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Bridge & other card games/Side suits in bridge

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Question
Hi

It is generally recommended to set up side suits early, often before taking out trumps.  What are the general principles on this in a suit contract?  My fear is that by doing so the opponents may get an unnecessary ruff:

Eg1.  You have JT9 opposite AQxxx
If E has kxx opposite xx, he will take the K on the secon round and give his partner a ruff.

Eg2.  You have kQx opposite jT9x
If the opponent with the A waits until his partner is out of the suit before taking his A, he can give him a ruff

Many thanks

Answer
Good question.

At the outset, the shape of your hand will determine the path to follows.

Firstly, (and assuming your trump is a Major suit), is your fit a 5 - 3 or 4 - 4?  Secondly, do you have reasonable control of the trump? (no more than one possible loser?), Next, you may have deal with a bad trump break, and you will find that out by exploring the trump suit -- and finally, do you have adequate transportation to attempt a finesse in a side suit?   Often, the timing of these plays is very critical.  

Now, let's look at your scenarios:

Eg1.  You have JT9 opposite AQxxx
If E has kxx opposite xx, he will take the K on the secon round and give his partner a ruff.

This is true (assuming E holds the K of the side suit. )  The hand is going to come down to the location of the K; hence, I would explore the trump suit and then take the side suit finesse.

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Eg2.  You have kQx opposite jT9x
If the opponent with the A waits until his partner is out of the suit before taking his A, he can give him a ruff

This example still reflects the same theme.   Explore / extract trump, and then knock out the Ace of the sid esuit.

There are so many variables here. As I said before, the quality and length of the trump are key factors. Also, are you playing Duplicate or Rubber Bridge?

One of the most disheartening things that can happen, is when an opponent scores some "cheesy" low trump via the ruff route.  Losing a side suit Ace or offside King is accpetable; getting set in a makeable contract is brutal!

Play on...

Happy Holidays!  

Bridge & other card games

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Joe Andrews

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I can answer questions about most card games . These games include Bridge, Hearts, Spades, Euchre, Canasta, Whist, Pinochle, Cribbage, and Rummy.

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I was the organizer director of Grand Prix World Series of Card games. (1999 - 2011) I have written 5 books about card games. (Spades, Hearts, Euchre, Whist, and Barbu. ) I invented a new card game called "Heartswitch" (US Games, Inc.) I am developing four more card games. I am also a consultant for the US Playing Card Company. My Web site is: www.booksbyjoeandrews.com

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