Paul Bethe

We could have made it harder.

Dealer: N

Vul: None

West East
T52 83
A76 J953
8 QJT952
AQJ843 9
West North East South
1 Pass 1
Pass 2 Pass 4
All Pass

In a recent IMP match, my partner and I scored an early ruff, but then made no more resistance.  Against 4S, I found the lead of the Ace of clubs, Queen of clubs, King, ruff.

Unfortunately, partner obliged my suit preference and returned a low heart.

When I won, declarer could simply run all the trumps and squeeze partner in the reds.

In fact, declarer can always make, but we should at least make it harder, by returning diamonds (partner trusted my suit-preference too much).  Declarer wins the Ace, ruffs a club, and leads a heart up.  If I duck, he ruffs the last club (important), and continues hearts.  Now when I win, he is able to run trumps ending in dummy to affect the same squeeze.

Notice the critical 2 club ruffs to shorten his hand.  He is still OK if he plays a trump to hand to lead the first heart up, as long as he ruffs clubs the next two times.

But, if he ever makes the innocent mistake of leading a diamond to hand…


Richard PavlicekMarch 6th, 2010 at 3:55 am

Good analysis, but why not lead a diamond? It seems declarer

could still make; but who would begin by drawing two trumps?

I know I’d go down.

BTW, I’ve enjoyed reading your articles recently, as they’re

keenly analyzed. Not surprising, of course, knowing Henry.

Paul BetheMarch 8th, 2010 at 3:10 pm

Praise is always appreciated, but it was a distinct pleasure coming from you Richard.

I think I am the type of defender who always wants to beat the hand now, and not later. So I tried to find that early ruff. But as you wrote, if I had just opened with my stiff diamond, then if declarer plays any suit before 2 rounds of trump – we can just sink the contract.

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