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Bridge 2/14
The defenders should also think
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    Comedienne Jackie "Moms" Mabley said, "Love is like playing checkers. You have to know which man to move."
    On Valentine's Day, we love playing bridge, but have to know which cards to move.
    So far this week, we have been studying declarer's trick-one play in three no-trump. Now it's time to give the defenders some column inches.
    At trick one, the defenders should work out where the necessary number of tricks to defeat the contract will probably come from. And if declarer plays instantly from the dummy, third hand should pause for thought, not only for his benefit but also for his partner's. But he should tell declarer that he wants time to consider the whole deal.
    You are East, defending against three no-trump. Partner leads the spade jack. What are your thoughts?
    It would be sensible for North to try to uncover a 5-3 heart fit. The "simple" way to do this is via some form of checkback like New Minor Forcing. North would rebid two clubs, the unbid minor. South would continue with two diamonds, denying three hearts, and North would jump to three no-trump.
    You should see that if partner gains the lead and shifts to clubs, the contract will be defeated. So, when declarer puts up dummy's spade king, you should discourage with your two, not encourage with the eight (or unblock the queen). When West gets in with the heart king, with luck he will find the club switch. (A shift to diamonds is unattractive given South's one-diamond opening bid.)
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