X-Def 03

Here is an example of right and wrong defence from recent play. I hope that after the earlier chapters on opening leads this example will make total sense. Not that there is always a 100% sure line of defence evry time. Let’s see what happened when this deal was played some time ago.

Dealer East EW Vul


The final contract was 2NT by East, after East opened 1NT and West raised to 2NT via a Stayman sequence (1NT-2C-2H-2NT). A number of Souths could not resist the temptation to start with the ace of clubs. Too late, end of the defence at trick one! Some of these Souths then cashed the king and led a third club, which set up club tricks for South. But what happened then? Declarer ran the jack of spades for a finesse, which lost. North then led the eight of diamonds, trying to find an entry to South’s clubs, but declarer could not afford to let South gain the lead, so the only hope was to rise with the diamond king and hope North had underled the ace. When the king of diamonds won, declarer proceeded to take the spades in dummy and then play the hearts correctly to take four heart tricks. A total of nine tricks.

Some other Souths started with the ace of clubs and cashed the king and, having run out of ideas, tried a diamond, which did find North’s ace but when North returned the eight, these declarers also could not afford to let South in with the queen, and went up with the king and then played on spades. Once more, there was no entry to South’s clubs. Those Souths who knew their theory on opening leads started with a LOW club (some the ten, others the nine, four, or two). The size of the club, as long as it was not the ace or king, did not matter. Lose tricks early and make many more later, as it indeed turned out to be the case. Even if declarer took four heart tricks early, the moment of truth had to come. When either South OR North won their first trick, there were five club tricks there for the taking, because North had a second club to lead to South. That is what communication between hands is all about.