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Contract Bridge
LESSON 17
The Duck and the Throw In

  1. The Duck
  2. Duck to preserve an Entry
  3. Duck to maintain Trump Control
  4. Duck to drop and Honour
  5. Duck to develop an extra trick in a Suit
  6. The Throw In using a side suit loser
  7. Deals 57 to 60
  8. Quiz - Answers - Review



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BR 17.1 - The Duck

A "duck" is when you lead a low card from one hand and deliberately also play a low card in the other hand, instead of a high card in that hand which might have won the trick. You are therefore deliberately giving the lead to the Opponents.
You use the duck technique for a variety of purposes, the most important ones being :

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  1. to preserve an entry to a long suit, usually in Dummy

  2. to maintain Trump Control

  3. to drop an Honour card of the Opponents

  4. to develop an extra trick in a suit



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BR 17.2 - Duck to Preserve an Entry

Dummy holds six Clubs headed by Ace and King, but no other entries to his hand.
You (the Declarer) hold two Clubs, and therefore the Opponents have five. If these split 4-1 Dummy will never make more than the 2 tricks (A and K). But if they split 3-2 (as they do 65% of the time) Dummy can take 5 tricks.

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Of the first three tricks Dummy will only win two and the Opponents one. Therefore, rather than playing A and K on the first two tricks, duck the first trick forcing the Opponents to win first.

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Next time you regain the lead you have one Club left to lead to Dummy's Ace and King which will draw the Opponents remaining Clubs. Dummy then continues to cash in his remaining three winners.


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BR 17.3 - Duck to Maintain Trump Control

We have looked at this already once in Lesson 12.
When you hold a trump suit with the Ace as its only Honour card, you should avoid drawing three rounds of trumps. There is in most cases no point in wasting two of your trumps by drawing an enemy trump which is a winner anyway.

Therefore, when drawing trumps in such situation, lead a small trump and duck in the other hand for the first trick.

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When you regain the lead draw a second round of trumps winning with the Ace.

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This leaves the winning trump Queen stranded in Opponent's hand, while you have 4 trumps left with which you can ruff and control the Game.

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Try to avoid giving the lead to North, other than by an over ruff with his Queen, as he would draw trumps himself of course immediately. In most cases you get at least one extra winning trump trick, thanks to the duck early on in the game.


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BR 17.4 - Duck to drop Opponent's Honour

Here we have a trump fit with the King and Queen as the only Honours and in opposite hands.
When drawing trumps first lead a small card from one hand to to the Honour card in the opposite hand. In the example below Declarer plays a low card to Dummy's Queen.

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If the Queen wins it is obvious that North is the one holding the trump Ace. The Opponents also hold the Jack and 10, so there is absolutely no basis for a second finesse.

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Therefore Dummy leads a small trump and Declarer ducks, hoping North's trump holding is an doubleton Ace. This is his only chance to win two of the three trump drawing tricks.
Declarer must resist covering South's Jack with his King as it serves no purpose. If he does the Ace will capture the King, and Opponent's 10 will win the third trick.

If North's trump Ace does drop on the second trick, Declarer ( after regaining the lead) can draw the last remaining enemy trump with his King.


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BR 17.5 - Duck to Develop an extra trick in a Suit

You are in a No Trump contract and hold seven Diamonds headed by the Ace and King, and divided 4-3. If the Opponent's Diamonds break 3-3 you can make three tricks in this suit.
However if you play the Ace and King on the first two rounds, and on leading for the third time you find Opponents' Diamonds break 4-2 instead, they will immediately win two Diamond tricks.

It is once again all about timing and about keeping control. Of the first three rounds in Diamonds you will win two tricks and the Opponents always one.

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For the first trick lead a small Diamond and duck in Dummy. This forces the enemy to win the first trick at once.

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When you have regained the lead, play Dummy's Ace and King of Diamonds. If the Opponents Diamonds do break 3-3 you can immediately cash your third Diamond trick. But if they break 4-2 instead, you can stop after playing the Ace and King and still maintain the lead.
The Opponent holding the 4th Diamond will now only make that trick if he gains the lead through an other suit.


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BR 17.6 - The Throw In using a Side suit loser

In a throw in play you lead a sure loser, forcing the opponets to win the trick and lead to the next trick. You usually do this in an end play where all the enemy lead options will provide you with an extra trick.
A throw in is, you might say, a duck in reverse.

  • In a duck you play your loser(s) in a suit first and then play your winners.

  • In a throw in you play your sure winners in the suit first (if you have any) and then at the end play your losing card.

  • But both plays have in common that they deliberately give the lead away to the Opponents.
The throw in and end play technique is especially useful in trump contracts where Opponents usually are forced to give you either a free finesse or a ruff and discard ("ruff and sluff").
The end play consists of two phases :
  1. Stripping all the cards from your safe side suits, and then

  2. throw in the Opponents by leading one of your sure losers

In the Deal shown below you are in a 4S contract, but can count 4 possible losers. One in Hearts and three in Clubs.
If you start leading the Clubs yourself you are most likely to lose all three tricks, but if the Opponents lead it instead, one trick for you is assured no matter what.

Declarer
- Q 10 7 4
- A 3
- Q J 7 6
- J 8 4
Dummy
- A K J 9
- 9 5
- A K 8 4
- Q 7 3

Declarer wins the Heart King opening lead with his Ace, then plays three rounds of Spades, drawing all the enemy trumps.

Declarer
- Q
- 3
- Q J 7 6
- J 8 4
Dummy
- 9
- 5
- A K 8 4
- Q 7 3

Declarer then proceeds to strip his safe Diamond side suit, by cashing his four Diamond winners.

Declarer
- Q
- 3 (follow suit)

-
- J 8 4
Dummy
- 9
- 5 (lead)

-
- Q 7 3

The scene is now set for the throw in
The small Heart loser is lead (from either hand) playing low in both hands. This gives the lead to (no matter which) one of the Opponents.

Declarer
- Q
-
-
- J 8 4
Dummy
- 9
-
-
- Q 7 3

The Opponents now face a stark choice. They are end played.
  1. They can either lead another Heart (they have no Spades or Diamonds left), giving Declarer a ruff in one hand and a Club discard in the other (ruff and sluff).

  2. Or lead a Club. Declarer and Dummy must both play LOW to the first trick (assuming Opponents play their A or K), and one Club trick is assured.


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BR 17.7 - Deals 57 to 60

Deals 57 to 60 are examples of play as outlined in this lesson.


BR 17.8 - Quiz 17 - Answers - Review

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Copyright © 2006 Michael Furstner (Jazclass). All rights reserved.