~Defense: Surrounding Play


Surrounding Play


The surrounding play is a necessary part of all good defensive play.  See the example below.

                                                            North (Dummy)


                               West                                          East

                                K76                                           QT83




You are east and decide to lead this suit.  When your suit contains a broken interior sequence, in this case the T8, and dummy holds the “filler”, in this case the 9, your holding “surrounds” dummies holding; hence the name.


If you lead a low card, declarer plays low and partner must win the K.  Now your Q can be finessed and declarer loses only one trick.  If you held QT98, you would of course lead the ten. Well, whenever you hold a broken sequence that surrounds dummies card, assume that you hold dummies card and make the appropriate lead, in this case the ten.


If declarer plays low, your ten wins.  If declarer covers with the J, partner wins the K and continues with the 7 (top of remaining doubleton).  Your Q8 surrounds dummies 96 and declarer is held to one trick. 


Example Two:

                                                            North (Dummy)


                                   West                                              East

                                    K76                                              AJ93




East is on lead, the J9 surrounds dummies T, so east puts the T in their hand and leads the appropriate J.  Declarer covers with the Q and partner’s K wins.  The 7 is returned and your A9 surrounds dummies T6.  Declarer now takes no tricks in the suit.


                                                     Bottom Line


When you decide to lead a suit that has an interior sequence that surrounds dummies card, put dummies card in YOUR hand and then lead the appropriate card.

7 Responses to “~Defense: Surrounding Play”

  1. YukonTwin Says:

    Hey, learn the possessive! The word is “dummy’s”, not dummies

    • bridgetips Says:

      I’ll correct the typo.

    • bridgetips Says:

      Thanks! I made the corrections. I am just a club player who does not type. I have prepared these articles either over the years while studying bridge for myself or for my students to use. I correct the typos as I discover them or as someone like yourself point them out.

  2. Learner Says:

    What a nit picker. Bet he is fun at parties. Language is our tool, not our master.

    What if West is on lead and has the cards surrounding dummies (!) card? Does the surrounding play still apply?

    • bridgetips Says:

      The Surrounding Play is generally when the dummy is to your right. If the dummy is to your left, you just make the best lead considering the cards in dummy, the bidding, whether partner has given you a lead signal, etc.

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  4. Marcene Tarbox Says:

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