By Ken Masson
As has been stated many times before, defence is the most difficult part of bridge. Defenders must be constantly on their toes by paying attention to the bidding as well as the first few tricks of play to aid in painting a picture of declarer’s holding The illustrated hand, played at the Lake Chapala Duplicate Bridge Club in Riberas, is a very good example of this strategy.
After a straightforward but uninformative bidding sequence, West led the top of a sequence spade jack. Using standard signalling, East followed with the 2 showing a lack of interest in the spade suit and at the same time placing the ace, king and queen in South’s hand.
Declarer now cashed the ace and king of diamonds before leading a low club towards the dummy creating an opportunity for West to shine and shine he did by rising with the ace and switching to the heart king! This may appear to be a lucky move but West had been doing some counting during the tricks played so far and saw that declarer had 7 points in diamonds and, by inference, 9 points in spades. This meant that there was no room for the heart ace in declarer’s hand.
It may seem lucky that East held just the right cards to beat the contract but West could see that this was the only hope as declarer would have 9 tricks consisting of 3 spades, 5 diamonds and a club if West played a “safe” return after winning the club ace.
A just reward for a defender who paid attention to the bidding and early play to triumph on this deal!
Column: Bridge by the Lake
Ken Masson has been playing, teaching and writing about bridge for more than 40 years. Originally from Dublin, Ireland, Ken has been living in the Toronto area since 1967. He and his wife and bridge partner Rosemarie have been wintering in Lakeside since 2006. Even after all these years of playing they find bridge to be a constant challenge and enjoy sharing some of their triumphs and mishaps with Ojo readers in each column.