How can you get partner on lead?
Ann Richards, who was the 45th Governor of Texas from 1991 to 1995, said, “I have very strong feelings about how you lead your life. You always look ahead; you never look back.”
That is true for bridge players. I remember when my partner missed what I thought was an easy defense. I was so hung up on that error that I failed to defeat the contract when I had a chance.
In today’s deal, West must resist the obvious play and look further into the future. He is defending against three spades. He leads the diamond ace: five, two, eight. How should he continue?
North used a cue-bid raise to show spade support and at least game-invitational values. South, with a bare minimum opening bid, signed off in three spades. West was tempted to bid four diamonds, but North would probably have doubled that and collected ... how much?
When East plays the diamond two, it is either a singleton or from three. However, if South had a singleton diamond, he probably would have jumped to four spades. West should continue with the diamond king, under which East discards the heart three.
Now it looks so obvious to cash the diamond queen, but that is fatal. West should realize that his side needs two heart tricks, and that East must lead the suit. So, at trick three, West should play the diamond seven, forcing his partner to ruff. Then it should not be hard for East to shift to the heart jack.
Note that four diamonds doubled costs 500. The defenders can take one spade, one heart and three clubs because West cannot get to his dummy to take the heart finesse.