Today’s hand gives you a chance to make a good defensive play. After all, defense is half of the playing of bridge hands.
On your lead of the queen of spades, your partner plays the deuce, and declarer wins the trick with the king. At trick two, declarer leads the king of clubs, which you decide to take with your ace, and your partner plays the nine of clubs. What do you do now? In the absence of any conventions, North’s bid of two notrump shows seven to nine high-card points and stoppers in the spade suit.
The first consideration of the defense is to count the declarer’s tricks. You can count on South for two spade tricks judging from your partner’s play of deuce. When you lead an honor against a notrump contract, your partner should give an encouraging signal only when holding an honor card. In clubs, the nine should show a doubleton, giving declarer four club tricks. (When the opponents attack a suit, the weaker of the two defensive hands usually gives the count.) That is, six black tricks, plus the ace, king and queen of hearts, bringing declarer’s sure tricks to nine. If this hand is to be set, you need four diamond tricks — fast.
You have to visualize a minimum diamond holding in your partner’s hand that will allow you to take four tricks. There are two possibilities. If your partner has ace, queen, eight, six and another; or ace, queen, eight, plus one, and you lead the 10 of diamonds to unblock the suit, it can be done. You do need your partner’s cooperation. Your partner must win the ace of diamonds and return a low diamond to your king.
You can now lead your low diamond through the nine-seven in the dummy, allowing your partner to take two more tricks.
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 your spot.
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