Test Your Defence Column by Julian Pottage
Originally published in, and reproduced here with permission of, Bridge Magazine
You lead the seven of spades. Partner goes up with the ace and switches to the eight of hearts, on which South plays the five. What do you do?
You lead the five of hearts. Partner wins with the ace and returns the jack. South plays the four and six. What are your plans?
Solutions to Test Your Defence
At the table, West took the king of hearts and continued with the jack. Declarer won perforce and played on diamonds. East took the king with the ace and played another heart. Placing West with the missing heart, declarer laid down the queen of diamonds and cleared the suit. The defenders just made a spade, a heart and two diamonds.
‘I was hoping you had the ace of hearts there,’ said West, ‘or maybe that declarer would finesse into my jack of diamonds.’
‘It is unlikely I have the ace of hearts when I switch to the eight. Even if I have A-9-8, declarer can block the suit by ducking. I would have nothing outside if I had the ace. I think you should have ducked the heart.’
West nodded. ‘If the queen wins, which seems best, whichever of us gets in next will be able to knock out South’s bare ace to set up two tricks in the suit – sorry.’
This deal shares a number of features with its companion, as we shall see.
At the table, the jack of hearts won the second trick when South correctly did not cover. East switched to a club. Winning this in dummy, declarer finessed the queen of diamonds, returned to dummy with the jack of spades and led another diamond. When East produced the king, declarer ducked. The contract made via three spades, four diamonds and two clubs.
‘That was a neat avoidance play in the diamonds,’ North remarked.
East shrugged. ‘I think we can do better.’
‘How do we do that?’ West asked.
‘You overtake the heart and play a third round. I can discard the king of diamonds, which creates an entry for you in the suit.’
‘So it does – I must confess I never thought of giving declarer a heart trick.’