2017-07-13 / Arts & Entertainment News

Immobilizing the defense

CONTRACT BRIDGE
BY STEVE BECKER

There is no difference between making a contract on its merits and making a contract because your opponents don’t find the best defense. Many a contract is made because of a defensive error or misjudgment, and anything declarer can do to induce a misplay is a step in the right direction.

Consider this case where West leads a diamond against four spades. South sees four losers — a heart, two diamonds and a club — and must try to avoid one of them.

If the defenders could see South’s hand, they surely would stop the contract. But since declarer’s specific assets and liabilities are concealed from the prying eyes of the defense, he often can trade upon this advantage.

South’s best method of play is to win the diamond in dummy and immediately return a low heart. East follows low, and the jack loses to the ace. The defenders cash two diamonds and switch to a club.

Declarer wins with the king, draws trumps ending in dummy and leads the queen of hearts. This traps East’s king, and sooner or later South disposes of his club loser on one of dummy’s heart honors.

The only way East can foil declarer is by rising with the king when the three of hearts is led from dummy at trick two. However, going up with the king of hearts is a lot easier when you see all four hands than when you see only the East hand and dummy. The fact is that not many players would make this play, and, in any case, nothing is lost by putting East to the test.

Note that declarer makes his move as soon as possible — without drawing trumps and without giving the defense the slightest inkling of what he is up to. ¦

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