Back to the main Spades page

 

 

  Spades Tips and Strategies

 

 

 

Spades Column of the Month - May 2003

 

 

 

By Joe Andrews, author of The Complete Win At Spades; copyright, 2001 by The U.S. Playing Card Company and Bonus Books, Inc.

 

 

 

The Play of the Hand: Discussion and Quiz
Previous columns have emphasized the importance of accurate bidding and defensive technique. An important part of any Spades player's arsenal is the ability to assess the hand after the bidding is over, and to proceed with a logical plan. Three factors that dictate the course of action for each hand are:

 

 

 

Let's look at four interesting hands:

Hand A:
You are sitting in the South seat and pick up this collection:

 

 

 

 

 

* A K
 A 10 5 3 2
 K Q
 10 6 5 2

 

 

 

 

The score, in a close game, is: East/West (the opponents): 449, and North/South (your side): 424. The bidding proceeds as follows:

 

 

 

 

West
2

North
1

East
4

South (you)
4

 

 

 

 

With a routine eleven bid on the table, you immediately note that E/W are threatening to win the game if they make their bid on the nose! However, there are two bags to disperse. Maybe your team can drop a bag on the opponents!

West opens with the deuce of diamonds, as partner plays the seven, and East inserts the Ace. He returns a diamond, and your King wins. You exit with the six of clubs, and West pops up with the Ace, and leads a third round of diamonds with the five. Partner, who was dealt the J, 10, 9 of diamonds, is winning this trick with his nine spot, as East drops the six. You are now void in diamonds. What is your best line of play, and why?

Hand B:
Once again, you are South. (FYI, it is much easier to lay out these columns in this fashion!) You gather up this collection:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 A K J
 K Q 10
 6 4 3 2
 K 6 2

 

 

 

 

It is another close game, and the score is N/S: 441 and E/W: 445. The bidding proceeds as follows:

 

 

 

 

West
3

North
2

East
3

South (you)
5

 

 

 

 

It does not require a degree in applied mathematics to realize that you must bid five in last position in order to try and win the game. Your hand certainly has the values, barring absolutely horrible placement of high cards.

West opens with the King of diamonds, with all following, low. Next comes the Ace of dimes, which also "walks". Finally, West tries the Queen of dimes, and partner trumps with the EIGHT of spades, as East drops the diamond Jack. Partner now leads the Jack of clubs. East hesitates for a few seconds, and plays a low club. What is your best line of play and why?

Hand C:
Here is the third hand. Yes, you are South. Your deal:

 

 

 

It is a new game, first hand. The bidding is as follows:

 

 

 

 

West
3

North
2

East
2

South (you)
6

 

 

 

 

Normally, a bid by the last seat player that pushes the total to thirteen is very risky. Here, you have the "Classic" 5-5 power hand: five good trump, and a powerful five card side suit. The lack of a void is immaterial. West takes the A-K of clubs, with everyone following. Now he tries the King of hearts (from K-Q). When partner plays low, and East signals with Jack, it is obvious that the heart suit strength is divided between East and West. West plows on with the Queen of hearts, as partner plays the seven, and East drops the three. What is your next move, and game plan?

Hand D:
We wrap it up for the month with the last hand. As usual, you are South. You gather up this group of cards:

 

 

 

 

 

 Q J 9 8
 A K 3 2
 10 9 7 4 3
 VOID

 

 

 

It is the middle of a game, with the score tied at 252 each. The bidding is as follows:

 

 

 

 

West
2

North
3

East
3

South (you)
4

 

 

 

 

Your four is a stretch; however, your spade values are decent, and two club ruffs are not out of the question. If partner has the A-K of clubs, you will then rely on scoring two "natural" trump tricks. And with a 12 bid on the table, a set of the ops is always worth the effort.

West leads a low diamond, as your partner tries the eight, and East wins with the Queen. Now East tries the King of dimes, and it, too walks, as your partner drops the Jack. (A hi-low signal might have been better.) It does not matter. East shifts to the ten of clubs. What is your plan?

Please send your solutions to each question to: heartsmoon@aol.com

The first three responses with the correct answers to all four questions will receive Spades Software, and two new decks of Bicycle Brand playing cards!