If declarer can, so can defenders
In the second season of the American “House of Cards,” Frank Underwood says, “If you don’t like how the table is set, turn over the table.” (The original “House of Cards” was a novel written by Michael Dobbs from England and published in 1989.)
Last week, we saw how declarer can use the bidding and high-card points to turn apparent guesses into certainties. The defenders sometimes have the chance to turn the tables, if you’ll excuse the expression.
In this deal, West is defending against three no-trump. He leads the spade queen: two, four, ace. South plays a diamond, and West is back in. What should he do now?
North was right to jump to game. When bidding no-trump, add one point for a good five-card suit.
To find the right defense, first, West must trust his partner. At trick one, East played the lowest missing spade spotcard, which denied an honor in spades. (If East had started with king-doubleton, he would have overtaken the queen with the king.) So, declarer is marked with seven points in spades. He also has nine tricks ready to run: two spades, three hearts and four diamonds. West’s only chance is to find East with at least acejack-ten-fifth or ace-jack-sixth of clubs. West must shift to the club queen.
The defenders have an advantage in these point-count deals because they have always heard an auction. Some of last week’s deals were relatively easy for declarer because he knew an opponent was not strong enough to open the bidding. Without that information, he would not have been so sure of the winning play.
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