Bridge World Extra! Newsletter

KANTAR FOR THE DEFENSE

Edwin B. Kantar

Playing in a high-stake rubber-bridge game, you cut your favorite partner. North is the weak sister in the game, and the other two players perform almost as well as you.

Rubber bridge
South dealer
Both sides vulnerable

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





SOUTH WEST NORTH EAST
1 S Pass 3 S* Pass
6 S Pass Pass Pass
*forcing

Opening lead: Club jack

Declarer reels off three rounds of clubs, discarding the heart jack on the third round; partner plays his clubs up the line. At trick four, the spade queen is run to your king.

What do you lead to trick five?

Solution below.

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

Declarer either has the hand you see, in which case you must shift to a diamond, or holds something like:

S A J x x x x H J D A Q J x C A x

in which case a diamond return would be disastrous. How can you tell?

Whenever declarer can have either of two possible hands, it pays to look carefully at partner's carding. Perhaps he is trying to tell you something. In this case, East certainly could have played his clubs differently if he had the heart ace. His actual sequence of plays suggests diamond strength. If you trust your favorite partner, you will shift to a diamond. This deal should remind us how important it is for a defender with strength in only one suit to try to alert partner through plays from known worthless cards in other suits. If declarer won the first trick in dummy and took a spade finesse, as many declarers would, West would need to depend on the club East played at trick one for guidance.








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