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Full Version: Ducking declarer's trump exit, pt. 3 -- PARTNER
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This is the simplest situation.

You should generally duck when you *know* partner will be in.  That is:  he's shown a trump ace, and you have the other two, with at least 4 trumps in your hand.  Note that even if partner has a run, he's behind the declarer.  His trump 10 is down-valued unless he melded extra length.

And even if you have AAK, it can be worthwhile to duck.  What else are you going to do?  You could try cashing side aces, and look for a signal.  It could happen;  it often won't.  If partner can't signal, then what?  Do you cash your second trump ace, then cross to your partner?  That saves the trick, but probably blows the defensive trump holding sky high.  If you want to shoot for deception, too, I think it's better to do it *early*...duck the first round.

Your hand shape may say to NOT duck, even tho you know you'll reach partner.  If you started with Ax in a side suit, and declarer has not dropped your ace, then it's hanging and you probably need to cash it.  (BUT:  be wary that this might be declarer's secondary suit.)  If you started with Axx, AND declarer cashed *1* ace, you're better off cashing it.  (Note that cashing an ace in this suit, reduces the risk that he's sandbagging the suit.  Note that it may also be right to win the first trick and cash the A from Axx.  Finally, if you have a *long* suit...here, I'm thinking 8 long...with 1 or 2 aces, you have to think about grabbing them while you can.

Final point here:  the duck is more attractive when partner's shown aces, rather than a run.  

The second case is when you don't know you can reach partner...but you sure hope to.  Say South opens 50;  North gives;  and South takes it.  No competition from E/W.  South names spades.  You sit West with


South cashes 1 ace each in 2 of the side suits...it doesn't really matter which...then exits with  the trump Q.  Look at the defense if you win your ace here.  Cash the club/diamond aces?  OK, fine...but what are the odds of a signal from partner?  Not great;  even if declarer cashed one, it's only 25% that he has the other 2.  And then what...a trump exit?  If partner couldn't signal in the minors, that's by far the best chance to reach him.

Well, if that's so, I'd rather try for it on the *first* round of trump.  My minor suit aces aren't at that big a risk.  Plus, if dummy gets in, that may work out OK too...the defense can focus on stripping trump and forcing declarer ruffs.  And ATJJ of trumps, behind declarer, can be a hassle for him if he has only 4 hearts.

So, the keys:

a)  Your hand is fairly weak.
b)  Your aces are fairly safe.
c)  You shouldn't usually lose your trump ace.  (Trying this with AKxx or AAKx is plausible but obviously a bit more risky, to QUITE a bit more risky in the latter case.)  Trying to promote an extra trump trick is helpful, but not required.