Bridge Defense – What’s Going On? Article Nine



Dealer: W
Vul: None

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

* 2 = weak

By Mike Lawrence

West leads the queen of spades. You take your ace and return the three. South wins the king. At trick three declarer leads a club. You win your ace and return…….?

You can’t answer this question until you ask one of your own.

Which question is that?



Dealer: W
Vul: None
North
9 5 4
K Q J 10 8 7 2
Q
K Q
 
West
Q J 10 8 7 6
A 4
9 8
10 4 2
  East
A 3
9 5 3
6 4 3
A J 8 5 3
  South
K 2
6
A K J 10 7 5 2
9 7 6
 
 
WEST NORTH EAST SOUTH
  1 1 2
2 Pass Pass 4
Pass Pass Pass  
       

* 2 = weak

To know the right return now you need to know which spade partner played at trick two. I will tell you that he played the jack. This is a standard suit preference situation. It is not an information situation. You already know exactly what partner has in spades. His jack of spades is trying to tell you that his entry is in hearts. It looks strange to return a heart but partner told you to. Listen to him.

I have said that suit preference takes a secondary role in defence to other signals. They are an important part of good defense, though, as long as they are used without confusion. There are two or three common situations. This is one of them. West wants to tell East that he has a heart entry. As you can see, West has to get the message across right away. West doesnÕt have time to waste. This is an unusual hand in that declarer has a hidden seven card suit.

Normally, East could return a diamond or even a club and survive. But not this time. Better have your signals in order.

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