Games: Bridge

Some time ago, I gave a hand where it was essential for a defender to lead the lower card of a doubleton. On that occasion it had allowed partner to exit safely, but on this hand the motive would have been more arcane.

West opened with Three Hearts and North overcalled with Four Diamonds. In a laudable attempt to protect his !A,Q from immediate attack by a lead from East, South never supported his partner's suit and the final contract was Six No-trumps.

West found the good lead of 49 (rather than a heart which would have given South his twelfth trick). Dummy played low and East, after winning with his king, pushed through !5. As his main chance appeared to be a 3-3 division in clubs, declarer won with his ace. He followed with 4A and six rounds of diamonds, throwing !Q from hand.

You can see the ending: dummy is left with !4, 2A,6,4, declarer with 2K,Q,8,5, and West is struggling for a discard from !K, 210,9,3,2. And East's remaining heart - the two - has no part to play.

What a difference it would have made if East had led back !2 instead of !5 at trick two. Now, discarding after declarer, West can part with !K as soon as he sees !Q, leaving his partner with !5 to look after dummy's four.

North-South game; dealer West

North

4A 5

!4 3

#K Q J 10 9 7

2A 6 4

West East

49 2 4K J 10 7 6 4 3

!K J 10 9 8 7 6 !5 2

#none #5 2

210 9 3 2 2J 7

South

4Q 8

!A Q

#A 8 6 4 3

2K Q 8 5

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