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A clear map helps the declarer

China Daily | Updated: 2018-01-13 12:13

David Letterman quipped, "Fall is my favorite season in Los Angeles, watching the birds change color and fall from the trees."

This is my favorite defense deal that I use in classes. South ends in two spades, leaving East-West needing six tricks to defeat the contract. How can they do it?

In the auction, West would have done well to double again on the second round because East-West can make three diamonds with the trumps splitting 2-2. But that is far from clear-cut, especially at the prevailing unfavorable vulnerability - and would have ruined a good story.

West leads the heart ace. (Some pairs lead the queen from a suit headed by the ace-king-queen, so that the leader's partner knows that an ace-lead is from only the aceking.)

Under the heart ace, East must play the seven, starting a high-low with a doubleton.

Now West, who is watching closely, cashes the heart queen and continues with the heart king. What should East discard?

East would like a club shift, and it is much better (also, here, necessary) to pitch an encouraging club seven than a discouraging diamond two.

West shifts to the club three, his lowest card in the suit guaranteeing at least one honor there. East takes the trick and returns the club two. South falsecards with the queen, but West should know to take the trick and give partner a club ruff, because if East had begun with the A-7-5-2 of clubs, he would have returned the club five, high from a remaining doubleton.

Isn't good defense fun?

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