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Bridge World Extra! Newsletter

KANTAR FOR THE DEFENSE

by Edwin B. Kantar

You have survived phase one of the Grand National teams (nearly everyone does). You are now playing in phase two. Will you make it to phase three? Not if you blow this defense.

IMPs
North Dealer
East-West vulnerable

NORTH (dummy)
S 7 4 3
H Q J 6 5
D K 10 5 2
C A 7




EAST (you)
S A K J 8 6
H 3
D Q 8 7 6
C Q 9 4
SOUTHWESTNORTHEAST
----Pass1 S
2 H2 S4 H(All Pass)

Opening lead: Spade deuce (lowest from an odd number)

You win with the spade king, declarer following with the five.

Now what?

Solution below.

NORTH
S 7 4 3
H Q J 6 5
D K 10 5 2
C A 7
WEST
S Q 10 2
H 7 4
D J 4
C K J 8 6 3 2
EAST
S A K J 8 6
H 3
D Q 8 7 6
C Q 9 4
SOUTH
S 9 5
H A K 10 9 8 2
D A 9 3
C 10 5

There is a strong likelihood that declarer has the diamond ace. If so, your side may be subjected to a throw-in play in clubs for a forced diamond return. On the actual lie of the cards, if you continue spades, declarer will ruff the third spade, draw trumps, and exit with ace and another club. Your side must break diamonds; if declarer plays for split honors, he prevails.

You can avoid this pitfall if you shift to a club at trick two. Your side retains spade exits in case you are thrown in with a club. Declarer must attack diamonds all by his lonesome, something he is loath to do.

The club switch is unlikely to lose. For example, if South has:

S Q 9 H A K 10 9 8 2 D J 3 C K J 10

your club shift gets you endplayed in spades, allowing declarer to avoid the diamond guess. However, declarer was going to guess right anyway (partner has a very weak raise even with his ace of diamonds). Not cashing the second spade could lose if South's hand is:

S 9 5 H A K 10 9 8 2 D J 9 4 3 C K

That is unlikely to have been dealt (West has seven clubs), and both South (who has a yucchy overcall) and West (who has a Master Solvers' Club problem) might have bid differently. If South has:

S Q 9 H A 10 9 8 x x D x C K J 10 x

he probably wouldn't have overcalled, and he hasn't made his contract even after your club shift (he must decide to give up the heart finesse and hope for the club queen to drop tripleton).

SWISS MATCH


This is the sixth board of a seven-board Swiss match.

IMPs
South dealer
North-south vulnerable

NORTH (dummy)
S 10 7 4
H Q 9
D 3 2
C Q J 10 8 7 4
WEST (you)
S K 8 3
H A J 7 4 2
D A Q
C 6 5 2





SOUTHWESTNORTHEAST
2 NT*Pass3 NT(All Pass)
*20-21

Heart four, nine, three, six.

How do you interpret partner's heart three?

There is no universal understanding, but most expert partnerships agree that when dummy wins the first trick with a low enough card at notrump (jack or lower is a common agreement), third hand gives count. It is likely that East intends his heart three to show an odd number of hearts.

Spade four, deuce, queen, ?

Plan your defense.

Solution below.

NORTH
S 10 7 4
H Q 9
D 3 2
C Q J 10 8 7 4
WEST
S K 8 3
H A J 7 4 2
D A Q
C 6 5 2
EAST
S 9 6 2
H 8 5 3
D J 7 6 5 4
C 9 3
SOUTH
S A Q J 5
H K 10 6
D K 10 9 8
C A K

The bidding marks declarer with the ace-king of clubs, so he has at least nine tricks if he has a low club to go with them. Assume he doesn't. Then dummy may have no entry to the long clubs.

What's happening in spades? If partner has jack-doubleton or three low, it is essential for you to duck this trick, to deny dummy a late entry to the clubs. If East has three to the jack (or, wildly unlikely but possible, five to the jack), you may lose a trick by letting the queen of spades hold--but the contract won't be made, and that's the most important thing.

Even after you are past that hurdle, the rest is not necessarily easy. If declarer unblocks clubs and tries the spade jack, you must let him win that also (he gets four spades, two hearts and two clubs--but no diamonds, because you have time to establish and to run hearts first). Tougher is if he unblocks clubs and plays a low spade. With the cards as shown in the diagram, you must hop up with the king. But what if declarer started with five spades to the ace-queen? Unlikely that would be dealt and that the play would go that way? Maybe.








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