~Planning the PLay

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Here is a great example of how to plan and execute the play of a bridge hand. Before playing to the opening lead by the defense, declarer should follow a checklist similar to this:
1. Review the enemy bidding, if any, to make an educated guess where the missing points and values are.
2. Evaluate the opening lead to see if it indicates where certain cards may be.
3. Count winners (NT contract) and determine potential lines of play to create needed tricks.
4. Count losers (suit contract) and determine potential lines of play to eliminate losers.
5. If you have to lose the lead (outstanding aces or finesses), determine how and when to lose the lead to keep the dangerous hand off lead.

In this hand, South opens 1NT, the opponents pass, and North bids 3NT, ending the bidding. West leads the four of spades. Plan your play.
North
S 97
H QJ5
D 732
C AJT95

South
S AQ2
H KT64
D AJT
C Q82
1. How many spades does West hold? East?
2. If you win the Q of spades at trick 1, what do you play?

Generally, when playing a NT contract, you attempt to create tricks as soon as possible in your longest suit.
3. When and how do you play the club suit?
4. When and how do you play the heart suit?

These are the questions you should be answering before you begin to play the hand.

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