Site hosted by Build your free website today!


Copyright 2004 by John Strichman (all rights reserved)

John Strichman is the author of
by JohnGalt Strichman

Karosa Publishing - Boulder, Colorado


This month’s column is about nothing…. well, more precisely, about Nils.

In my book, I cover the 8 typical ways in which a Nil bid can be set. Some of these involve catching the Niller in Spades.

There are a few ways to set a Nil bidder with one of his trump.

One way is for the opps to unload their high Spades by cross-roughing, leaving the Niller with an uncoverable trump.

Another way is to force the cover pard to use his Spades for trumping, leaving no cover for his pard.

A third approach is to simply lead Spades with the hope of catching the Niller with a Spade that his pard cannot cover.

This approach usually works best when the cover pard has a low bid and the opps have a high bid (normally this will reflect the cover pard having few Spades and the defenders having many Spades).

If you are going to try this approach, it is critical that the play be made in the correct direction.

Say that West has bid Nil, your pard 5, East 2, and you 4.

You have 4 Spades with 2 honors.

A good guess is that your pard has 4 or 5 trump (possibly with most or even all of the other big ones) and that the Niller and his cover pard have only 4 or 5 Spades at most.

Often, in a situation like this, the Niller will be sitting there with something like the 3, 6, and 10 of Spades… or maybe the 2, 4, and Jack.

Also, frequently, the cover pard will have only 1 Spade, or maybe a holding like the 5 and Jack, or 4 and Queen.

If you are going to lead a low Spade, it is critical that Spades be led through the Nil bidder - not to the Nil bidder.

In the example above, this means that you would lead Spades through the Niller (West), rather than your pard leading Spades through the cover pard.

The reason for this is that you want the Niller to have to guess which Spade to play without the luxury of seeing what his pard has in his hand. In this case the Niller will almost always play one of his low trump, and the cover pard will often have to waste a high one which could have eventually been used to cover the Niller’s one dangerous Spade.

If Spades are led in the other direction, the cover pard will play his highest trump and the Niller will be able to unload his potential set card under it.

This is a very common and costly mistake, and results in many Nils being made that could have been set.

Always remember to lead Spades through and not to the Niller, and you will move one step closer to not losing at Spades.

Now, changing the subject to Jacks and Queens, this Tiger will be getting married in a few days and will be out of the jungle for awhile. The next time that I see you I will be wearing a leash watching my Q’s and P’s.

In the meantime,


Congratulations amd Best Wishes!"
Tiger_Galt and Tiger_QP were joined in marriage this month in Colorado. The entire Tigers Spades Family wishes them many years of wedded bliss. We love you both and are proud to have you in our family.
Tiger_Lady43 & Tiger_Tale
  • Tiger_Galt's Previous Columns