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Copyright 2003 by John Strichman (all rights reserved)

John Strichman is the author of
by JohnGalt Strichman

Valley Publishing - Boulder, Colorado


OK gang, this one is a little hard to explain, but here goes.

Trump management (how you play your Spades) is one of the more difficult aspects of the game to teach, and one of the most problematic areas for many players.

One of the more common mistakes occurs when a player is leading with 3 tricks left to play, needs 2 of the 3 tricks to make his bid, has the master Spade in his hand, and he and one of the opps are the only players left with Spades – each having 3.

Let’s say that you are in the lead and have the Ace, 10, and 6 of Spades.

Let’s also say that the opp with Spades has the Queen, Jack, and 4 of Spades.

If you lead your Ace, the opp will dump the 4, and take the last 2 tricks with the J and Q, and you will be set.

It is critical that you do not allow the opp to unload his lowest Spade on your master trump. The way to do this is by leading the 10. This will force the opp to play the Jack or Queen, and then face the impossible task of winning another trick by having to lead a Spade back to you. If he plays the 4, you will win the 6 and then the Ace. If he plays the Queen (or Jack), you will win the Ace and then the 6.

You could also lead the 6, and the same thing would happen. After winning the trick with his Jack, you would win the next 2 tricks with your 10 and Ace no matter what he leads back to you.

As long as you do not lead the Ace, you will make your bid.

Even in a situation like the following, the same approach holds:

Say that you have the Ace, 10, and 6 of Spades, and the opp holds the Queen, 8, and 4. Each of his 3 Spades is lower than one of your Spades, but if you lead your Ace, you will still wind up losing 2 of the 3 tricks to him.

He will toss the 4 under your Ace, and then play his Queen over your 10 or 8 over your 6 on the next round, and go on to win the final trick.

Again, if you lead either the 10 or the 6, you will then win the next 2 tricks no matter which card the opp leads back to you.

“Ah!!!” you say. “That’s all well and good, but I often (or always) cannot remember exactly which Spades are left outstanding even when I know that one of the opps has all 3 of the ones that I don’t have. So how do I know what to do?”

Well, the safe thing to do is to never lead the Ace, but to lead your lowest card!

Say that you have the Ace, 10, and 4, and that the opp has the King, 9, and 5.

If you lead the Ace… you lose! If you lead the 10… you lose! If you lead the 4… you win!!

Even though it may seem counterintuitive, the way to win is by leading your lowest Spade!

When it is rockem–sockem robot time, with just you and an opp left with 3 Spades and you need 2 tricks, if you are not sure of what to do, lead your lowest Spade so that you can



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