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PLAY and DEFENCE for Improving Players

And the Danger is…..?

Often the danger that can await you on a board may not be apparent as it can arise from a card or series of cards held by the declarer. On the following deal, the defender should have been aware of the danger as it stared at him from the cards he could see, in the dummy. Are you awake to the danger?

Board 17
North Deals
None Vul
   
J 7 3 2
10 4
K Q 3
K 10 8 2
 
N
W   E
S
   
 
K 10 8 6
J 9 5 3
A 10
J 6 3
West North East South
You     Dummy
  1  Pass 1 
Pass 2 NT Pass 3 
Pass 3  Pass 3 NT
All pass      

 

North showed a balanced 18-19 (2NT) and then three spades but not four hearts in response to his partner’s check-back enquiry (3Club-small).

Your partner, East, led Club-small4 and when declarer played low from dummy, you inserted the Club-small10, won by declarer’s ace. It looked like your partner held the Club-smallQ, a good start for the defence.

Declarer played Heart-smallAK and a third heart which your partner won with the Heart-smallQ. You had a slight discarding issue but decided on the Diamond-small3. (Your partner may have led from a three card club suit.) They continued with a small club to your king. You continued with your Club-small8 to partner’s 9 with the Club-smallQ taking the next trick as the declarer threw low diamonds from both hands. Your partner next led Diamond-small8 to dummy’s ace and your Diamond-smallQ.

All seemed fine until declarer called for dummy’s Heart-smallJ. What do you discard from

Spade-small J732 and Diamond-small K? The answer is that you should refuse to discard anything as you have subjected yourself to a squeeze. You should be throwing a low club…but you played that card a few tricks earlier!

Our West chose a spade but the declarer took the rest of the tricks as these were the four hands:

Board 17
North Deals
None Vul
A Q 5
A K 8
J 9 6 5 2
A 5
J 7 3 2
10 4
K Q 3
K 10 8 2
 
N
W   E
S
 
9 4
Q 7 6 2
8 7 4
Q 9 7 4
 
K 10 8 6
J 9 5 3
A 10
J 6 3
West North East South
  1  Pass 1 
Pass 2 NT Pass 3 
Pass 3  Pass 3 NT
All pass      

 

You had been staring at dummy for a few minutes and after the first three rounds of hearts, should have realised that when declarer won the lead with the Diamond-smallA, they would cash the high Heart-smallJ.

There were two ways you could have avoided this terrible squeeze. Firstly, on the third round of hearts, you could have thrown the Diamond-smallK, virtually pleading for partner to play diamonds not clubs. Then, you could throw the Diamond-small3 on the Heart-smallJ and all would be well with a diamond, three clubs and a spade for the defence.

Alternatively, throw the Diamond-small3 or a low club but when you gain the lead with the Club-smallK, do not play a third round of the suit. Play Diamond-smallK yourself so that on the Heart-smallJ, you can throw which of the little club or diamond you still held. Eventually, declarer plays three high spades and has to concede the last three tricks to the defence.

Some squeezes you cannot avoid. Others are hard to imagine when the important cards are not visible. However, when the danger is before your eyes, you should not be caught out as West was above.

Richard Solomon

 

 

 

 

 

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