You’re declarer, the lead card has been played, the dummy hand is exposed, now what? How do you play the hand to make your contract?
*Note: If you are playing BBO online, you can input these hands into your account for practice playing with friends.
Perhaps you think you’ve bid too high and you’re in 3NT when it would have been easier to make the contract had you stopped at 2NT. You look at the opponent’s lead and your partner’s dummy hand and then feel defeated. Should you give up or should you try your best to make the contract? If you and your partner had the points for game, then you should be in game. Now, you must figure out how to make it. Bidding is only one part of the game — how you play the hand is just as important. There are techniques and strategies you can learn to help you.
Beginners often think that, if they do not make the contract, then they bid too high. Not necessarily. Their success is often the result of how the hand is played. Once newer players learn how to play better, they will gain more confidence in their bidding as well. You will lose your fear of bidding too high, though that doesn’t mean you should be reckless. You may even start to enjoy the challenge of making a contract that seemed unmakeable.
After the bidding is finished, the opening lead is made, and the dummy hand is exposed, the declarer should do their best to make that contract. Occasionally, they won’t be able to; that happens, but lots of times they can, if they just take a little bit more time to concentrate and think very carefully before they play the first card. Accept the challenge to make that contract! Start by counting winners in a NT contract or losers in a suit contract. If there aren’t enough winners or there are too many losers, then you need to figure out where you can find those extra tricks before you call for the first card from dummy.
In response to many requests from my readers, I have created three sets of practice games which incorporate strategies and tips for the playing of the hand. I have researched many authors to include as many basic strategies as possible. Each set has 12 games, which is enough for a session of about three hours of playing while allowing time to review the bidding and the playing. When I teach these lessons, I show the two bidding hands on a Power Point and lead my class through the steps of bidding, analyzing the opening lead, counting winners or losers, and then deciding on a strategy to make the contract. Then they play the hands. If you are learning on your own or with a small group, you could go over the bidding and playing strategies before playing each game or, instead, bid and play the game and then review to see if you’ve followed the recommended bidding and applied the strategies that will help make the contract. There’s a lot to learn when playing bridge!
Part 1 (12 games) focuses on finesses, the order of play, entries to dummy and other strategies. Part 2 (12 games) focuses on using length, discarding and ruffing losers and other strategies. Part 3 (12 games) focuses on order of play, ducking winners, ruffing losers and other strategies. After learning and applying these techniques, players should have a better chance of bidding and making their contracts. These games are similar to my other practice games, except that they focus more on the playing rather than the bidding, though both are important.
Here’s a sample: Sample – Bid and Make Your Contract – Part 1 – Board 4
The three sets of practice games are available for a cost of $15.00 (US). You can pay with PayPal or a credit card. Click on the “Buy Now” button below.
Once payment is received, I will send you the password via email so you can download them from my website (from menu at top of page). If, for any reason you do not receive an email from me in a day or so, please check your Spam or Junk mail folders first. If not there, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know that you have not received the password. Otherwise, I will not know there was a problem. ($15 US)