One of my favourite Bridge proverbs is ‘Play the card you’re known to hold’. It doesn’t mean we should blithely give away cheap tricks, but when our cards are equal, we should follow with the one that everyone knows we have anyway. Applied correctly, this technique will make you much harder to play against, and there are virtually hundreds of situations where it applies. Most of the time the gain will be small — just creating some uncertainty for the other side, and giving them more of a guess — but occasionally the swings can be gigantic:
As we can see, there was no holding back in the bidding — from either side.
The play didn’t take long either; South won the Spade lead, went to dummy and ran the ♣9. When that held, he followed with the eight — East again playing low — and the ten won. With 11 tricks now in sight, South cashed his winners in Spades and Diamonds and threw East in with three rounds of Hearts to lead away from K, J of Clubs.
Applause all round; bold bidding, sharp play and a big swing for N/S. But is that the end of the story?
After the first round of Clubs, East is marked with the Jack. What he should have done is follow with that card on the second round. Now South has to guess whether he should go for the endplay or simply lay down the Ace and play East for KJx.
Would he have got it right? We will never know.