When on de­fense, be ac­tive or pas­sive

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - GOINGS ON -

Roald Dahl wrote, “The only sen­si­ble thing to do when you are at­tacked is, as Napoleon once said, to coun­ter­at­tack.”

That ap­plies in many sit­u­a­tions, but not al­ways at the bridge ta­ble. When de­clarer is at­tack­ing, some­times the best de­fense is to sit back qui­etly and wait for tricks to ap­pear. In other deals, though, the de­fend­ers must ac­tively coun­ter­at­tack.

In to­day’s lay­out, South is in seven di­a­monds. What hap­pens af­ter West leads the club queen?

How should North-South have reached seven no-trump, where they have 13 top tricks: six spades, two hearts, three di­a­monds and two clubs? Once North re­sponded two no-trump, South could have jumped to four clubs, Ger­ber. When North showed one ace and two kings, seven no-trump had to have play, if not be lay­down.

In seven di­a­monds, de­clarer must draw trumps with­out loss. The nor­mal ap­proach is to cash the king, then cross to the ace. If the suit is 3-2, South can claim. Or if West dis­cards on the sec­ond round, de­clarer fi­nesses his 10. So, here, the con­tract seems des­tined to suc­ceed. How­ever, East has a coun­ter­at­tack — if he can make the play in tempo. Un­der South’s king, East must drop the nine. Then de­clarer will won­der if West be­gan with J-63-2. If so, South needs to cash his queen next — with fa­tal con­se­quences here.

De­clarer, though, has his own coun­ter­at­tack. He should start di­a­monds by lead­ing low from the dummy. Then it is dan­ger­ous for East to play the nine be­cause West might have a sin­gle­ton 10.

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