Site hosted by Build your free website today!


Sky Test: Set Background
Copyright 2005 by John Strichman (all rights reserved)

John Strichman is the author of
by JohnGalt Strichman

Karosa Publishing - Boulder, Colorado


Here is a situation from a game in The Zone the other night.

The score is 267 (7) for your team and 143 (3) for the opps.

The bids on the hand are:

You (South) 3, West 2, North 3, and East 1. a wonderful 9 bid hand.

After 5 tricks have been played, the situation is as follows:

    North 3/2 (0)      
West 2/0         East 1/2  
    SOUTH 3/1

3 5 10 K A
3 4 J
The opps need 1 more trick, and your team needs 3 tricks. Spades have already been broken because East played the Spade 9 on a trick that West had won on the table (7 Spades remain outstanding including the Jack and Queen), and your Jack of Diamonds is high with only 1 Diamond left outstanding.

What card should you lead.

Well, it sure would be nice to hand the opps 4 bags, but it would also be nice to set the opps 3 bid (remember, setting a 3 bid costs the opps 60 points).

You need to find a lead which will give you the opportunity to go either way depending on how the opps react.

Chances are that West is sitting on at least one of the 2 missing Spade honors. If he has only 3 Spades, you can very possibly fake him into a set, while at the same time protecting yourself against bags.

The way to do this is by leading the 10 of Spades, with the following plan in mind:

If the opps let the 10 walk, lead the Ace and King of Spades with the hope of pulling all remaining trump and then running the Diamonds.

If the opps do hop on the 10, you should then be able to exercise substantial control over the rest of the hand, giving most or all of the bags to the opponents.

Leading the high Spades first would result in West hanging on to his high Spade. If you lead a low Spade, there is a chance that the opps could win the trick and lead back another Spade, forcing you into the lead with no option but to eat all of the bags on the hand.

South did lead the Spade 10 in this situation. The opps quickly let it ride, and South did then go on to pull Spades, run his Diamonds, and set the opps.

The resulting score was 232 for North/South, and 113 for the opps. N/S went on to win the game.

Whenever possible in this type of situation, try to find a lead where either way works, and you will move one step closer to NOT losing at Spades.


  • Tiger_Galt's Previous Columns