Tempo (bridge) - Examples

Examples

Example 1 A K Q J
x
x x x x
x x x x
x x x x

N

W E

S

x x x x
x x x x x x x x
A K Q J x
x A K Q J
x
A K Q J
x x x x
x x x x

In this extreme example, whoever leads first will take the first 8 tricks, regardless of the denomination. That means that neither side can make any contract, and every contract will fail by at least two tricks—the advantage of having on opening lead makes a three-trick difference.

Example 2
South in 4♠
J 10 7 5 4 2
J
A Q 3
J 7 6
K 6

N

W E

S

9
A K 8 4 7 6 5 3
8 5 2 K J 10 4
K 7 5 4 10 8 3 2
Lead: ♥A A Q 8 3
Q 10 9 2
9 7 6
A Q

Keeping initiative—gaining tempo—by not taking a finesse can be decisive to prevent the opponents from developing defensive tricks.

Against South's 4♠ west leads the ♥A (indicating the king) and continues with the ♦8. The opening lead, although natural, was unfortunate, as it gave the declarer a tempo to develop heart tricks for himself. However, it is now essential not to take the diamond finesse so as not to lose tempo. South must take the ♦A and play to the ♠A, again refraining from finessing. Now, the declarer can lead hearts for ruffing finesse and discard diamonds until West covers with the ♥K, then ruff and cross over to ♣A, again refusing to finesse. On the remaining hearts, all diamonds including the queen are discarded. In total, the declarer loses one trick in trumps, hearts and clubs each.

Note that a diamond opening lead sets the contract, as it doesn't give the tempo in hearts to the declarer: the declarer must lose a heart and two diamonds before he sets up the hearts for diamond discards; the trump king is the fourth trick for the defense.

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