Make your slam

Hi everybody. A strange thing about bridge is that often the higher the contract, the easier it is to play. A contract of six or seven notrumps is usually straightforward. You take your tricks, perhaps losing the lead once or taking a finesse along the way, but you make your slam – or, if things don’t go well, you go down. Contracts such as 1 No Trump, or 1 or 2 Hearts or Clubs, are often much harder because you have to fight to establish tricks, and you might lose the lead and need to regain it more often. What can happen in a slam though is that we get over-excited and panic, and we forget to do the basic things. In a No Trump contract especially, all you need to do is choose your long suit and keep on playing it.

This is a hand I just played on Sky Bridge Club. I noticed a large number of players in 6 No Trumps go down. I think that that might have happened because a bit of panic set in. So… because Spades is the longest suit (the one I have the most of in the two hands), I’m just going to keep playing Spades. As it happens, you’ll see East chose out. That means West has got 2 Spades left, so I'm going to have to lose a Spade. But that doesn’t matter! By losing a Spade, I’ll also establish my 7 of Spades as a winner. Often, whatever level you are at – 1 No Trumps, 6 No Trumps, 7 No trumps – all you have to do is keep on playing that long suit. It’s important to play the long suit early - if I'd panicked and played my Hearts and Clubs and Diamonds, what would I be left with? Eventually I’d have to play Spades, but then I’d have no way of getting the lead back again.

So, if you're in a slam, you can relax a bit. You can usually say to yourself: "I've got an easy contract here!" Play your long suit and you'll be fine. Enjoy your slam!

Have fun with that hand, and see you next time.