By Barbara Seagram
These are some of my favorite defence hands from Eddie Kantar.
On this hand, perhaps your partner went wrong. Perhaps she signalled high-low in hearts especially because of hand 1.
If East signalled high-low in hearts, then she will find herself on lead at trick 4. (By the way west must lead from the top when partner signals high-low. East may not have the queen and may have signalled high-low with a useless doubleton.)
So put on your spectacles, the ones that are good for long distance vision, and recognize that you have to take SIX tricks to beat this contract. You have to turn your head 90 degrees to the right and check out dummy at trick one.
This way East will play the two of hearts at trick one and partner finds the diamond shift. You have to work out how you know to lead a diamond and not a club. (Partner could have ace of clubs but that would be only one trick so diamonds is the correct shift.)
After shift to diamonds, East wins and leads back small heart. West wins the heart and leads back another diamond. East cashes the third diamond, cashes the queen of hearts and now (already down one) leads the final diamond (13th). West’s jack of spades scores a trick on a trump promotion. Down two.
West leads ace diamonds. East encourages. West leads another diamond. East wins and must resist urge to lead another diamond. After all, his mission is to get six tricks for his side. SIX! So he now plays ace clubs. I tell them that their partner now plays the two clubs. (Very annoyed he is.) This is the one and only time that you ignore partner. You continue with a club. Declarer wins and draws trumps. You hop up with ace of trump and give partner a ruff (partner says under his breath, “It’s about time!” and now leads back a club.) Down one.
South leads the king of clubs. North must overtake it and lead the ace of diamonds. Club back to South and diamond ruff.
East leads the ace of spades. Followed by the king of spades. West signals high-low. East can see the queen in dummy so knows that West will trump her third round of spades. She wishes to give partner a ruff in spades.
At the same time, however, she wishes to get a diamond ruff when partner wins the spade ruff. She must lead the jack of spades to partner who will ruff this and return the higher ranking of the two remaining suits — a diamond. Down one.
When you are giving partner a ruff, you can tell her which suit to lead back when she has finished ruffing. The lead of a high card for partner to ruff asks for the higher ranking of the two remaining suits to be led back. The lead of a low card for partner to ruff asks for the lower ranking of the two remaining suits to be led back.