The Next Step lesson modules have been designed to build on the Online School Curriculum. They include some Quick Tips to help you focus on the lesson topic. When you are considering the order to play your cards, having made your plan, how to cross from one hand to the other (Entries) is a vital part of it all. Then you can play and review the lesson hands.
If you have more time to spare, you can also complete the first Card Play lesson.
What’s the point of counting certain honour cards as winners if you can’t REACH them?
An entry is actually two cards; one a link card, and the other the entry that will take you to the hand you are trying to get to (thanks for this terminology, Audrey Grant)
Sometimes you need to play an honour on top of a lower honour if that’s the only way to reach the hand you need to be in (partner might look strangely at you, but carry on, as you know what you’re doing)
Considering where your entries are is the main part of the C of the Plan: Considering the Order in which to play the cards
Sometimes entries are External, meaning they are in another suit, which will be a way to reach the hand…
But sometimes the entries are in the suit itself, called Internal Entries
This often means not taking a trick in the suit until you can be sure of a small card left which will take you over to the winners in the other hand
In other words, let the opponents win the tricks to which they are entitled before you cross over to your long suit winners
This week’s hand:
We are focusing on card play this week, so rather than giving our panel a hand to discuss bidding, they have been asked to watch this game and then explain what the next step is. It’s hand 3 above.
What move would you make next?
We need to preserve entries to dummy, so win the opening lead in our hand with the ♣A, playing the ♣2 from dummy. We'd like to avoid having to take the heart finesse except as a last resort, so will endeavour to ruff some diamonds to see if they become good. Partner has provided the gorgeous ♠8 and ♠9, so cross to one of them and ruff a diamond high (hopefully trumps are no worse than 3-1). Cross again and ruff a diamond again. Draw the third trump. Now, lead the ♣Q to the ♣K (noting whether these are 3-2 …. they are, great). Ruff another diamond. Now the ♣10 to ♣J, ruffing the fourth diamond. If this suit breaks 4-4, or the ♦️A has come down, then we can cross with the ♣4 to the ♣5 and claim. If nothing good has happened, we can cross and take the heart finesse (or play for a red suit squeeze, but that is against the odds).
This hand is an exercise in using entries to cross over to the hand you’re wanting to set up for discards, ie the diamonds. If this suit breaks 4-4, then the fifth diamond in the North hand will provide a discard for the possibly losing heart. If diamonds don’t break 4-4, then you hope that the ♦️A will fall, and thus your ♦️K becomes a winner.
If you realise that establishing the diamond suit by trumping it will require, not only enough entries to ruff four times, BUT another entry to then reach the established diamond winner, you will be searching for five entries right from the beginning of the plan for the hand.
The most elusive entry to find may be the little ♣5, which will be reached by preserving the ♣4.
This is a famous hand which is written up in Audrey Grant’s great little book, “Five Tips to Overcome Entry Problems”.
It was successfully played in 7♠ by Alfred Sheinwold (a top US player) , by using all the entries available to reach the diamond suit.
Notice that this is a far better way to make a hand than to rely on the 50-50 heart finesse, which fails anyway, just to make things worse for the finessers!
It’s also another example of why leading the ♣9 is safest, because leading a heart (4th highest away from the ♥️K) would simply provide declarer with their thirteenth trick!
My Managing the Play Workbook has more related lessons on card play. It is also a great gift for your bridge partner.
Test your knowledge
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