Bridge Defense – What’s Going On? Article Eight



Dealer: W
Vul: E-W

North
J 3
9 5 4
A J 9 8 4
Q 7 3
 
    East
9 6 5
A J 10 3
♦ K Q 3
9 8 5
     
Lead: ♠7
Bidding:
 
WEST NORTH EAST SOUTH
 Pass Pass Pass 1NT
Pass 2NT Pass 3NT
Pass Pass Pass  
       

By Mike Lawrence

West leads the seven of spades, won by dummy’s jack. South goes to his hand with the ace of clubs and finesses the jack of diamonds to your queen. You return the nine of spades, which declarer wins with the ace.

West drops the queen of spades. What do you make of this?

Declarer continues with diamonds, leading the ten which loses to your king. What now?



Dealer: W
Vul: E-W
North
J 3
9 5 4
A J 9 8 4
Q 7 3
 
West
Q 10 8 7
K 8 7
♦ 7 6
10 6 4 2
  East
9 6 5
A J 10 3
K Q 3
9 8 5
  South
A K 4 2
Q 6 2
10 5 2
A K J
 
 
WEST NORTH EAST SOUTH
 Pass Pass Pass 1NT
Pass 2NT Pass 3NT
Pass Pass Pass  
       

This depends on what you think is happening. You can see three diamond tricks for declarer. You know about three spade tricks because of West’s thoughtful queen of spades play. It denied the king, so declarer has it.

West’s spades must be Q1087 to account for his fourth best lead of the seven. Declarer is likely to have the AK of clubs. It would be strange for declarer to enter his hand with the ace of clubs if he didn’t have the king.

You should switch to the jack of hearts, hoping partner has the king and declarer the queen. This is a fair chance because partner can have five points. (South has announced 17, North has 8, and you have 10, leaving West with five.)

The key to the defense was West’s “information” signal of the queen of spades. It told East that the spades were not good yet and allowed East to proceed however he felt best. East was able to count declarer’s tricks and came to the conclusion there was not time to set up the spades. Hearts were the only hope for the defense and East tried them. This time, the defense had a happy ending. If West had routinely followed suit with the eight of spades East could be forgiven for leading a third spade instead of switching to hearts. West COULD have started with the K1087 of spades. Very few defenders would have thought of West’s play, but it makes sense if you think of it.

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