Pursuits: Bridge

HAVING READ somewhere that, if you can see only four defensive tricks against a contract of 3 no-trumps it may pay not to cash them all immediately, East tried what proved to be a highly profitable deception on this deal.

South opened One Heart and North bid Two Clubs. As this response at the Two level promised sensible values, South jumped to 3 no-trumps and all passed.

West led 43 (fourth highest), dummy played low, and East's jack held the trick. He continued with the ace of spades and then stopped to think. The spade position was clear to him but, if he continued the suit, the defence would surely have run out of steam after taking their four tricks.

Instead of leading a third spade, East switched to a low heart. South fell for it. On the assumption that East held no more spades, the contract was safe against any distribution. He won the heart in hand and, to guard against four or more clubs with either East or West, led a club and finessed dummy's ten.

Oh dear! Not only did East turn up with the jack but he was able to produce a third spade as well, for his partner to win two more tricks. As you can see, if the defenders had started by cashing their four spade tricks, there would have been no reason at all for South to take what he thought was the safety play in clubs.

Warning! This sort of defence may not be a good idea against moderate opposition in pairs play. The cunning defence may see declarer, without a care in the world, simply cashing his 10 tricks to leave you with very few match points...

Love all; dealer South


4Q 7 6

!9 5

#8 7 2

2A K Q 10 9

West East

4K 8 5 3 4A J 2

!J 2 !Q 10 8 4

#J 9 5 3 #10 6 4

26 5 2 2J 8 3


410 9 4

!A K 7 6 3

#A K Q

27 4