To establish extra winners in a hand of bridge, a suit must be unequally divided, with the greater length (more cards) in the dummy. If you can create extra winners in the dummy, you’re on your way to a winning hand.
Recognizing a great chance for creating extra winners
This image shows you a suit that’s just prime for developing extra winners: The suit is unevenly divided, with the greater length in the dummy. Plus, the dummy holds three honors, a running head start.
Here’s how you might play this hand:
Start by leading the ♠5.
West plays a low spade, the ♠4.
You play the dummy’s ♠J.
Assume that the ♠J drives out the ♠A in East’s hand. With the ♠A out of the way, you’ve created two extra winners: the ♠K and ♠Q.
The ♠K and ♠Q are extra winners because they’re the boss spades (the highest cards left in the suit), and you have no spades left. Later, when you play the ♠K and ♠Q, you can discard two losers from your hand.
Driving out your opponents’ honor cards to establish extra winners
On occasion, you have to do a little work to make those extra winners appear. You may have to drive out two honors in the same suit before you can create any extra winners in that suit. But the bottom line is that the suit you’re working with must be unevenly divided, with the greater length in the dummy. You’re spinning your wheels if you try to create extra winners in an evenly divided suit.
The cards in this image offer the opportunity to create an extra winner, but you need to drive out the ♠A and the ♠K before you can claim the extra winner:
Start by leading a low spade, the ♠3.
West plays low, the ♠4.
You play the ♠10 from the dummy.
As it happens, the ♠10 loses to East’s ♠K.
After you regain the lead by winning a trick in another suit, lead your remaining spade, the ♠9.
West follows low again with the ♠5.
You play the ♠J.
This time, the ♠J loses to the ♠A, also in the East hand. You’re left with the ♠Q in the dummy — an extra winner because the queen is the highest remaining spade at large, and you have no more spades.
After the dummy regains the lead by winning a trick in another suit, play the Q and discard a loser.
Making sure you can reach your extra winners
When your suit fills the bill for creating extra winners but your equal honors are divided between the two hands, play the high honor card from the short side first. Doing so makes it easier to reach the extra winner(s) you create.
Playing the high honor cards from the short side is a bit like unblocking a logjam; if you leave the honor in the hand with shortness, you leave the log in place and potentially create a fatal blockage.
In this image, for example, you have three equal honor cards, the ♠KQJ, but the honors are divided between the two hands:
Start by playing the ♠K, the high honor from the short side (South).
Assume that your ♠K loses to West’s ♠A. The dummy is left with the ♠QJ, and you’re left with the ♠5.
When you regain the lead, you can lead the ♠5 to the dummy’s ♠J.
Discard one of your losers on the extra winner, the ♠Q.
If the dummy regains the lead first in another suit, just take your two winning spade tricks.