Control Maintenance

Once the contract has been determined and the declarer has been established, the declarer must form a strategy to prevent a defender from acquiring the mastery of a particular suit. For example, if the contract is No Trump, then the Hold-Up Play is the strategy to follow. If the contract is such that a particular suit has been named, control maintenance normally refers to the struggle against a defender holding trump strength.

The following example was presented by Mr. Terence Reese in his book Reese On Play.




South is the declarer. The contract is 4 Spades. West is on lead, and leads the Queen of Hearts. If South decides to pull trump in this example, the 4-2 split will cause the contract to fail. The correct play is to draw 2 rounds of trump, and then clear the Diamond suit.

West wins the first Diamond play with the Ace of Diamonds, and plays the Jack of Hearts. South does not trump, but discards a losing Club from his hand. Any continuation of a Heart lead by West can be trumped either in dummy, which is a better strategy, or in the hand of the declarer.

The declarer applies two different strategies to insure that he maintains control. The first strategy is to clear the Diamond suit before drawing trumps, and the other strategy is to refuse to ruff the second Heart.



If you wish to include this feature, or any other feature, of the game of bridge in your partnership agreement, then please make certain that the concept is understood by both partners. Be aware whether or not the feature is alertable or not and whether an announcement should or must be made. Check with the governing body and/or the bridge district and/or the bridge unit prior to the game to establish the guidelines applied. Please include the particular feature on your convention card in order that your opponents are also aware of this feature during the bidding process, since this information must be made known to them according to the Laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge. We do not always include the procedure regarding Alerts and/or Announcements, since these regulations are changed and revised during time by the governing body. It is our intention only to present the information as concisely and as accurately as possible.