Double Dummy 15

This defence should not have needed to be ‘double dummy’ but escaped quite a few NS pairs when East played in 4S after a competitive auction. I suggest that NS should bid to 4H and EW take the sacrifice in 4S, which should be doubled. But let’s not talk about the bidding because there are lessons to be learnt about defence.

Board 20 from Tuesday 5/02/24
Dealer W All Vul


Let’s say West opens 1C and North overcalls 1H (would YOU?) and East bids 1S (would YOU?) and South bids 4H (would YOU?) and West 4S (would YOU?) and after two passes, South doubles (would YOU?).

What would your opening lead be if you were South? Defence is a partnership game, and while it may seem ‘safe’ to lead the ace of hearts, there are better reasons to lead the TEN OF CLUBS. Deep Finesse certainly thinks so. South has control of the trump suit and despite West’s 1C opening, can hope for a possible club ruff, with a heart entry to North’s hand if needed. So, South leads the ten of clubs and North reads this as either a singleton or doubleton. North can either win the ace and return one, OR, instead of winning the first club, SIGNAL while ducking the first trick. If North wins the first club and returns another, North should return the TWO as a suit preference signal for the LOWER side suit, diamonds. South then wins the ace of spades and leads the diamond three, hoping that North reads this as also a suit preference signal; North wins the ace and gives South the desired club ruff. The ace of hearts now completes the defence and NS chalk up +500. Would North have made 4H? Perhaps, if North had guessed the diamond situation, which I suspect most would not, just going for the drop with nine diamonds (‘eight ever, nine never’).

I can now admit that MY defence as South was appalling. I led the HA and switched to a club but when I won the trump ace, lamely exited with a heart, with disastrous consequences as the reader can see. An old partner of mine, now sadly no more with us, used to say: “A cow flew past” when he had such a brain fade. In my case it was an elephant!