By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Bridge 11/14
A tricky defense to down declarer
Placeholder Image
    Zdenek Urbanek, a Czech translator and essayist, said in an interview, "You in the West have a problem. You are unsure when you are being lied to, when you are being tricked. We do not suffer from this; and unlike you, we have acquired the skill of reading between the lines."
    Some deals are just plain tricky — if you will excuse the pun. And West has a problem. What is best play by both sides, and what is West's key play after he leads the top-of-nothing heart nine against three no-trump?
    North was right to jump straight to three no-trump and not investigate clubs.
    West chose a heart on the lead-an-unbid-major principle. This was fortuitous, because South would have romped home on a diamond start.
    Declarer has eight top tricks: two spades, four hearts and two clubs. He would hope to score a third club trick to get home. But if East gains the lead in clubs, he might shift to a high diamond and the defenders would take four tricks there.
    In an effort to keep East off the lead, South takes the first trick on the board and calls for the club jack. If East plays low, declarer will run the jack with gratifying results from his point of view. So let's assume East covers with the queen. Now, when South wins with his king, West must unblock his 10. Then East will get in with his club nine and can make the telling diamond switch.
    If West plays low on the first club, declarer will duck in the dummy when West produces the club 10 on the second round of the suit. East never gets in and South cruises home.
Sign up for the Herald's free e-newsletter