Bridge: How To Make ‘Entries’ And ‘Communication’ In The Game

Bridge: How To Make ‘Entries’ And ‘Communication’ In The Game

If you recall, a basic rule of card play is that the hand which has won previous trick, MUST start to the next trick (only the opening leader is predesignated after bidding ends & contract is reached)

Arvind VaidyaUpdated: Sunday, May 12, 2024, 12:47 PM IST
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One of the most vital facets of card play at bridge is Entries and Communication. Let us understand this aspect through this article. 

If you recall, a basic rule of card play is that the hand which has won previous trick, MUST start to the next trick (only the opening leader is predesignated after bidding ends & contract is reached). In the other words, whether it is a defender or a declarer, he cannot start next trick from a random hand even if he would love to! This basic rule makes entries & communication such an important element.

Let us see a few layouts as example:

1.                   West AQ - xx East  

 These are cards of you and your partner. You as west have won the previous trick. You want to finesse against the King in this suit but for that you need to play from East towards West and not from West towards East. Therefore, you need to get across to East hand and for that you need ‘ENTRY’ card to East hand. Now check the next layout

    West S AQ     S xx East

            H x        H A 

Please note the Heart Ace in East hand and a H card in west hand too. West plays Hx to his A, enters East hand and then executes his plan in spade suit by playing x card towards AQ, planning to play the Q when next player follows with a x card. In short, West gets entry to the East hand first.

2.         West AK      QJ10 East

           Here, EW are in for getting three tricks. A & K first and then Q on the 3rd round of this suit. But the problem is of lack of communication. After AK both are cashed, there is no third card to play to the Q! In other words, this suit is BLOCKED!!  What is the solution? An entry to East hand is badly needed       

West H AK      H QJT East

        D x        D A

Woah! West can cash H AK and then play Dx to the Ace. Now he is in East hand to enjoy a trick with H Q.

This example demonstrates the importance of overcoming the entry problem by playing your cards in right order.

3.  At times, a player needs to ‘Overcome Blockage’ by ‘Overtaking’, to counter entry problem

       West AQ       KJx East

Let us say that the East hand has no entry in any other suit and yet EW would like to make three tricks that are due here. West starts with the Ace, East playing x card. Next West plays Q and alertly covers Q with his own King. This puts the trick in East hand and thereby, East hand plays the Jack next. If West does not overtake Q with his K, the J will remain stranded in East hand as there is no other entry.

Because bridge is a partnership game and the cards from all four hands get played on each trick, the communication lines between you and your partner assume great importance. Entry or entries only can make this possible. Its not enough just to win tricks but also important is ‘to be in the right hand at the right time.'

Next time, I will introduce ‘Trumps’. That will make the learning even more interesting and fun filled. 

(The writer is a National Championships winner, advanced Life Master rank holder, and bridge teacher. You can reach out to him on arvindv22@gmail.com)

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