Independent Pusuits: Bridge

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The Independent Culture
TACTICS, WHEN you hold AJx in a suit facing xxx and the king is led against you, have changed over the years. In whist-playing days the concept of ducking (the Bath Coup) was hailed as a brilliant innovation, for West invariably continued the suit.

Nowadays, however, most defending pairs have got their act together. Take this deal where South opened One Club, West overcalled in spades, and North raised to Two Clubs. South jumped to 3NT and all passed. West duly led 4K, and now a duck by declarer would hardly help. Modern Easts would drop the jack under the king, if they held it, and, with only low cards (as here), would simply give their partner a count.

So, when the play starts 4K,44,43 and S48, it would be a naive West who continued the suit. Instead, a switch to #K established three diamond tricks for the defenders, and East still has 2K as an entry.

Equally clearly, it would not have helped declarer to win the first spade for, when East gets in with 2K, his spade return finishes matters.

Finally, as actually happened at the table, South tried a different tack altogether. He dropped 4J under the lead of the king! Convinced that declarer must have started with 4AJ alone (and not paying sufficient attention to his partner's carefully chosen 43), West continued spades instead of switching to diamonds. Now declarer won and could safely finesse in clubs.

Game all; dealer South


47 6 4

!6 5

#10 6 3

2A Q 8 5 2

West East

4K Q 10 9 5 43 2

!9 7 4 2 !J 10 8 3

#K Q 2 #J 9 8 4

24 2K 7 6


4A J 8

!A K Q

#A 7 5

2J 10 9 3