In this lesson we'll talk about what is a suit combination, why suit combinations are so helpful and how you can improve your bridge by learning new suit combinations.
It's easiest to consider a simple finesse first.
In this example and all those that follow we're only interested in the best way to play a suit in isolation from the rest of the cards and it doesn't matter whether it's a suit contract or notrumps.
You can also lead from North or South at any point. If you win a trick in the South hand you're allowed to assume that you can get back to the North hand, if you need to, in order to play the first card to the next trick.
How do you make 2 tricks with AQ opposite 32?
You play low to the Queen, hoping that West has the King. Bad luck if East has the King, you just move on to the next hand.
What is a suit combination?
Instead of looking at just 4 cards, with a suit combination we're looking at the whole suit. For example, AQ876 opposite 5432. How do you make 5 tricks? Should you play the ace hoping the King drops or should you finesse? Why?
If you play the ♠A, hoping to catch the singleton ♠K in the East hand you'll be disappointed! The singleton ♠K in the East hand means West started with ♠JT9 and you'll still lose a trick. The only way to make 5 tricks is if West has ♠Kx.
So when we say how do you make 5 tricks that's not really the right way to put it because there are actually no guarantees. Better to say how do you mentally position the opposition cards so you can make 5 tricks?
When you're playing a hand and you see a suit combination that you've studied you'll know what to do. It's also very exciting!
Bridge teachers always say that at the start of a hand you're supposed to count your tricks and then make a plan before playing anything. But it's really hard! - you can't plan if you don't know what cards each opponent has.
Good bridge players often simply mentally place the cards where they want them and then play accordingly. If the cards are distribued as hoped for, great. If they're not distributed that way? Bad luck, next hand.
Studying a suit combination is a great way of building up your visualization skills.
AQ76 opposite 5432. How do you make 3 tricks?
You finesse hoping that West has Kx or Kxx. But you'll still need to lose a trick to establish your last card as a winner.
Why learn suit combinations?
There are two reasons to learn suit combinations. The first is that you'll often recognise a suit combination as you're playing and you'll then know how to play the hand.
The second reason to learn suit combinations is that it works your bridge muscles. The more you practice suit combinations the more you'll be able to count your tricks, count your winners and losers, plan your play, figure out where the missing cards are.
AQ76 opposite 432. How do you make 3 tricks? It doesn't matter if you know the answer or not, it's going through the process which is important. You're training yourself to mentally place the cards where you want them.
Finesse, hoping that West has Kxx. You'll still need to lose a trick to establish your last card as a winner.