Audrey Grant has landed a grand slam with her pamphlet Five Trips to Simplify Entries: The Importance of the Link Card ($11.95, www.baronbarclay.com).

How often have you failed to make your bid and found yourself thinking, “There must have been a way”? The culprit may be the inability to reach tricks in hand or in the dummy.

Here’s where the link — a low or high card that acts as an entry to winners — comes to life. A case in point, with South dealing:

                       NORTH
                      ♠️ 9 5
                      ♥️ A K J 9 4
                      ♦️ K J 9 5
                      ♣️ 9 4


WEST                                 EAST
♠️ K Q J 8 6                     ♠️ 10 3 2
♥️ 8 7 6                            ♥️ Q 10 5 3 2
♦️ A 7                              ♦️ Q 10 2
♣️ 7 6 2                            ♣️ 8 3


                     SOUTH
                   ♠️ A 7 4
                   ♥️ —
                   ♦️ 8 6 4 3
                   ♣️ A K Q J 10 5


The bidding proceeded as follows:

West     North     East     South
                                       1♣️
1♠️     2♥️       Pass      3♣️
Pass     3♦️       Pass      3NT

Opening lead: ♠️K

As always in a NoTrump contract, declarers should count their sure tricks: six clubs and one spade. How to reach those heart winners on the board?

The answer is by using that little ♣️5 as a link card. Once declarer wins the spade ♠️A, play the ♣️5 to the ♣️9. Now you can win the ♥️A-K before cashing the club winners for nine tricks.


“Tip # 1:Recognize a low card as an entry by keeping a lower-ranking link card,” the Hall-of-Fame bridge teacher writes.”

A high card may have the same function, as this deal illustrates with South dealing:

                     NORTH
                    ♠️ 6 5 3
                    ♥️ Q 10 7 2
                    ♦️ Q 8 4
                    ♣️ A 9 5


WEST                              EAST
♠️ 2                                ♠️ K 9 4
♥️ 8 4 3                         ♥️ K J 9 5
♦️ K 9 6 3 2                  ♦️ 10 7 5
♣️ Q J 10 4                   ♣️ 7 6 2


                  SOUTH
                 ♠️ A Q J 10 8 7
                ♥️ A 6
                ♦️ A J
                ♣️ K 8 3

The bidding proceeded as follows:


West     North     East     South
                                       1♠️
Pass     2♠️       Pass      4♠️

All Pass
Opening lead: ♣️Q

You can see possible losers in each suit. A finesse might work to eliminate one, but there’s a surer way. Can you see it?

As implausible as it seems, deliberately lose a trick. After winning the opening lead with the ♣️K (important), unblock the ♦️A, then play the ♦️J as a link card! 

By preserving the ♣️A as the only entry to the board, declarer can use it to win a trick and cash the ♦️Q, while discarding a club. Now there are no more club losers, and the contract comes home.

In the absence of club play this summer, consider trying www.bridgebase.com and www.okbridge.com.