Virtually every hand you play deals with entries. Virtually every plan you make must take entries into account.
There many ways to create entries, some quite daring. The bottom line is to know how many entries you need and, equally important, how to secure them.
Once you decide which suit you are planning to establish, keep as many entries to that hand as possible. As a general rule, try to retain entries to the weaker hand.
1. Ducking tricks in long suit is a common entry-saving technique.
A K 4 3 2
7 6 5
At notrump with no side entries, duck once to try for four tricks. If you need only three tricks from the suit, duck twice. If this is a side suit in a trump contract, play the same way but draw trumps first.
2. At times you must duck a round of a suit before taking a finesse.
A Q 4 3 2
For four tricks lead low from dummy (in case East is the nervous type), then lead low to the queen, hoping to find that West started with king-x-x.
3. Unblocking from honor doubleton when dummy has no outside entry can be a neat way to create an entry, a finesse position and an extra trick.
North Q 10 9
West J 8 7 2
East A 6 5 4
South K 3
West leads low and East plays the ace. With no side dummy entry, unblock the king and later finesse to the 10. (West is marked with the jack from East’s play of the ace.)
4. With three cards in your hand including a high middle spot opposite four or more cards in dummy, one of which is the lower equalof your middle card, begin by leading the middle card from the three-card holding.
North K Q 9 2
West J 8 7 6 4
South A 10 5
Assume an entryless dummy and you need four tricks in the suit. Begin by leading the 10 to the king, then play low to your ace. You retain the option of either leading low to the queen or low to the 9. If you fail to unblock the 10, you will not be able to take four tricks even when you know that West has the jack.
5. This time the jack is the middle card.
North K 10 8 2
West Q 9 7 6
East 5 4
South A J 3
You need four tricks and dummy has no side entry. Begin with the jack. Assume West covers. Win the king and return to the ace. You now have the option of leading low to the 10 or low to the 8. A great player like you will get a count and make the winning play.
6. A common entry-saving technique is to duck one round of a suit when holding A-x-x-x-x (-x) facing a small doubleton. This ducking play saves an entry and can be used effectively at both suit and notrump contracts.
7. In order to create an extra dummy entry, you may have to win a trick with a higher card than necessary.
North K J 4
West Q 9 8 6 3
East 6 2
South A 10 5
West leads the 7 and you can win with the 10. However, if you need two dummy entries, win with the ace and later finesse the jack.
8. This is a tough one for greedy players who always want to win a trick the cheapest way possible.
North Q J 4
West K 8 7 3 2
East 9 5
South A 10 6
West leads low and you need a LATER entry to dummy. Win the first trick with the ace! If you win with a lesser card, later when you desperately need to get to dummy, you can’t!
9. You must be prepared to take seemingly unnecessary finesses if you need extra entries to one hand or the other.
A Q 10
If you need THREE dummy entries, lead the king to the ace and later low to the 10.