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PLAY and DEFENCE for Improving Players

AWAKE ON THE JOB

That’s part of what good defence is about. Staying awake. Staying alert. Where possible guiding your partner. With all that in mind, plan the defence as East. You did not have much for your bid but at least it’s an ace.This is what you see at trick one:

North Deals
E-W Vul
J 8 4
J 8 3
J 10 7
K Q J 3
   
N
W   E
S
 
5
9 6
A 6 5 4 3 2
10 8 7 4
West North East South
  Dummy You  
  Pass Pass 1 
Dbl 2  3  4 
Dbl All pass    

 

 Your partner leads the Diamond-smallK….

and are you like this?                                                               or like this?

eyes open.png                       asleep on the job.png

 What’s your plan?

When you see the full hand diagram, you will see that the contract is not hard to defeat though it is quite easy to let it make too. Unless your partner has stealthily acquired some trump tricks, they have quite a strong hand. If that is true, then either South is taking an advanced sacrifice against a diamond contract (hardly apparent to you) or else they are hoping to make 4Spade-small through good shape.

There is one thing you do know. Partner’s initial double, showing some length in diamonds, means you are not taking too many tricks in that suit. So?

Since your partner has, should have, had better have the Diamond-smallQ, it maybe time to look elsewhere for tricks. What about leading a heart through declarer? Say partner has AQxx? They did double 1Spade-small and should have four hearts. If that is the lay-out, then the lead must come from you. So, overtake and lead the Heart-small9, hoping for a ruff. That was not quite the lay-out but overtaking was still a very good idea:

North Deals
E-W Vul
J 8 4
J 8 3
J 10 7
K Q J 3
9 6
A K 10
K Q 8
A 9 6 5 2
 
N
W   E
S
 
5
9 6
A 6 5 4 3 2
10 8 7 4
 
A K Q 10 7 3 2
Q 7 5 4 2
9
West North East South
  Dummy You  
  Pass Pass 1 
Dbl 2  3  4 
Dbl All pass    

 

A lazy East would play low leaving West to do the right thing. We can all see that three rounds of hearts would now beat the contract. West should certainly switch to a heart though while still holding the Club-smallA, they might not see the need. You do. So, be alive to the task at trick one. Any card other than a high heart from West, if left on lead, will allow the contract to make. Had West's hearts been headed by the AQ, you just had to overtake. At least half the East-West pairs who defended 4Spade-small, sometimes doubled, did not defeat the contract. Sleeping on the job? Certainly. Not you, I hope.

Richard Solomon

 

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