Illustrated Hungarian Tarokk: Example Deal 7

contributed by Révész Gábor

Cue bid; king ultimó made with kontra



1Cue bid showing the XIX

Card distribution after the exchange

The discard

A: I, III, IIII, XII, XV, XX, heartC, K, spade10club10, diamondC
B: V, VI, X, XI, XIII, XIX, skíz, spadeJ, KclubJ, diamondJ
C: VII, XIV, XVI, clubQ, K, diamondA, Q, K, heartAspadeC
D: II, VIII, IX, XVII, XVIII, XXI, clubC, heartJ, QspadeQ (declarer)


    D: Hívom a XIX-est, trull, négykirály, passz(I call the XIX, trull, four kings, pass)
    A: Passz(Pass)
    B: Pikkkirály-ultimó, passz(King of spades ultimó, pass)
    C, D: Passz(Pass)
    A: Kontra négykirály és ultimó, passz(Kontra the four kings and the ultimó, pass)
    B, C, D: Passz(Pass)

The play



  1. According to convention, the four kings announcement should an encouragement showing the highest unknown tarokk which is not an honour. In this case four kings ought to have shown the XX. D said four kings without the XX. Why? He thought he should indicate his strong hand in some way. Given that the bid was one, it was out of the question to announce double game solely as an encouragement, because losing this announcement would be too expensive. Fortunately D was able to announce four kings without risk: even though D's partner should assume that D has the XX, he will certainly not say centrum sitting opposite D, as from his point of view the XVIII and the XVII could be missing.
  2. The encouragement was timely: B was able to announce king ultimó. But this ulti seemed to have been born under an unlucky star: the tarokks were distributed 6 to 3 between the opponents. A, who was long in tarokks, not only had the opening lead, but he also possessed the XX and a further advantage - a spade. The kontra seemed reasonable.
  3. A's argument was this: if he leads a heart, then he has a guaranteed trick with the XX so he can then lead a second heart. B should have two spades so eventually A's ten of spades will be taken out by B! As the game's progress showed, he had miscalculeted something: the XX got caught.
  4. A nice card problem: at what point did B win the game? Answer: in the first trick. After he had learnt from A's kontra that the ultimó would not be easy, he took a risk, and put a small tarokk in the first trick instead of a more usual high or middle tarokk. It can be checked that if B had played the XIX in the first trick, A would have taken a trick with the XX later, and the king ulti would have failed. Once again this is a good demonstration that a hand which can safely defeat an announcement silently will often not be good enough for a kontra, because the kontra informs the announcers who to play against.


Declarer's team makes volát!

      One with silent volát: 9 points
      Trull: 2 points
      Four kings made with kontra: 4 points
      King ultimó made with kontra: 30 points
      Total: 45 points


It is a common misconception that when playing against king ulti the opponents ought to lead the suit of the ulti. This is unreasonable, because, unless the announcing side expects to make volát, the announcer of the ulti will have another card of the ulti suit besides the king. The opponent does better to lead a different suit, leaving the announcer to play the suit of the king. The only situation in which it may be expedient to lead the suit of the ulti is when the opponent has two cards of that suit, and has a chance to get the lead again, thus driving out the king prematurely.

This page is maintained by John McLeod (   © John McLeod, 1998. Last updated: 16th October 1998

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