Another Defensive Thought



Dealer: W
Vul: All


 
    East
10 8 6 5 4
Q J 7 6 2
8 7 5

   South
K 9 2
A 4
Q 6 3 2
Q 10 9 8
 
Lead: A
Bidding:
 
WEST NORTH EAST SOUTH
 1 3  4 Pass
6 Pass Pass Pass
       
       

By Mike Lawrence

Some plays are automatic. Does that make them right?

North leads the ace of diamonds, ruffed by West. West starts trumps by leading the ten to dummy’s queen. You, South, win the ace and return a diamond.

Or do you?

If you agree with the safe diamond return, go ahead and read on. If you don’t like it, then what do you like?

Here is what happens if you return the automatic diamond.

West ruffs. He goes to dummy with a trump, and ruffs another diamond. West now plays the ace and king of clubs and ruffs a club in dummy. Inevitably come the last three hearts.

You want to know what your partner played on the clubs, don’t you? He played the two, three, and five.

This doesn’t tell you what you want to know so I will show you what you want to know. I will show you all four hands. Here they are.



Dealer: E
Vul: All
North
J
8
A K J 10 9 4
7 6 5 3 2
 
West
A Q 7 3
K 10 9 5 3

A K J 4
  East
10 8 6 5 4
Q J 7 6 2
8 7 5

  South
K 9 2
A 4
Q 6 3 2
Q 10 9 8
 
 
WEST NORTH EAST SOUTH
1 3 4 Pass
6 Pass Pass Pass
       
       

By the time the last heart comes at you, you will have to come down to three cards. This is unfortunate because you need to keep one club to stop declarer’s jack from scoring and you need to keep three spades. That is one more card than you are allowed to keep. According to your discard, West takes a spade finesse and wins the thirteenth trick with the jack of clubs or the seven of spades.

This is sad, but it is preventable. If South returns a trump, or even a spade, West won’t be able to ruff three diamonds in his hand and still be able to squeeze you. Only if you return the automatic diamond (or a club) can West come to twelve tricks.

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