e-Vil Files 05

Did anything occur to you when you read File No.4? If not, you were not thinking about the implication of the opening lead and the total defence that is always needed for best results, especially against lower level contracts, whether they are No Trump contracts or you have to battle against a trump suit. The next few files will look further at defence as well as declarer play, but for now let us return to the deal that I have been discussing, ad nauseam you might say.

Dealer N Nil Vul


There is not one bridge textbook that I am aware of that has ever advocated leading a suit such as the diamond suit in the West hand against ANY normal contract, you just don’t do that, do you? But why not? We have added that specific holding against No Trump contracts because it adds a crucial element to our opening leads and in fact can serve more purpose than the lead of the ace from a holding like AKx or AKxx. Just look again: West leads the diamond ace; East encourages. West continues with the queen. Because East KNOWS that West has precisely AQx, declarer is marked with a doubleton jack. East therefore overtakes West’s queen with the king, felling declarer’s jack. East, seeing dummy and doing a bit of counting and imagining, switches to the ten of hearts, since taking all the diamond tricks is unlikely to defeat 1NT. East therefore has reason to overtake the queen of diamonds, which is to enable to attack another suit. East’s holding in spades suggests a heart switch, where both declarer and West might have some honour cards. Does that make sense? East does not expect miracles from the heart suit but has no reason to do anything else against a low level No Trump contract. Tricks will need to be developed by both sides. So, the ten of hearts comes next and declarer covers with the jack, West winning the queen. Knowing exactly what is going on, West leads his last diamond and East now takes the next three tricks. Another heart through declarer’s king now completes the embarrassment for declarer, the defence unexpectedly taking the first nine tricks. Isn’t defence fun and far easier than being declarer? That sort of play could never be done by declarer because overtaking the queen of diamonds would require declarer to be able to see the doubleton jack in an opponent’s hand. But both defenders, with good methods, KNOW that South has the doubleton diamond jack.

What is your attitude to defence? Do you prefer the Jacinda defence of being kind, or the Crusher? Replay this board by clicking here.