give me those good spots to be wasted. If it wins (or loses to the ace) I shall be well placed even if trumps end up being 4-1. If it loses then I'll need a nice trump split. I'll continue by cashing DAK and then if that doesn't bring down the queen i'll try and ruff a club in dummy - returning to hand in trumps.

    I could be going down with trumps 4-1 and friendly diamonds. Alternatively if I didn't try and drop a doubleton DQ I could draw two rounds of trumps before taking the club ruff - this qould prevent an overruff by East having a doubleton trump and doubleton club.

  2. And presumably you place the other suit next to trumps when you think partner should just draw trumps (and claim).

    You haven't given an auction, so I'll assume it's not relevant. I place clubs next to trumps (if I'm allowed to cheat even more I place the K on top of the 10). If hearts are 3-2, a club ruff will get me home. If hearts are 4-1, I can angle for a couple of ruffs in my hand.

    I cash HK and HA before ruffing a club so I don't have to guess what to do next. If I don't draw a few trumps, and the club gets over-ruffed, what layout do I play for? Hearts 1-4, 2-3, 3-2? I also don't have to guess what to do next if lefty ruffs in front of dummy.

    The worst thing that happens this way is that I may have to play a pop-up squeeze on lefty, although I may be going off in a cold one with the wrong 4423 on my left.

  3. Clubs.

    My line would be to play a club to the king and attempt to ruff 2 clubs - not drawing any trumps along the way. If the third round of clubs gets overruffed on my right, I still have the diamond finesse in reserve. This way, I might make even if trumps are 4-1.

  4. I've always adopted a different approach to laying out dummy: I've always put the suit led down last. The rationale is to force partner to see all the rest of my cards before those in the suit led, hopefully thus avoiding at least some of the temptations to play quickly to T1 because the card looks right for that suit without thinking about the whole deal.


  5. I take it back. Play a club to the King. There's just too many chances when trumps break 4-1 to go down so early on the hand. It breaks so much tension and resolves the whole hand very early. I follow something along the lines of Khokan's line with one addition - ruff the third spade when I'm in dummy with the HK. It improves my chances if trumps are 4-1 (might make my trump en passant)

  6. I've always tried to put down red-black-red-black, and usually succeed.

    Bridge is a difficult game - do I really have to spend neurons on this topic?

  7. Wouldn't this be considered cheating? I mean you're giving partner a big help...

  8. My thoughts as well. Dummy is supposed to keep quiet with respect to the play.

    Personally, as declarer I would prefer to have alternating colours - it's easier to tell the suits apart!