The Hamilton Spectator - - FOOD - BY PHILLIP ALDER

I was asked this ques­tion: What is the one thing you teach your stu­dents that they never seem to get and you can­not un­der­stand why? My an­swer is the theme of this col­umn.

South is in four spades. West guesses well to lead the club two. How should the de­fend­ers card to de­feat the con­tract?

Over West’s take­out dou­ble, North ap­plied the main con­clu­sion from the Law of To­tal Tricks, jump­ing to four spades be­cause he knew of a 10-card fit.

West might have led the spade ace, plan­ning to exit with a di­a­mond in the hope that his four honor cards would all win tricks. Here, though, that would not have worked.

When West leads a low club, which card should East con­trib­ute?

East is play­ing third hand high; his card might even win the trick. In this sit­u­a­tion, East must play the bot­tom of his touch­ing cards: the jack.

When South takes the trick with the ace, West knows his part­ner has the club queen. So, when South next plays a trump, West can win and con­tinue with a sec­ond low club to give his part­ner the lead.

Then, with luck, East will shift to the heart nine (the high card deny­ing an honor in the suit), and West will take two tricks in that suit to de­feat the con­tract.

East should not lead to a di­a­mond, be­cause if West has a win­ner there, it isn’t go­ing to dis­ap­pear. But a heart trick might — and will — evap­o­rate.

Fi­nally, if de­clarer ducks the first trick, East should im­me­di­ately switch to the heart nine. West’s lead marks South with the club ace, so re­turn­ing that suit would be a waste of time.

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