How to Take Bridge Tricks in Long Suits
In bridge, trump cards can prove invaluable when you need to establish the dummy’s long side suit. Tiny trumps can fell your opponents’ aces, kings, and queens in the suit you’re establishing. You can use your trumps to set up winners in the dummy’s long suit, with or without honor cards.
Winning bridge tricks in long suits without honor cards
You may not believe it, but you can set up tricks in long suits, even if you don’t hold a single honor card (the ace, king, queen, jack, or ten). All you need is a five-card (or longer) suit in the dummy, entries to the dummy, and persistence.
When attempting to coax a trick or two out of such a scrawny five- or six-card suit, your strategy is to play the suit and keep playing the suit at every opportunity until your opponents finally run out of cards in the suit. This image shows a really pathetic five-card suit. Here’s how you can play it to get some tricks:
Start by leading a low diamond, the ♦5.
West plays the ♦9.
You play low from the dummy, ♦2 (what else?).
East takes the trick with the ♦J. Say East leads some other suit, but you recapture the lead.
You obstinately play your second diamond.
West plays the ♦10.
The dummy plays low, ♦3 (surprise).
East takes the trick with the ♦Q. West remains with the ♦K, East remains with the ♦A, and you’re void in diamonds. The dummy has three diamonds left.
Because East has the lead, he can lead another suit.
Enter the dummy in another suit by leading a low card from your hand to a winning card in the dummy.
Now trump a diamond with one of your spades.
East has to play the ♦A, and West has to play the ♦K. Presto, your opponents have no more diamonds, and you have two diamond winners in the dummy.
Of course, you still have to draw trumps, and you still need another entry to the dummy to enjoy your two diamond winners. But you can do it!
Taking bridge tricks in long suits with honor cards
Take a look at a five-card suit with some beef, shown in this image. Say that spades is your trump suit. Here’s how you play it:
Start by leading a low diamond, the ♦7, to the ♦Q in the dummy (from weakness to strength).
West plays low, the ♦5, and East captures the dummy’s ♦Q with the ♦A. Your opponents started with six diamonds, and now they have four left.
When you regain the lead in another suit, play a low diamond from your hand, the ♦8, and the ♦K from the dummy.
Both opponents following with low diamonds (West plays the v9; East plays the ♦6). Now they have two diamonds left.
You lead a low diamond from the dummy, the ♦2.
East plays the ♦J.
Because you have no more diamonds, you can trump the ♦J with a spade.
West follows with the ♦10. Neither East nor West has any more diamonds, so both of the dummy’s low diamonds have turned into winning tricks!