Defense is the hardest part of the bridge game. It is half of your normal bridge game, so practice may make perfect — or so they say. How do you plan the defense after your partner leads the two of hearts, which drops the four, nine and three?
When you hold three low cards in a suit your partner has bid, lead low if you do not have support, but lead high if you have support.
If East cashes a second heart trick, he will know that his partner, not South, has the last heart. That makes it clear to switch to the five of diamonds at trick three, which defeats the contract.
If East is nervous that the lead is from a four-card suit, he can switch to the five of diamonds at trick two. South will surely rise with the king of diamonds. After winning the ace, West should return the three of diamonds, his initial fourth highest. Knowing that South is now out of diamonds, East has little choice but to try to cash a second heart trick.
If West leads the seven of hearts, East will think it is from a doubleton. An alternative method is for West to lead the five and follow with the seven (sometimes called “mud”: middle, up, down). Here, it works, but it has a drawback in that at trick one, East might think that his partner has a doubleton.
Donna Swan is a resident of Longboat Key, an ardent bridge player and an American Contract Bridge League certified director who plays “for the fun of it.”
WHERE TO PLAY
Bayfront Park Recreation Center
Duplicate bridge games are at 1 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Contact Larry Auerbach at 758-2017 to reserve