On defense, when leading a suit, we follow certain conventions such as “top of a sequence” or “fourth best,” all the better to help partner figure out our holding in the suit. But, once in a while, we lie. Consider this deal:
Against 4 (spades) our partner leads the 2 (hearts), and we win the trick with the Ace. Have you figured out what partner’s holding in the Heart suit? Of course not, it’s impossible,;the lead makes no sense whatsoever!Partner’s Two is clearly non-standard; it cannot be fourth-best when he is known from the bidding to have at least a six-card suit. What’s he up to? He’s issuing a wake-up call, requesting us to think outside the box. He doesn’t want us routinely to continue Hearts; he has something else in mind. What could that be? No doubt he can ruff a minor suit! But which one? Surely not Clubs; that would give Declarer seven of them. Partner must be void in Diamonds!
North’s “alarm-clock lead,” as it is known, alerts us to the winning defense. A Diamond is ruffed at Trick 2, then a Club is returned to our Ace, after which there is a second ruff. Down one! Those alarm-clock leads won’t come up often, but they are great fun when they do!
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