Book a Course

View all the latest courses going on at the bridge club and book yours now...
View Courses View Playing Schedule

Scoring Trumps “en passant”

♠ -
   A Q
♥ -

Spades are trumps. You cannot score a trick with your  K if you are on lead. But if dummy is leading, you can score your  K “en passant”, by leading either card. If East ruffs with  Q, you overruff with  K; and if East ruffs with  A. you discard, and  K is promoted.

South Deals
None Vul
9 2
6 5 3 2
A K 3 2
7 4 2
J 8
Q 10 9 7
K Q J 9 6 3
W   E
Q 10 7 6 5
Q 9 8 7
J 8 5
A K 4 3
A K 10 4
6 4
A 10 5
East South West North
  1  2  2 
Pass 2 NT1 Pass 4 2
Pass Pass Pass  
  1. In case North has raised with three cards.
  2. Marginal, but he does have an ace-king
    and a ruffing value (in spades).
4  by North

What happened
Declarer won  K lead with  A (West’s overcall made it likely East’s  8 was singleton). He then cashed the  A, felling West’s  J, and followed with  K (hoping for West to have  QJ, his only chance of avoiding a trump loser).
West discarded on the second trump, and now declarer cashed  AK, trumped a spade (West discarding), and led a trump towards  10. East took  Q, then led  Q10. Declarer could only score  10 and  AK - down one.

What should have happened
Even after cashing two top trumps, declarer can make not only his contract, but also an overtrick. It’s all about scoring his trumps:
Win  A, cash  AK, then follow with  AK and ruff a third spade. Cash  AK, ruff a third diamond, then ruff a fourth spade with dummy’s last trump. Here is the three-card ending with the lead, crucially, in dummy:

7 4
W   E
Q 9
10 5


 3 lead ensured a trick, an almost unbelievable 11th, for  10. Both defenders (in a sense) won the last two tricks. Game made plus one.

If you remember one thing...
Scoring trumps “en passant”.

ARBC: 31 Parsons Green Lane, London SW6 4HH
Call NOW: 0207 471 4626