Conceal the queen of trumps

Sally Brock ( England )

Sally Brock is one of UK's leading players and writers. Currently she is bridge correspondent of the Sunday Times. Her  high spots were winning the Venice Cup in 1981 and 1985, She has won  three Gold Cups. She now works  from home as a writer/editor/typesetter of many bridge and non-bridge publications.


ONE aspect of the game that distinguishes the expert from the average player is in the area of deceptive play. The expert is always looking for ways to induce an opponent to make an error or to save himself from having to make a guess.

In the area of declarer play, one way to do this is to persuade the defenders that they have established more defensive tricks for their side than is actually the case. The trump suit offers an excellent opportunity for a number of deceptive plays, one of which deserves more attention than it has previously been given.

Suppose your trump suit is:








Imagine that you are in a fair contract which has various chances, but no clearcut route to success. If you play trumps by cashing the ace, leading low to the king and (assuming one hand shows out) leaving the remaining trump outstanding, the relevant defender may well assume that his partner has the queen. Then, at a later stage, he may try to cash his side's 'other' winners rather than defend with more subtlety hopefully to your advantage.

THE following hand occurred in an international match between England and Scotland :

  South Dealer Q    


N-S Game

 5 4





 A 8 7 6 4 3





 Q 6 5 4









K 9 7 2     A 8 6 5 4

 K 9 8 2


W                          E

 J 10 6 3

 5 2




 10 9 8



 7 3 2









J 10 3





 A Q 7





 K Q J 10





 A K J
































1 asking for a 5-card major

2 denial

In the absence of a major-suit lead, the slam appears to depend on the heart finesse, so when West leads the ten of clubs you must ask yourself: are there any extra chances?

The spade honours are almost certainly divided since East did not double the Four Spade cue-bid and West did not lead a top spade at trick one.

If East can be persuaded to play his spade honour when declarer first plays the suit, it would then be possible to take a ruffing finesse against West.

A spade towards dummy's queen is likely to result in West playing his honour whichever it is. However, if East has the ace of spades it may be difficult for him to duck particularly if he can be persuaded that the ace of spades may be the setting trick.

So ... win the club lead, cash the king of diamonds and play the jack of diamonds to the ace. Now play the queen of spades. From East's viewpoint you may easily hold something like:



A K x

K J 10


 ♣ A K J


when it would be essential for him to take his ace.

One word of warning: it would be extremely unethical and completely against the rules of the game to look disappointed or annoyed when West shows out on the second round of trumps.

My BOLS bridge tip is this:  Conceal the queen of trumps the defenders may think they have it.