By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Bridge 4/15
Partner leads, you read and win
Placeholder Image
    Mark Twain said, "Be careful when reading health books; you may die of a misprint."
    Be careful when reading partner's opening lead; you may find the killing defense. Yes, it can be taxing, even on April 15, when Americans submit their annual income-tax returns. But if you get the defense right, the refund is a plus score.
    You are East, defending against four spades. Your partner leads the heart two: three, nine, seven. How would you continue?
    South might miss a slam by jumping to four spades, but that is unlikely. It is much more sensible to make life as difficult as possible for West, the responder. Over one spade, West would be happy to bid two hearts. Over four spades, he has to pass. (Note that you can escape for minus 300 in five hearts doubled, which is a good save against a vulnerable game. But, of course, it would be a phantom sacrifice if you could beat four spades.)
    There is a strong temptation to try to cash a second heart trick, but it is a disaster. South ruffs, draws trumps, and runs dummy's clubs to collect two overtricks. (If the queen and jack of clubs do not drop, declarer plays a diamond to his king, hoping you, the opener, hold the ace.)
    Even if you are getting two heart tricks, you will probably also need two diamond tricks. So, you should shift to the diamond queen at trick two. Declarer will cover with his king, and West will win with his ace. Now West, knowing that South began with a singleton heart, will cash the diamond 10 and play his last diamond to defeat the contract. Brilliant!

Sign up for the Herald's free e-newsletter